What is the Google Cloud Market Share—And Does It Matter Anyway?

07.30.18
CloudHealth Tech Staff

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Due the way in which many cloud service providers disclose their revenues, it is difficult to accurately determine Google Cloud´s market share. However, despite issues such as late entry into the market, vendor lock-ins, and increasing competition, the Google Cloud market share is anticipated to grow.

 
Google Cloud Market Share

As cloud adoption has increased, businesses are taking more notice of what each cloud services provider has to offer.

Of the leading cloud service providers, only Amazon distinguishes revenues from its Web Services (AWS) arm, making it difficult to accurately determine how the cloud market is distributed among other providers. For example, Microsoft Azure revenues are amalgamated with revenues from Office 365, while Google announces its Cloud Platform revenues and G-Suite revenues as one.

Analysts are agreed AWS is the cloud market leader, but the size of its market share varies according to who is doing the analyzing and what factors are included (public cloud, private cloud, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, etc.). Typically, with all things considered, AWS has a cloud market share of around 33%, with Microsoft Azure in second place (estimated at 13%), followed by IBM (8%), Google (6%), and Alibaba (4%).

What Factors Contribute to Market Share?

AWS´ position in the cloud computing hierarchy is attributable to the company being first-to-market. AWS EC2 was launched in preview mode in August 2006, followed two years later by Windows Azure (now renamed Microsoft Azure) and a further three years later by Google Compute Engine and IBM SmartCloud. Alibaba Cloud was launched in 2009—two years before IBM´s and Google´s comparative services - but the company has only recently expanded its cloud compute services beyond China.

Being first-to-market enabled Amazon AWS to make economies of scale quicker, reduce prices, and stay ahead of the market as competition increased; however each cloud services provider has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example:  

  • Despite its wide range of features, Amazon AWS was slow to embrace the hybrid cloud and does not cater very well for established businesses running legacy systems.
  • By comparison, Microsoft Azure tailored its platform to support existing services such as Windows Server, but was slow to cater for Linux and other open source software.
  • Due to its range of developer tools, Google developed a reputation for catering for small businesses and startups and has only recently started to attract big business workloads.
  • IBM´s decision to focus on the smaller private cloud market has handicapped the company´s ability to become a market leader in the public cloud environment.
  • Alibaba has a fairly competitive service when compared to the market leaders, but is yet to make significant inroads into the US and European marketplace.

As cloud adoption has increased, businesses are taking more notice of what each cloud services provider has to offer. In cases where their existing cloud services provider does not offer a competitive service in certain areas, businesses have chosen to adopt a multi-cloud approach to cloud computing in which they use one service from one provider and another service from a different provider. This has been made a much easier process in recent years by the development of multi-cloud management solutions.

The Prospects for the Google Cloud Market Share

With businesses being able to pick and choose which services they use from which provider, you might expect relative market shares to remain unchanged in the next few years. This may not necessarily be the case for the Google Cloud market share. Inasmuch as Google’s customers may make greater use of services offered by Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure—and vice versa—the company has made a significant investment in big data tools, machine learning, and container support.

Big data tools such as BigQuery and Dataflow enable businesses to analyze massive volumes of data in order to make better informed business decisions and increase performance with “zero increase in operational complexity”. Similarly, Google´s Cloud Machine Learning Engine is expected to make it easier for businesses to leverage Artificial Intelligence in the cloud; while Google’s Kubernetes container engine allows for simplified container cluster management and easier container deployment.

These three areas have been described as the “three technologies that are critical to the evolution of cloud computing” and it is noticeable that Google has invested more money in these areas than Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure combined. The consequence is that the company has become a leader in these fledgling technologies and, if the trend continues, Google will be able to differentiate itself in the services it offers and the Google Cloud market share will increase accordingly.

Does the Google Cloud Market Share Matter Anyway?

For many businesses, the Google Cloud market share does not determine whether or not they use Google services. What does matter to most businesses is the benefits they can derive from using the tools and functionality provided. Ultimately this will determine the Google Cloud market share, but the market share itself should not be a contributory factor as to whether Google´s services are chosen ahead of any other cloud services provider.

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