Azure reaps rewards of channel investment as cloud spend booms

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Azure reaps rewards of channel investment as cloud spend booms

As spend on global cloud infrastructure services surges, seeing a 32 percent increase in the final quarter of 2020, Canalys has highlighted the IT channel as having a major role in supporting this growth.

Global expenditure was US$39.9 billion in the last quarter of 2020, US$3 billion higher than the third quarter and nearly US$10 billion more than Q4 2019, according to data from Canalys. 

Microsoft Azure’s growth rate accelerated once again, up by 50 percent to reach 20 percent of the market share, maintaining its second-place. 

This was thanks to the high demand for Teams, Windows Virtual Desktop and other Microsoft services that lockdowns brought, as well as targeted incentives for channel partners. 

AWS maintained its majority market share at 31 percent, enjoying 28 percent growth over 2020’s third quarter and making investments across its global partner ecosystem to sustain its momentum. 

Support for ISVs, new vertical partner competencies, and extending its hybrid cloud strategy with new partnerships all contributed to AWS holding its position at the top of the cloud leader board. 

Google Cloud had the greatest growth of the big four cloud providers, seeing a 58 percent increase to reach 7 percent market share, putting it in third place, just ahead of Alibaba Cloud. 

The ‘open cloud’ strategy that invites a multi-cloud approach brought it success, along with a go deep approach to its six target verticals – building a partner network around industry-specific expertise and deep specialisations in its priority solutions, such as machine learning, analytics and data management. 

Alibaba Cloud saw a solid 54 percent growth and 6 percent market-share in Q4 due mostly to its continuing domination of the APAC region, including China. 

It also launched a hybrid-cloud specific partner programme enabling partners to plan, design and resell Alibaba Cloud services with free licenses and unlimited CPU cores. 

Canalys: Top four cloud service providers
Canalys: Top four cloud service providers Q1 2019 to Q4 2020

Canalys noted that all of the major cloud providers were increasing their investments in the channel to take advantage of the services and sales capacity that partners offer.  

While Microsoft still holds the largest share of the indirect channel with Azure, AWS and Google Cloud are gaining ground. 

Canalys Chief Analyst Alastair Edwards explains that the increasing popularity of multi- and hybrid-cloud is also driving customer need for partners with experience across multiple providers, as well as across public, private and edge cloud infrastructures. 

“Organisations are turning to trusted business partners to advise, implement, support and manage their cloud journeys, and articulate the real business value of cloud migrationCustomer digital transformation projects are highly complex, requiring advanced consulting skills, combining deep technical skills with vertical expertise, which the cloud service providers are relying on partners to provide at scale.  

They are also turning to their partners to drive cloud consumption, and deliver full customer lifecycle support. As organisations start to consider moving more mission-critical workloads to the cloud, they will look to partners to define the right cloud platforms and strategies, as well as solve the most pressing issues around cost management, security, sovereignty and hybrid IT integration.” 

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