Microsoft: How the cloud conversation has changed – and the edge on AWS


Microsoft cloud platform marketing general manager Mike Schutz has told analysts at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference of the explosive growth in infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and how the company is differentiating against rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and IBM in the cloud.

With Deutsche Bank’s Karl Keirstead asking the questions, Schutz noted the varied nature of Microsoft’s customer base gives it the advantage over AWS. As transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Schutz said: “We operate today in about 19 regions, which means we have 19 data centre regions globally. We continue to expand as our customers need us to do so.”

Google Cloud has 10 zones in three regions, Central US, Western Europe, and East Asia, while AWS has nine regions, with three in Asia Pacific, three in the US, two in Europe and one in South America. Schutz added: “Even if you combined AWS and Google Cloud we’re in more regions than the two of them combined.”

Schutz argues that while hyperscale remains important, Microsoft’s overall portfolio around hybrid is a differentiating factor.

“Where differentiation [really] comes in is around hybrid, because of our fundamental strategy to help customers deploy the same technologies that we put in our public cloud hyperscale data centre and run those in their data centre on top of [native hypervisor] hyperV, on top of our systems centre assets as well as bringing Azure infrastructure service and platform as a service capabilities to run in their data centres,” he said. “They then have the flexibility to help decide which applications move and when.”

Over the past year and a half, the Microsoft cloud platform marketing GM notes the conversation with customers has shifted from ‘why should I move to the cloud?’ to ‘how should I embrace it?’, with IaaS as “the lowest friction way” to start. “By and large we’re seeing a tremendous appetite for decision makers…in the line of businesses to look at the cloud, whether it be SaaS apps, whether that be just thinking about modernising infrastructure,” said Schutz.

He added: “In terms of the demand signals that we’re seeing…just a huge explosive growth in infrastructure as a service, but as organisations get more comfortable with the cloud and they understand the benefits of not just some cost savings, but ultimately the agility into which they are able to provide…the organisation to be able to do things faster instead of waiting weeks or months to get a server deployed, or an infrastructure or new app deployed.”

While Microsoft does not disclose revenue numbers, industry tracking from Synergy Research has revealed how the Redmond giant has established a niche of second place in the cloud infrastructure market while AWS continues to hold a significant lead. The most recent figures from July show the combined market share of the big four – AWS, Microsoft, IBM and Google – commands 54% of the overall market, with AWS holding 29% at the top.