Amazon.com’s cloud-computing unit is still a world beater. Microsoft is doing its best to entrench itself in second place.
RightScale, a California company that helps information technology departments manage their use of cloud-computing services, on Wednesday released the results of its survey of more than 900 of corporate technology experts.
Among companies that tap into the “public cloud,” or pooled servers and data storage units accessed via the Web, 57 percent reported using Amazon Web Services. Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform, Azure, was a distant second at 12 percent.
There are two bright spots for the Redmond company in that figure. It’s double the 6 percent share Azure had when the survey was conducted a year ago. And Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) product, which is primarily used by developers to write programs and web sites, was the fourth most widely used cloud service.
The industry divides cloud-computing products into three broad categories with unwieldy acronyms. PaaS, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or the plumbing-like services such as data storage and server processing power, and software as a service (SaaS), which refers to Web-accessed software like Office 365.
RightScale’s survey also shows the strides Microsoft is making among large businesses.
Amazon was years ahead in building the server farms and other infrastructure that underpin the cloud. In its bid to catch up, Microsoft has been leaning on its relationships with corporations. After all, most IT departments already buy Windows, Office, server products, or something else built by Microsoft.
Among businesses with more than 1,000 employees, usage of Microsoft’s Azure IaaS and PaaS was second and third behind Amazon.
RightScale’s survey also documents companies’ increasing acceptance of cloud-accessed servers as replacements for some of their own hardware. Fully 90 percent of respondents said their companies were already using some form of cloud services or planning on it.
One caveat, however: the survey, conducted as it was by a cloud-computing management company, likely represents a group of more eager adopters of new technology than the corporate universe as a whole. More details on RightScale’s methodology and findings are in its full report.