Ranking Microsoft Azure and Other Cloud Providers. How Do They Compare?

Updated: May 5, 2020

Choosing the right public cloud provider is becoming an increasingly nuanced discussion that goes well beyond scale. We all know the large cloud players--AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure--but stacking them up depends on your enterprise's needs. JourneyTEAM helps organizations find the right cloud strategy for your unique organization.

Here's a crack at stacking up the cloud providers and how Oracle and Alibaba are edging into the game based on annual run rates. Increasingly, companies will combine the large public cloud providers along with a specialist. In other words, Salesforce has partnerships with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and works with IBM too. Workday and IBM are closely linked on many fronts.Among the largest public cloud players, the disclosure and transparency into products, financials and pricing is better than ever.


The fourth quarter provided a bit of a watershed moment for the major public cloud players: Google actually put a figure on its cloud revenue. On Google's fourth quarter earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai said G Suite and Google CloudPlatform is now a $1 billion per quarter business.

He said:

We believe that Google Cloud platform, based on publicly reported data for the 12 months ending December 2017, is the fastest growing major public cloud provider in the world. We're also increasingly doing larger, more strategic deals with customers. In fact, a number of deals worth over $1 million across all cloud products more than tripled from 2016 to 2017.

With Google offering a bit of disclosure around its cloud business it became much easier to establish a pecking order in terms of sales. Microsoft on its latest quarter disclosed its commercial cloud revenue and an annual run rate north of $21 billion.

Amazon Web Services showed strong fourth quarter growth and an annual run rate of $20.4 billion. It's worth noting that AWS accounted for all of Amazon's 2017 operating income.

IBM's as-a-service revenue, which includes software, platform and infrastructure, is more than $10 billion.

And Oracle, which a line-by-line account of its cloud progress, has hit scale and is betting that autonomous features and data-as-a-service are differentiators.

One cloud vendor that's worth watching is Alibaba, which is a China-based AWS in many ways. Alibaba adds features at a rapid clip, is betting on artificial intelligence and operates a massive e-commerce business. Sound familiar?


When you look at the major public cloud providers, it's clear that AWS and Microsoft Azure are the two top dogs. RightScale's survey of 997 respondents across multiple industries and company sizes tells the tale.

The problem with the Microsoft vs. AWS storyline is that the two cloud giants don't exactly sync up well. Microsoft's commercial cloud revenue includes Office 365, which dominates in sales. The main services that are in commercial cloud are Azure; Office 365 business services (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business Online, Microsoft Teams); Dynamics 365; and its Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite (EMS).

What's clear based on the RightScale survey is that the public cloud pie is growing for all the major players offering a stack. The takeaway here is that these cloud providers are likely to share enterprise customers, which will look to optimize costs and often pit the vendors against each other. Plus, Microsoft Azure seems to be the clear option for mid and enterprise companies.


While enterprises are looking to have multiple cloud players in their stack, they're also likely to run their private clouds too. This hybrid cloud approach is likely to persist for the foreseeable future.

Microsoft Azure can hook into all those Windows Server customers in the enterprise data center and stretch into its cloud. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, preached hybrid cloud repeatedly on the company's fiscal second quarter earnings call. Nadella said:

For me, it all comes down to really having an architectural advantage on what is a new secular trend. So when we think about the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge and then bring that to the Azure business, you can see it at each layer. When it comes to infrastructure, we're the only cloud provider that provides true hybrid cloud computing with Azure and Azure Stack. When it comes to the data tier, we have real uniqueness.

Microsoft's Azure bet is that a consistent stack across the public cloud, data center, Internet of things and edge and data will win in the enterprise with hybrid approaches.


On nearly every earnings conference call from the cloud vendors, machine learning and artificial intelligence took top billing as a differentiator.

AWS has multiple AI and machine learning services and has Alexa as the most popular digital assistant as a front woman.

Google Cloud Platform is staking its future growth on machine learning too.

Pichai said:

We want everyone to be able to use machine learning for their own needs. We recently gave Google Cloud customers access to Auto ML, which makes it far easier to build complex new enrollments. Since its launched a few weeks ago, over 10,000 customers have already signed up to try.

Indeed, AutoML is part of Google Cloud Platform's broader strategy. That strategy revolves around using machine learning and artificial intelligence to get a foothold in an enterprise and then expand form there.

AWS is using the AI and machine learning approach differently. Why? AWS is already in your company for compute and cloud storage so its AI services are more of an upsell and wallet-share expansion. Microsoft is using artificial intelligence and machine learning and combining with its Azure Internet of things services. Meanwhile, IBM with its Watson platform is looking to become more of a cloud based data operating system. Oracle is using machine learning to make its cloud services more automated and self-healing.

Add it up and it's a lot to digest for any enterprise technology buyer. Don't sweat the concerns about the AI bake-off. Here's why: Chances are strong that you will have multiple machine learning and AI vendors in your company. You'll ultimately pick the cloud and machine learning models that work and that means a portfolio approach.


Organizations all over the worlds are choosing Microsoft Azure over AWS and other solutions. The main three reasons is they are in more regions that any other cloud provider. They are the only consistent hybrid cloud solution. Plus, they have unparalleled developer productivity. Contact JourneyTEAM today for more information on how yo can set up or modify your cloud first strategy with Azure.

Here are a few testimonials about Azure Cloud:

“We have multiple development and test environments in the cloud for our own use and for our reseller customers. Using Azure Cost Management to manage the cost and size of these environments has helped us all stay well on budget.” Darryl Grauman, Vice President of Technology Innovation, Global, Westcon-Comstor.

“We compared different cloud platforms and how they could support devices, connectivity, infrastructure services, IoT, and so on. We found that Microsoft Azure is the best cloud for this solution based on its flexibility. Azure also has a huge portfolio of very rich services that we can use, especially for IoT.” Rene Grohman, Azure Platform Architect, T-Systems

“Thousands of partners sign in to our platform every hour. The response time from the Face API is incredible, enabling us to verify our drivers without slowing them down.”

Dina Kovalev, Product Manager, Uber

Article information from:

Dave Bollard, Arianna Andersen, and Lary Dagnin

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