The adoption of cloud hosting is one of the main factors which drive businesses in modern times. More and more companies are trying to shift their data and applications to the cloud to take advantage of lower costs and better business agility. The previous concerns centered upon data security have now been addressed by vendors like AWS and Microsoft Azure. The Amazon Web Services of AWS has been ruling the market since its launch in 2006.
 
According to a 2017 report by Synergy Research, AWS held 40% of market share and Microsoft, IBM and Google collectively held another 23%. In spite of the fact that AWS has been dominating the market all along, Microsoft has gained ground quite fast especially under the guidance of their CEO. Choosing one cloud service provider over another is something that you can do only after analyzing your business needs and the kind of workloads you run. More often than not, businesses choose to sign up with multiple cloud providers for tackling different kinds of operations. There remain some key differentiating factors which help users to distinguish between the approaches of both firms and this allows them to make the right choice.

Both AWS and Azure appear to provide rather similar basic features for computing, networking and storage. So, they all have the common elements in any public cloud offering, namely, instant provisioning of resources, security, auto scaling, self-service, compliance etc. They both have invested heavily in coming up with attractive cloud services and they also have really large parent companies backing them up.

Choosing one over the other will actually depend entirely on a business’s needs. The more the two big giants AWS and Azure engage in competition against one another to get more customers, the greater is going to be the rate of public cloud adoption. So, in a sense, the competition between these two public cloud service providers will boost public cloud growth.
 
In a study which was undertaken by Cowen in 2017 it was argued that both the Azure and AWS continue to lead the pack and the report identifies some fascinating trends and important insights which are responsible for this. For this study, Cowen took a survey which had 550 respondents from small, medium as well as big enterprises that use public cloud solutions every day. So, the participants were the small sized businesses having lesser than 500 workers, the medium sized businesses with worker strength between 500 and 4999 and the larger companies with more than 5000 employees. The study was meant to focus on a multitude of issues like the workload migration dynamics, cloud spending trends and vendor positioning.

It was found that the spending of customers in public cloud offering is set to grow year after year, almost to the tune of 16%. The small and medium sized businesses that have hitherto adopted the cloud will also witness a 17% increase that year. So, in all, public cloud services providers will be the most successful companies in 2017 since more and more companies will be taking to the public cloud for scaling operations to meet growth demands.

The AWS is seen to dominate the SMBs which have adopted public clouds earlier and Microsoft is found to be more popular amongst big enterprises. Others like Google Cloud Platform and IBM Soft Layer have also been seen to trail the AWS and the Azure in enterprise adoptions. Of all the companies which have so far embraced the public cloud, majority have shown preference for either the Azure or AWS.

It was also seen that while the AWS was the cloud which was most reviewed by respondents, the Azure was the most extensively used. When the respondents had been asked which provider they wish to renew their services with or buy new services from, most favored Azure. AWS was a close second followed by Google and IBM. Interestingly, only about 37% of the users of Azure were keen to replace their provider but as many as 53% of AWS users were open to changing their providers. Both AWS and Azure were also seen to rule over all the facets of user experience which had been highlighted in this survey. So, while the AWS cloud managed services were hailed for features like user interface, reporting and billing, Azure was preferred for management and monitoring solutions, data integration and supports.

So what can be deduced from these statistics is that the cloud hosting market is definitely on fire and more and more cloud technologies will continue to get adopted as the competition amongst the key vendors deepens. Every provider, whether it is ASW or Azure, appears to be benefitting from this trend. Each of these companies is fast recruiting sales people and technical experts to support the growth in their businesses. For the others, it is likely that they are already too late in the race.