While we monitor the market as a whole, cloud adoption statistics are indicators of market share among the large providers. The ParkMyCloud platform sees a very large volume of data flow through it each day, month, and quarter, and therefore affords an interesting and helpful perspective on our users. When this in turn allows you to examine their usage preferences of other third-party services it can be downright enlightening.

For this post, rather than examining the granular detail of specific user preferences for certain products and services, I thought it might be interesting to roll the numbers up and see what this says about the world of public cloud as a whole. In particular, given we are now at the end of earnings season (see our recent post here ) we thought it would be interesting to compare what we see in our customer base. While obviously we only have a tiny percentage of the overall user base of public cloud, in recent years it has increasingly been my belief that it is fairly representative of the overall market. In fact I would go as far as to say that what we have observed in our data often appears in the public announcements some months later. The big trends such as increased usage of very short lived instances (especially for data analytics workloads) or increased use of custom instances have caught our eye only to be affirmed more broadly by the market.

Some of the things we look at each quarter include:

  • Relative changes in the proportions of customers exclusively using one of our supported cloud providers ;
  • Relative changes in the proportion of customers using multiple clouds (typically two or three different providers); and
  • The total number of accounts each customer has with each provider.

Over the last year or so it has been interesting to see the shifts occurring in the first of these measures – customers making exclusive use of a single cloud. Putting to one side an obvious caveat which is that customers could have other cloud accounts not brought into the PMC platform, we have observed that some 95% of users are exclusively using a single cloud. There have been some shifts in the relative proportions using either AWS and Azure, AWS and GCP and Azure and GCP but the numbers here are so small compared to those using a provider exclusively, that it is hard to draw any strong conclusions.

Figure 1: Changes in Customers Making Exclusive Use of Cloud Provider (Source: PMC).

However, once again putting the overall representativeness of the PMC user base to one side, we can without doubt see some meaningful changes over the last six quarters in which clouds are being exclusively used by our customers. The chart shown in Figure 1 above, shows the relative changes over the last 18 months, with Q6 being March-May 2020. It is therefore likely that we picked up some of the COVID-19 related shifts, but will see more in the coming quarters.

To show these changes I have rebased the data (Q0) and then looked at the relative changes over the period. So for example, you can see that exclusive Azure users grew their footprint amongst our customer base by some 9.2% by Q5 and ended the period up 6.2%. There is a clear upward trendline for Azure during these last six quarters, versus AWS and GCP which are showing a flat to a slight downward trajectory. As mentioned above the proportion using multiple clouds has stayed fairly static.

It will be interesting to see how these cloud adoption statistic trends play out. Based upon what we are hearing anecdotally from our customers, there has been a lot of growth in the market for Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in the move to remote working, and that Azure have been the largest beneficiary of the shift. With employers increasingly alerting staff to the possible realities of home working throughout the winter months, we think it likely that the trend continues.

Figure 2: Cloud Revenue Growth: AWS, Azure and GCP (Source: Venturebeat)

What we do know from the earnings numbers is that the growth in cloud revenue numbers is slowing down for all three providers with the steepest declines being reported by AWS (although actual earned revenue is still increasing for all three). In such an environment, competition for market share is likely to get even more intense and so monitoring these shifts is likely to become even more important to track.