Competitive Dynamics between Azure and AWS in the Battle for the Enterprise Cloud

When enterprises are figuring out their Big Data offering, they pay attention to the competitive dynamics in the Cloud space. AWS has been ahead of the game in the Cloud space because it was the first to offer IaaS in 2006. Over the years, it continues to enhance product features and functionalities based on market demand and became the first choice of many enterprises for Cloud services.

Microsoft released Azure PaaS in 2008 and implemented some strategies in order to catch up with AWS.

  1. Released Office 365 to utilize Azure in 2011.
  2. Extended Cloud Service to IaaS in 2012.
  3. Blended SharePoint into Office 365 in 2013 to sell a highly integrated information workplace environment [1].
  4. Aligned the development model with Cloud constructs for app developers [2].

All of these moves strengthened Azure’s position in the enterprise market; especially for the ones that are using the Microsoft Office suite.

Azure and AWS both have a fair chance to win the enterprise market. It is really not an apple to apple comparison. There are five competitive advantages that they may consider to offer:

  1. Understanding the customers’ needs and addressing them with use cases and testimonies. In another words, business development is just as important as the technology differentiation in the pursuit of business.
  2. Having a strong Hybrid Cloud solution to support enterprises in order to integrate Cloud with their existing infrastructures.
  3. Providing an integration solution with mobility [3].
  4. Building a stronger ecosystem in order to promote enterprise Cloud adoption.
  5. Providing interoperability in order to allow the existence of competitors.

While AWS and Azure are competing, the price of Cloud services will be kept low, offers will be enhanced and the ecosystem will continue to grow. Enterprises will benefit from the competitive dynamics and might end up adopting both vendors’ products for different business needs. At the same time, Google’s investment in network capability will put itself into the enterprise competitive landscape [4]. And IBM is stepping up through aggressive targeted acquisitions [5]. Enterprises will not short of choices in pursue of Cloud vendors for their Big Data solutions.

[1] Rob Koplowitz, John R. Rymer, Cheryl McKinnon (2014, 1/24), Microsoft Aims SharePoint to the Cloud, Forrester, http://bit.ly/1iPlgRU

[2] John R. Rymer and James Staten (2013, 6/14), The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Public

Cloud Platforms, Q2 2013, Forrester, http://bit.ly/1nwqcLB

[3] CloudTimes, Mobile Cloud, http://cloudtimes.org/mobile-cloud/

[4] Matt Asay (2014, 2/7) Google Secret Weapon Against Amazon, Read Write, http://bit.ly/1d9FuVo

[5] Klint Finley (2014, 2,24) IBM’s Latest Cloud Acquisition Aims Directly at Amazon, http://wrd.cm/1cJ9lne

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