AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM together practically own the cloud

AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM together practically own the cloud

Since the advent of cloud computing, its expansion has never slowed down. There has been continuous growth in demand for cloud services. Cloud service providers continue to innovate and add more services on the cloud. The cloud market is growing at an astonishing rate and cloud service providers are in a fierce battle for cloud market share. Well, I say fierce but there is an ultra-dominance of the market by Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Service). If there is any battle for cloud market share, it’s among the others. Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM and even Alibaba battle for market share. Though at the top, Amazon shows no sign of slowing down and the others show no intention of letting go. This is because the potential of cloud computing is enormous and there is a lot to do in the area.

Except for Alibaba, all the cloud service providers mentioned above are American. But the cloud has expanded to all parts of the world and has found users at all levels. Such domination of the cloud by a few is raising questions on privacy. companies, and businesses in particular worry about industrial spying and security. Is there any reason to worry?. First, let’s get some important figures on cloud market share and growth.

Cloud market share figures

Gartner projects the public cloud services market to grow by 18% in 2017 to total $246.8 billion. This is a significant increase from the $209.2 billion in 2016. $246 billion may seem huge, yet it makes up only a tiny part of the wider IT market. As a matter of fact, IDC’s IT budget forecast for 2020 stands at a whopping $2.7 trillion. This gives hope to AWS’s pursuers as they compete for cloud market share, they’re not fighting over a fixed pie. The growth and forecast growth of the cloud market is depicted in the table below from Gartner.




As mentioned earlier, Amazon has a firm grip on the cloud. AWS sits on over 40% of the public cloud service market. It’s main competitors Microsoft, Google, and IBM who had high growths last year control 23% share. The rest of the cloud market share is in the hands of a good number of cloud service providers including Alibaba and Oracle.

Should we be concerned?

It is clear now that a large chunk of the cloud market is in the hands of a few companies. The world economic atmosphere is filled with rivalry and mistrust. Is it wise then, for a company -say in Europe- to use cloud services from a cloud service provider out of Europe?. Should cloud users fear their cloud service providers who are not in the same country or region as them?.

The ability to store data and access it from any part of the world on any device is a blessing to businesses. The cloud enables them to get work done anytime anywhere. Plus, cloud services are cheap and available to users of all levels. Mutual accusations of industrial spying among countries raise the issue of cloud security.
The issue of cloud security is all the more serious as companies store sensitive data on the cloud. Also, it is very difficult to track data theft over the cloud. Their ideas, marketing strategies, growth predictions and even investment plans are at risk. You have little or no control over what happens your data if it is in another country. American firms dominate the cloud and so they store most of the cloud data as well. If a company in Africa, Europe, Asia chooses to use for example AWS for its cloud services, their data stays in the US. But American cloud service providers are subject to US regulations not African, European, or Asian. You cannot be in economic competition with somebody who holds all your economic data.
Apart from the industrial security and spy concerns, there is the issue of national pride. Heavy use of external products is a proof of technological inferiority. This is humiliating for many countries and they worry about the expansion of American giants. The use of external cloud service providers in many countries makes live difficult for national providers. It is impossible for local cloud providers to grow in the presence these cloud giants like AWS and Microsoft.

What is being done about all this?

There is no cause for alarm yet but it’s bound to be someday. In an attempt to tackle this issues, some entrepreneurs have come up with the concept of a sovereign cloud. The idea is to encourage cloud users to privilege home cloud service providers. As a result, there is proliferation – especially in Europe- of small cloud service providers like WiggWam, Numergy, Cloudwatt. Though they barely feature on the cloud market share map, there is a collective believe that tables will turn someday. They try to ensure security as mush as possible, though they all agree there is no 100% security on the cloud. But as they say ” no one can keep your secret more than yourself”. At least the storage of data respects national or regional laws. 

Today, businesses are advised to research on where their data is stored before choosing a cloud service provider. Another solution proposed is that businesses separate their data and make sure not to store sensitive data on the cloud. Cloud business continues to grow at a phenomenal rate each year. And American giants show no signs of slowing down on acquiring cloud market share. Again, many keep their eyes on this sovereignty cloud concept. We never know, it might someday become a norm in the cloud business.





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