Who rules the UK cloud market? AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud

Staring from a peak over cloud-covered landscape below  >  Mount Taranaki, New Zealand
Pascal Habermann (CC0)

Thanks to a thriving startup scene and progressive regulators, the UK has long been a strong market for public cloud services from the big providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, but which vendor dominates the UK?

Globally AWS is the clear market leader for cloud infrastructure services (IaaS), reporting a staggering $40 billion annual run rate for 2019. By way of comparison, Google Cloud parent company Alphabet broke out its annual figures for the first time in 2019, reporting a $10 billion run rate for the cloud division for the year. This does include revenue driven by cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) like G Suite, however.

Microsoft doesn't break out its numbers as neatly but Azure is part of its Intelligent Cloud group, alongside SaaS versions of Office and Dynamics software, which accounted for nearly $12.5 billion for Q2 2020 alone, so an annual run rate of $50 billion.

[Related: Defining your data strategy for a multi-cloud world]

Research from Synergy has AWS with a 33 percent share of the worldwide public cloud infrastructure (IaaS and PaaS) market, with Microsoft in second at 18 percent and Google Cloud with 8 percent for Q4 2019.

Synergy does not publicly break these numbers out by geography, but did tell Computerworld that the rankings are the same in the UK. However, all three market share numbers are slightly higher, showing a greater concentration of spend with the top three vendors here in the UK than elsewhere globally.

Gartner has AWS much higher, at 47.8 percent market share globally, ahead of Azure at 15.5 percent and Google at 4 percent, but again, does not break these numbers out by geography.

Read next: AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud: What's the best cloud platform for enterprise?

Customers

In terms of key UK enterprise customers each of the vendors has their strengths and weaknesses, with AWS often doing well in the public sector with the likes of the DVSA and the Cabinet Office, but also with large organisations like BP, along with the usual cadre of startups like Monzo and Deliveroo building on the platform.

There has also been a fairly controversial flow of key people between the UK's public sector and the vendor, with the likes of former director of capability at the Government Digital Service, Holly Ellis, now a senior manager solution architect at AWS. Former national technology advisor, Liam Maxwell, and the Home Office’s former chief digital officer, Norman Driskell, also both now work for the vendor.

Microsoft has had success with industrial customers like BP, Rolls Royce and Centrica, and Google Cloud has had some joy with large customers like HSBC and Sky TV.

So who rules the UK cloud market?

It would appear to be safe to say that AWS has managed to convert its global dominance of the cloud infrastructure market into a leading position here in the UK, and that is reflected both in the numbers from Synergy and in some of its customer success stories.

This reflects what could be a truly global market for cloud services, where the offerings of each are broadly the same and their relative strengths and weaknesses translate regardless of local market.

This is reflected in the types of companies where these major players have had their big enterprise wins here in the UK, with AWS clearly making a concerted effort to break the public sector and Microsoft looking to convert longtime customers into Azure customers, with Google providing value around the edges with its advanced data capabilities.

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