How far ahead is Amazon Web Services? Let’s count the ways

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We all know that Amazon Web Services is far ahead of the pack when it comes to cloud services. A couple of reports out over the last week show that pretty much no matter how you slice it, that’s true.

Take a look at the report released yesterday from Synergy Research Group. It showed that AWS is growing faster than the market and that it’s bigger than its three IT “heavyweight” competitors combined.

Source: Synergy Research

The combined revenue of Microsoft, Google and IBM amount to 63 percent of AWS’s in the second quarter, Synergy said. It also found that AWS grew by 52 percent in the quarter over last year, better than the overall market growth of 47 percent.

Keep in mind that most of these companies, particularly AWS, don’t disclose revenues for their cloud services businesses. So this is really Synergy’s best guess – it didn’t disclose how it came up with these findings.

AWS also tops the pack in efficiency and size. A recent Gartner study, reported on by the Register, showed that AWS had five times the compute capacity then the combined total of 14 other providers. You read that right – 5x the compute capacity of the next 14 cloud providers.

But AWS isn’t just bigger. It’s leaner. AWS’s smaller competitors, including Google and Microsoft, spend more on capital than AWS. According to ReadWrite, Gartner found that Google has spent $21 billion and Microsoft less than $18 billion. AWS has spent round $12 billion. This is spending on cloud services infrastructure, not hardware used to run other services like Amazon.com or Bing.

That either makes AWS astoundingly more efficient than the others or it means the others have built up a ton of infrastructure that’s running idle at the moment. Either way, it makes AWS far superior than its competitors.

Again, since most of these companies don’t overtly disclose these figures, Gartner is using the best information it can find.

There’s more to read from these research reports than just that AWS is on top, which let’s be real, we all already knew.

A look at the chart released by Synergy shows that the combined revenue of the three IT “heavyweights” made up more than half of AWS’s revenue. That’s better than last year when those three were less than half of AWS. That shows that as the overall market grows, these players are winning a bigger piece of the pie than they did last year.

Both reports called out this fact, noting that competition is heating up. So far, Microsoft, Google and IBM, with its SoftLayer acquisition, are running neck and neck. “The real race is to see if any of the chasing pack can establish themselves as a clear number two in the IaaS/PaaS market,” Synergy’s John Dinsdale wrote in the report.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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