The week cloud computing took over the world

Earnings reports from Amazon and Microsoft conclusively confirm what we should have already known: cloud computing is on a rampage.

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If you had any lingering doubts that cloud computing was dominating the world of information technology, last week's quarterly earnings reports from Amazon and Microsoft should have obliterated them. Both companies announced big-time growth and revenue from their cloud operations.

Amazon shares its numbers

First, let's talk Amazon, which for the first time broke out the numbers for its Amazon Web Services division, including "amounts earned from sales of compute, storage, database, and other AWS service offerings for startups, enterprises, government agencies, and academic institutions." And those numbers were scorching!

MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: 5 Things we learned about Amazon's cloud from its first earnings report

As Network World's Brandon Butler pointed out:

"Amazon Web Services collected $1.56 billion in revenue throughout the first quarter of 2015, with a profit of $265 million with a 17% margin. Revenue grew 49% between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter last year."

Wow! And that's only the short-term story. In calendar 2014, AWS earned $4.64 billion in revenue, but in the 12 months ending March 31, AWS collected $5.16 billion in revenue. In the earnings call, CEO Jeff Bezos said, "Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business and still growing fast — in fact it's accelerating."

And that fits with the scale numbers that were reported recently:

  • AWS has more than 1 million business customers
  • AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) usage is growing 132% year over year
  • AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is growing 99% year over year
  • More than 40% annual revenue growth

Microsoft shares an interesting number

Microsoft, meanwhile, rolls up all its cloud-related services into a single "cloud revenue" figure, combining Azure, Office 365, SaaS, and Dynamics CRM results in financial reports as "cloud revenue," which the company estimates will bring in $6.3 billion in 2015, up 106% for the year.

That can't be directly compared to AWS, but Microsoft did release one Azure-specific number last week: Microsoft's earnings call slide deck indicated that "customer usage of Azure compute more than doubled." Clearly, this cloud thing is on a roll.

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IBM and Google remain opaque

The third elephant in the cloud room, Google, still doesn't break out numbers for Google Compute. It's "Other" line item includes all the company's cloud operations along with a bunch of other things, and topped $1.75 billion for the quarter, up 23% year-over-year. But there's no easy way to tell how much of that revenue or growth came from Google Compute.

According to Infoworld's Serdar Yegulalp, meanwhile, IBM said only that, "We exited the quarter with an annual as-a-service run rate of $3.8 billion, that's up a billion and a half in the last year."

Clearly, we're comparing apples and oranges to durian and granadilla here, but one thing is crystal clear: Put them all together and the cloud is already seriously big, and growing by leaps and bounds. If you didn't know it before, after last week you can't deny it any longer.

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