2015’s top five cloud developments and what they mean for 2016

While some things on the cloud remain the same, for others, storms are brewing. To see where we’re going, first we need to see where we’ve been. Let’s take look back at 2015’s top five cloud developments and see what they mean for the year ahead.

1 Amazon Web Services is still the top public cloud.

No one else is even within spitting distance. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is well above 35% of the market share, with Microsoft Azure in a distant second place at approximately 8%. Indeed, Synergy Research Group claims Amazon’s cloud operations now encompass more than the combined businesses of the four nearest competitors: Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft and Google.

Cloud-Market-Share 3rd qtr 2015

To put it in dollars and cents terms, AWS generated $2.08 billion, up 78 percent from a year ago, with an operating profit of $521 million. That’s almost as much profit as Amazon’s retail business! By this time next year, Amazon is likely to be making more money from the cloud than from sales.

2 Hewlett-Packard gives up on the public cloud.

I reviewed HP Helion’s public cloud just before HP Enterprise closed Helion’s doors for good. It was not good.

Even if Helion had been good, I doubt it would have mattered. HP had been incredibly confusing with its cloud story. First HP was a major OpenStack player. Indeed, that had been Helion’s foundation. But where does OpenStack fit into the plan now? Anywhere? Before that, in September 2014, HP bought Eucalyptus, the open-source cloud program. Where does that fit in?

Now, HP has partnered up with Microsoft Azure. What will the company do next? Partner with AWS? It could happen, Eucalyptus is designed to work hand-in-glove with AWS.

HP needs to figure out what its real cloud story is and deliver on it.

3 Cloud mergers and acquisitions speed up.

While HP had the most confusing cloud story of the year, other cloud providers had a more desperate narrative: a real threat of going out of business.

Consolidation, like it does all technologies, came to the cloud in 2015. Since September alone, there have been 10 major cloud mergers and acquistions. This is only the beginning.

4 Open source rules the cloud.

More telling than OpenStack’s continued rise is how everyone is adopting open-source operating systems and technologies into the cloud. Nothing demonstrates that more than Microsoft — Microsoft of all companies! — adopting Linux.

Microsoft launched its first Linux-based program, Azure Cloud Switch in 2015. After that, the boys from Redmond started offering Hadoop-on-Azure with Ubuntu Linux as its base. Then, the company added Red Hat Enterprise Linux to its Azure cloud offerings. That was followed up with Debian GNU/Linux being added to a list of supported Linux distributions available on Azure. Finally, and almost unbelievably, Microsoft is now offering a Linux on Azure certification.

You know Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are no longer at the steering wheel with moves like these!

And, Microsoft is far from the only company embracing Linux and open-source software.

5 Containers start to rise.

Where you see the rise of open-source software even more is in containers. I used to worry that Docker, CoreOS, Google Kubernetes and



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  1. Eli Cummings says:

    Regarding AWS market share, it is consistent with the winner take all view that describes what happens with technological innovation. Despite all the wishful thinking out there that believes in democratization, the opposite is true. This is both good and bad I’m sure but inevitable nonetheless. The agricultural revolution resulted in aggregation and we have never looked back. That is the long term trajectory of our existence whether we like it or not.


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