Proprietary Cloud Revenues Show the True Value of Open Platforms

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 24, 2015

How much does the rise of open source cloud computing mean to enterprises? This week, both Microsoft and Amazon reported quarterly earnings, and they put some numbers on the answer to that question. In particular, Amazon revealed how much money Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes, which it was very secretive about before. Here are some of the numbers for top proprietary cloud platforms, and they put in perspective what kind of economic value there is as open cloud platforms gain adoption.

The Amazon cloud is a $4.6 billion business. Amazon reported that the sales at AWS were $1.566 billion in the first quarter, up from $1 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Measured by revenue it is king of the hill in cloud computing. As Re/Code notes:

"More than a million customers fire up machines in Amazon’s data centers every day, replacing servers they might otherwise have to buy. Some are used for basic data storage, some are used for more complex applications."

Amazon's cloud business is so big, in fact, that some are speculating that the company might spin it off. That is a distinct possibility.

Microsoft said this week that its commercial cloud business is on a $6.3 billion run rate, but you have to take that with a grain of salt because the company lumps Azure revenues, money made by Office 365 and other metrics all together. As Mary Jo Foley writes:

"Microsoft does not break out its public-cloud, or even its combined public/private-cloud revenues...Microsoft infrastructure software that customers use in their own datacenters to create hybrid or private clouds -- again, products like Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, etc. -- also is not counted in Microsoft's cloud revenues."

 The fact is, Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla in cloud computing.

Still, the numbers reported this week illustrate that enterprises are spending a lot of money in the cloud, and they show how much of a difference free and open source platforms can make.