Up until this week, it would have been easy to get caught up in the fiction that growth in public cloud spending was slowing. After all, if you looked across the different cloud providers, you’d see them reporting lower growth rates each quarter, as Jordan Novet captures in a chart. This quarter, however, each of the major clouds ticked up on growth or stayed roughly constant.

This isn’t going to stop anytime soon, as a new Accenture report indicates. The Covid era may be one that we can’t wait to get past and forget, but it has created tremendous impetus for digital transformation projects that were planned but never executed. Still, the question remains, how fast can we get to the future?

A law of big numbers

I’ve written before that this shift to cloud computing is going to take time. Yes, we’re hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue into the shift, as measured by Gartner and IDC, but overall IT spending tops $4 trillion. Granted, much of that $4 trillion is tied up in areas not immediately replaceable by public cloud. (Gartner breaks down global IT spending this way: data center systems, enterprise software, devices, IT services, and communications services.)

Regardless of how you count it, we’ve got a long way to go. The sooner we get there, David Linthicum writes, the better, as it’s more environmentally efficient to pool computing in clouds than for everyone to run their own data centers.

Not that the clouds aren’t trying. As each cloud logs more revenue, it becomes harder to sustain previous growth rates. This isn’t because demand is drying up. Quite the opposite. It just means the clouds are growing off a much larger base than before. This quarter, Microsoft kept steady at 50% growth, in line with 50% growth the previous quarter and 48% the quarter before that. Google grew 46%, slightly down from 47% the quarter before (but this doesn’t actually reflect GCP growth, which is higher than its mishmash “cloud” category). AWS bumped up to 32% from 28%.

What’s fueling this growth? A frantic desire among enterprises to modernize.

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