As the old IT truism goes, nobody ever got fired for buying IBM. Now, in the cloud era, many are starting to apply the same logic to another well-known vendor: Microsoft.

For enterprises with extensive Microsoft footprints—spanning Office, Windows, Dynamics, Outlook, and other popular business applications—turning to Microsoft Azure services as part of a cloud strategy can certainly look like the path of least resistance.

“If you have to move to the cloud with constrained resources, it is a safer path to go with Microsoft and use many of the tools your employees are familiar with,” said Carla Arend, senior program director for software and infrastructure at IDC in Europe.

While Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the clear market leader for pure cloud infrastructure, Microsoft is catching up. And the lingering effects of the pandemic are helping it gain ground fast.

In a January 2021 earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella touted record cloud earnings—which includes revenue from Office 365 and other business applications—of $16 billion for the quarter, which was up a staggering 34% year-over-year. 

Azure has since reached a 20% share of the cloud infrastructure market, according to Synergy Research, up from 10% in 2017. Microsoft’s ability to flex its sizable sales muscle and leverage its partner ecosystem to cross-sell Azure has helped it grow the cloud division into one of the primary providers in the market.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.