The cloud infrastructure market spending grew 46 percent to nearly $23 billion in Q4 2018 and reached $80 billion in 2018 from $55 billion in 2017 according to Canalys.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the dominant cloud service provider in Q4 2018 with 32 percent share, according to the Cloud market share report.
Microsoft Azure grew its share to 16 percent against 14 percent in the same period a year ago.
Google Cloud hit 9 percent for the first time.
Alibaba Cloud maintained its 4 percent share.
IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, NTT Communications, Tencent Cloud and OVH are the other Cloud players in the top 10 cloud service providers.
Canalys Principal Analyst Matthew Ball said: “Market dynamics have changed over the last 12 months, with more businesses opting for multi-cloud and hybrid-IT environments to use the strengths of different cloud service providers and deployment models dependent on application and data requirements, compliance, cost and performance.”
The role of channel partners in cloud services is growing in importance as a direct result of these trends, in particular, understanding customer requirements, recommending services, deployment and integration, as well as simplifying the billing and management of multiple cloud services.
Cloud service providers are focusing on building channel partner programs to support the network of partners beyond the largest systems integrators, especially as they extend to mid-market and SMB customers.
There will be a greater focus on rewarding partners with specialist expertise around specific cloud deployments, such as SAP HANA, analytics or security; on partners developing unique services on top of cloud; and on those driving customer adoption of cloud services.
Microsoft is the dominant force in the channel for cloud services, through the expansion of its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
Microsoft offers direct purchasing options to Azure Cloud customers through its Microsoft Customer Agreement and its channel partner strategy faces increased scrutiny.
“This creates an opportunity for rivals to exploit growing uncertainty among Microsoft’s partners,” said Canalys Chief Analyst Alastair Edwards.
Synergy Research Group said spending on cloud infrastructure services rose 45 percent in Q4 and 48 percent in 2018.
John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, said: “In aggregate the top five drove up their revenues in these segments by 60 percent in 2018, which has caused us to review and increase our five-year forecast for the market.”
Revenue growth at Microsoft, Google and Alibaba again far surpassed overall market growth rate. The market share gains of four cloud vendors was primarily at the expense of small-to-medium sized cloud operators, who collectively have lost five percentage points of market share over the last four quarters.