Behold the power of the cumulonimbus cloud. These gigantic and towering clouds can dominate the sky, hurl golf-ball-sized hail down to the ground, and, under certain conditions, spawn violent thunderstorms and severe tornadoes. Their presence signals a possible mega-storm that could disrupt your life.
If you were to apply the cumulonimbus metaphor to business technology, Amazon would be it. Once again on Thursday, Gartner crowned Amazon Web Services king of cloud computing, the business of renting computing capacity and storage to companies on an on-demand basis.
Amazon (AMZN) delivers “many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” the research firm said. It also dominates when it comes to holding corporate customer data, Gartner said in another report, storing almost double the combined amount of customer data of the next seven cloud providers on the analyst firm’s list.
It’s been this way practically since AWS debuted almost a decade ago. And judging by Amazon’s past earnings reports, its cloud business just seems to be getting bigger.
Companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and EMC (EMC) have seen AWS disrupt their hardware businesses and are undergoing radical transformations to better compete. On Thursday, Dow Jones reported that cloud provider Rackspace (RAX) may be sold to private equity firms, another sign of how hard it is to compete with a giant.
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In nature, clouds come and go, but conditions must be just right for powerful new cumulonimbus clouds to form. Microsoft (MSFT) seems to be rising, according to Gartner, and Google (GOOG) is trying to grow, although it appears to have some problems selling to business customers.
But for now, Amazon shows no sign of drifting away.