When it comes to public cloud services, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the undisputed king for quite some time. However, RightScale’s State of the Cloud report for 2018 finds that Microsoft Azure is making up ground quickly.

While AWS is being used by 64 percent of surveyed organizations in 2018, adoption of Microsoft Azure is up from 34 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2018, far ahead of third-place Google Cloud (18 percent). Azure also has a slight edge over AWS among beginning cloud users (49 percent to 47 percent). Microsoft says that its Azure revenue increased 98 percent year-over-year in 2017.

Why the uptick in Azure adoption? The RightScale report found that about four in five organizations now have a multi-cloud strategy – around five different public and/or private clouds, on average. Cloud spending is on the rise as two-thirds of cloud users have increased spending by at least 20 percent this year. In addition, 51 percent plan to move more workloads to the cloud.

But increased adoption of Azure isn’t just the product of cloud growth in general. Organizations that have been using Microsoft enterprise server and desktop software for decades are now adopting Azure cloud technology. The Microsoft name carries weight in the enterprise and has been around far longer than Amazon, although the latter was a pioneer in cloud infrastructure.

Also, Azure offers a true hybrid cloud environment capable of supporting both on-premises and cloud-based workloads. Hybrid cloud combines the cost-efficiency and flexibility of a public cloud environment with the control and security of an on-premises, private cloud environment. It allows you to choose where to run workloads based on requirements for performance, security, compliance and other factors.

Microsoft Azure can seamlessly integrate with your existing IT infrastructure, leveraging enterprise solutions to provide a consistent architecture across any cloud environment, public or private. Azure makes it easy to deploy and manage applications, while pre-built templates simplify the process for developing new, cloud-native applications. Azure also supports multiple operating systems, programming languages and frameworks.

Additionally, Windows Azure Pack delivers self-service and management capabilities, which enable users to easily provision virtual services and access web-based applications. Azure Stack, Microsoft’s hybrid cloud platform, allows you to shift workloads between public and private clouds based on business requirements and available cloud resources.

ICG has selected Microsoft Azure to provide cloud services to small and midsize businesses. This enables our clients to take advantage of the advanced features and hybrid cloud capabilities of Azure coupled with ICG’s expert management of the infrastructure.

With our IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) offering, IT is run like a business to maximize business agility and provide financial transparency. Our comprehensive, Azure-based ITaaS solution includes virtualized server infrastructure, hosted email, automated and managed backup, Microsoft Office licensing, remote desktops through Microsoft Terminal Server, and sophisticated security tools. The ICG model saves money, simplifies service deployment and management, and allows you to realize a faster, higher return on investment.

Let us show you how our ITaaS offerings, built on Microsoft Azure, can help you expand and take full advantage of your cloud initiatives.