The cloud infrastructure market - and its number-one protagonist AWS - signed off 2017 with a revenue surge that took even the analysts by surprise.
According to Synergy Research, AWS increased its share by half a percentage point in Q4, even as the wider market topped expectations by rocketing 46 per cent. That comfortably beats the growth rates of the previous three quarters.
Although second-placed Microsoft made "huge strides" in Q4, increasing its market share by three points, AWS remains larger than its four closest competitors - Microsoft, Google, IBM and Alibaba - combined.
The cloud goliath generated over half of its parent Amazon's profits in its last quarter.
Total quarterly cloud infrastructure revenues, encompassing not only IaaS but also PaaS and hosted private cloud services, now exceed $13bn (£9.3bn), Synergy said.
IBM, which bosses the hosted private cloud segment, was the only top-five player to suffer a market share dip. In contrast, Chinese provider Alibaba entered the top five after doubling its cloud revenues during the quarter, Synergy said.
Synergy chief analyst John Dinsdale said all the leading cloud providers "are setting a pace that most chasing companies cannot match".
"We fully expected a year-end boost in cloud growth rates but the numbers came in a little stronger than anticipated, which says a lot about just how robust are the market drivers," said Dinsdale.
"As demand for cloud services blossoms, the leading cloud providers all have things to be pleased about and they are setting a fierce pace that most chasing companies cannot match. Smaller companies can still do well by focusing on specific applications, industry verticals or geographies, but overall this is a game that can only be played by companies with big ambitions, big wallets and a determined corporate focus."
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