Spending on cloud infrastructure services in Q4 2017 jumped 46 per cent from the final quarter of 2016, comfortably beating the growth rates achieved in the previous three quarters, according to Synergy Research.
The expansion was driven by aggressive growth of Amazon (AWS), Microsoft, Google and Alibaba, which all increased their share of the worldwide market at the expense of smaller cloud providers.
AWS maintained its dominant position, with revenues that exceeded the next four closest competitors combined, despite huge strides being made by Microsoft.
A notable change in Q4 was that a doubling of cloud revenues at Alibaba enabled it to join the ranks of the top five operators for the first time.
Meanwhile IBM maintains its position as the third-largest cloud provider in the market, thanks primarily to its strong leadership in hosted private cloud services.
Overall, AWS is ranked first, followed by Microsoft, IBM, Google and then Alibaba. The next 10 providers have a combined market share of well under 20 per cent.
"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 John Dinsdale, chief analyst and research director at Synergy Research Group.
"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."
With most of the major cloud providers having now released earnings data for Q4, Synergy estimates that quarterly cloud infrastructure service revenues, including IaaS, PaaS and hosted private cloud services, have now reached well over $13bn (£9.4bn), with full-year 2017 revenues having grown 44 per cent from the previous year.
Public IaaS and PaaS services account for the bulk of the market and they grew by 50 per cent in Q4.
In public cloud the dominance of the top five providers is even more pronounced, as they control almost three quarters of the market.
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