Amazon Web Services (AWS) is ratcheting up pressure on Microsoft by devoting more resources to enable IT organizations to migrate Windows workloads to the cloud.
Fred Wurden, general manager for enterprise engineering at AWS, said a Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) for Windows, now generally available, provides IT teams with prescriptive guidance, consulting support, tools, training and service credits to help reduce the risk and cost of migrating to the cloud.
The service is being delivered in collaboration with partners including Rackspace, 2nd Watch, Accenture, Cloudreach, Enimbos Global Services, Onica and Slalom. Wurden said AWS has been migrating Windows workloads to the cloud for more than a decade now and claims to have more than half of all Windows workloads deployed in the cloud.
Microsoft has clearly been making strides in recent years to close the gap between it and AWS by running both Windows and Linux workloads on its cloud alongside instances of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft most recently reported a 39% year-over-year growth in commercial cloud revenue, reaching $13.3 billion for its fiscal third quarter. However, Microsoft does not break out Azure revenue from Microsoft Office 365 revenue or disclose what percentage of the workloads running on Azure is based on Windows versus Linux.
At the same time, Microsoft now charges more for instances of SQL Server that run on other clouds. AWS contends that decision will only accelerate the rate at which organizations are transitioning to open source databases deployed on Windows or Linux.
Competition for Windows workloads is growing in ferocity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because more workloads are being lifted and shifted into the cloud as organizations realize that on-premises IT environments can be rendered inaccessible. IT staffs in many geographies will be working from home at least through the end of the year. Many organizations are also moving workloads to the cloud in anticipation of a second potential outbreak of the pandemic.
At the same time, the rate at which new workloads are being deployed in the cloud is also accelerating. Many of those cloud-native workloads are based on containers running on Kubernetes. Support for containers on Windows platforms is still relatively nascent when compared to Linux platforms.
AWS and Microsoft, along with a host of rival cloud service providers, are focusing on legacy workloads because the expectation is that monolithic workloads running on Windows will be re-engineered to run as a set of microservices that can be updated more flexibly within the context of a larger digital business transformation initiative. It may be a while before that transformation fully manifests; however, it’s clear the battle for control over millions of workloads in anticipation of that transition is reaching a higher level of intensity.
There’s no doubt many of those workloads will run on the Microsoft Azure cloud. However, the degree to which Microsoft might be winning in the cloud era may not be as great when everything that is being lost to AWS and other cloud service providers is taken into consideration.