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Microsoft & Amazon In Close Race For Windows Hosting

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Netcraft posted an article showing that Microsoft is slightly ahead of Amazon in public facing website hosting of Windows computers. The numbers are close with Netcraft listing 23,400 web-facing Windows computers at Microsoft and 22,600 at Amazon.

Netcraft runs regular internet site analysis and according to their statistics, with a 50 percent growth rate in Azure websites since 2013, both Amazon and Microsoft each have "just over 1 percent of the market." While that number is not huge it still makes Amazon and Microsoft the two largest Windows hosting companies in the world, although Netcraft states, "the market is still fragmented."

In a Microsoft Trends blog, Chris Woodill, citing the Netcraft post mentioned the potential for growth by stating, "The crazy statistic is this one: this currently represents only 1% of the world’s Windows based public facing web sites. Imagine the growth potential for Azure to dominate such a fragmented market."

Above: Netcraft chart showing web-facing Windows computers hosted by Amazon and Microsoft.

The team at Netcraft indicated that "Windows Azure Web Sites service -- available to the general public since June 2013 -- may be the driving force behind Azure's growth. This Platform as a Service allows existing applications written in ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js, or Python to be deployed on an automatically scaling platform without managing individual computers. Microsoft also provides pre-configured software packages, such as WordPress, which can be used immediately with the Web Site service."

Not too surprising, Netcraft found that many of Microsoft's own services such as Office 365, Xbox Live, Skype, and OneDrive are powered by Windows Azure.

Further breakdowns show that over half of all web-facing Azure computers are hosted within the United States, with the rankings showing US East in the lead followed by US West. The region most populated by web-facing Windows computers is Europe West.

Netcraft identified a short list of notable users of Windows Azure, including the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Aston Martin (sports car manufacturer), McDonald's Happy Studio, and BenQ, a Taiwanese electronics brand. A site called "Have I been pwned?" that lets users check to see if their email or user names have been released into the wild due to website security breaches was also mentioned.

A complaint made by the developer of the "Have I been pwned?" site is one that most service providers would be happy to hear. Evidently, users of his site were asking if his website was legitimately checking the estimated 160 million record database because search responses were coming back too fast. His complaint: Windows Azure is too darn fast. That is a tough crowd.

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