Cloud News

The 10 Biggest Cloud Computing News Stories Of 2020 (So Far)

Donna Goodison

CRN breaks down the top cloud news midway through the year—from coronavirus-fueled cloud spending to cloud leaders decrying racial injustice to the explosion of cloud-based videoconferencing.

2. Coronavirus Fueling Cloud Revenue

AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud have been the backbone supporting the dramatic scaling of online applications and shift to remote work, entertainment and online shopping.

Their public cloud infrastructures have enabled videoconferencing, remote project collaboration, e-commerce, education, gaming and streaming video companies to meet the huge, unplanned surge in demand, as CRN Senior Editor Joseph Tsidulko wrote in March.

“The majority of companies have been able to continue to operate because of the cloud,” Jeff Aden, executive vice president of Seattle-based 2nd Watch, told CRN.

As Apurva Joshi, vice president of New York cloud provider Digital Ocean, said: “Cloud services are an unsung hero in enabling this massive, sudden shift to a remote-first workforce. It's easy to forget, but 10 years ago, none of this would have even been possible.”

Coronavirus is fueling cloud spending, with a majority of enterprises expecting their cloud usage to exceed plan this year due to impacts of the pandemic, according to the ninth annual Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report. Fifty-nine percent of enterprises expected their cloud usage will be slightly or significantly higher than planned, and half of small and midsize businesses expected their cloud usage to escalate, the Flexera survey indicated.

Usage of Windows Virtual Desktop, Microsoft’s desktop and app virtualization service running in the Microsoft Azure cloud, tripled in the third quarter as organizations were required to work remotely.

“If you think about it, like the orders of magnitude increase we've seen in usage, in our own case with our applications such as Teams or Virtual Desktop, have been tremendous,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during a fiscal third-quarter earnings call in April.

“As COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our work and life, we have seen two years' worth of digital transformation in two months,” Nadella said. “From remote teamwork and learning to sales and customer service to critical cloud infrastructure and security, we are working alongside customers every day to help them stay open for business in a world of remote everything.

Revenue from Microsoft's intelligent cloud segment climbed 27.2 percent during the quarter, to $12.28 billion, up from $9.65 billion during the same period last year, fueled by a 59 percent spike in Azure revenue.

"There is no question that moving to the public cloud, even at a time like this, is just capital-efficient," Nadella told analysts during the earnings call, as CRN Senior Technical Editor Kyle Alspach reported. "Even for businesses that are having tough economic cycles, one of the smartest things that anyone can do ... is to transition to the efficient frontier as quickly as possible, so that they can have more agility, more elasticity and better unit economics coming out of this or even while you're in this crisis. Migration to the cloud is absolutely a secular shift."

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