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Apr 07, 2017 07:30 AM EDT

Microsoft Azure could wrestle the long-held reign of Amazon Web Services (AWS) now that multi-cloud adoption is gaining ground. Now it gets the support of Alibaba in the networking switch community to build better and cheaper datacenters for better cloud services.

Microsoft Azure posted high percentage points in the recent web survey by market analyst 451 Research with 700 IT managers as respondents across the globe. Azure got the highest rating alongside IBM in the category of "understand my business." It also posted good results in the "most important" category at 35 percent, just 4 percentage points shy of AWS' 39 percent.

451 Research dubbed Microsoft Azure as a "formidable competitor" of AWS having climbed by 20 percent from the previous survey. Now it is the top Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)/public cloud provider among European organizations leaving behind AWS by 10 percent, EnterpriseTech reported. It could potentially supplant AWS as the industry leader especially once the Azure stack is launched in the second half of 2017 as revealed by 451 Research analyst Melanie Posey.

The number of organizations shifting to the cloud is continually rising believing that an upgrade to IT infrastructure is the only way to compete. 451 Research "Cloud Transformation" study reveals that 80 percent of organizations will be overhauling IT operations over the next five years. The current trend is the adoption of a multi-cloud strategy, where organizations divide workloads to different cloud providers.

Multi-cloud is advancing since most organizations do not want to be totally dependent on just one provider. Moreover, organizations are now seeking for multi-cloud and hybrid cloud support as well as a provider that understand their business requirements. In this area, Microsoft Azure is at a great advantage for it is able to capitalize on this great market opportunity as seen in its high ratings.

Meanwhile, the latest development on Microsoft Azure's networking switch community is the onboard participation of Alibaba. A year ago, Microsoft contributed the Software for Open Networking in the Cloud or SONIC to the Project Datacenter Foundation. A year after, Alibaba is participating, not adopting, to explore what it can do to further the development of internal infrastructure, ZDNet reported.

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