Global cloud services spending reach $192 bn, metaverse to fuel demand

Global cloud infrastructure services spending grew 35 per cent (on-year) to reach $191.7 billion last year — up from $142.0 billion in 2020, a new report has shown.

In the fourth quarter (Q4), the global cloud services spend crossed $50 billion in a quarter for the first time, according to market research firm Canalys.

Total spending grew 34 per cent to $53.5 billion in Q4, up $13.6 billion from the same period a year ago.

The top three in Q4 2021, namely AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, collectively grew 45 per cent, to account for a combined 64 per cent share of customer spend.

“Cloud services are well positioned for individual developers and organisations looking to enter the metaverse,” said research analyst Blake Murray.

“Compute will be in high demand in virtual and augmented reality environments, while storage, machine learning, IoT and data analytics will be essential to support operations such as digital twinning, modeling and interactivity in the metaverse,” he added.

Industry-specific applications continued to diversify the use of cloud infrastructure services, especially in healthcare and the public sector.

“New immersive use cases are emerging, such as the metaverse, which will drive future demand and the need for more powerful, distributed, intelligent and scalable services with lower latency,” the report mentioned.

In many ways, the metaverse will resemble the Internet today, with enhanced capabilities and an amplified compute consumption rate.

Currently, precursors to the metaverse include use cases spanning gaming, social media, workplace collaboration, education, real estate, ecommerce and digital commerce, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

“Continued investment in the metaverse by developers will result in a massive opportunity for cloud service providers, especially the hyperscalers,” said Canalys VP Alex Smith.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) led the cloud infrastructure services market in Q4 2021, accounting for 33 per cent of total spend. It grew 40 per cent on an annual basis.

Microsoft Azure had a 22 per cent market share and was the second largest provider. It grew 46 per cent, driven by long-term consumption commitments.

Google Cloud was the third largest provider and grew 63 per cent to account for 9 per cent of the market, the report said.

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