A recent Clutch survey of 247 organizations showed that while powerhouse cloud providers Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure tend to be the top choices of enterprise customers, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) gravitate toward Google Cloud Platform (GCP). 

The data was collected from businesses from one to 10,000+ employees, and respondents were evenly distributed among users of each service, with about a third from each. Across all three platforms, "better selection of tools/features" ranked as the top reason customers chose their primary provider, with brand familiarity and security tying for second. 

Despite being the oldest provider and having the lion's share of the market, AWS ranks lowest on brand familiarity. According to the survey, it ranks at 15 percent. Azure was the most recognized brand at 24 percent, and GCP sat right at at 20 percent. 

The survey found that 37 percent of Azure users identify as enterprises, compared to only 25 percent who identify as an SMB and 22 percent who call themselves a startup or sole proprietorship. In contrast, 41 percent of GCP users fall into the SMB category.

Nick Martin, Principal Applications Development Consultant at Cardinal Solutions, says enterprise loyalty to Azure makes sense. “Windows Server and other Microsoft technologies are prevalent in the enterprise world. Azure provides the consistency required by developers and IT staff to tightly integrate with the tools that Microsoft-leaning organizations are familiar with.”

The report theorizes that GCP's pricing may be more palatable to SMBs, which when combined with its brand familiarity, may explain its popularity in that space. However, it's notable that GCP's analytics tool, Cloud Datalab, is the provider's most popular service, suggesting that smaller businesses may use it as their sole analytics service.

Clutch draws some high-level conclusions from its data that may help partners that are migrating customer data from on-prem to a public cloud:

  • If you are an enterprise, require Windows integration, or seek a strong PaaS (platform-as-a-service) provider, consider Microsoft Azure.
  • If you want heavy emphasis on analytics or are an SMB with a limited budget, look into Google Cloud Platform.
  • If a service’s longevity, IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) offerings, and wide selection of tools are important to you, Amazon Web Services may be your best option.