Microsoft today announced that in the second quarter of 2016 — the fourth quarter of the company’s 2016 fiscal year — compute usage on its Azure public cloud more than doubled year over year.
Azure revenue growth was once again above 100 percent, clocking in at exactly 102 percent, Microsoft said today in its quarterly earnings statement. As usual, Microsoft did not disclose the exact revenue that it derived from Azure.
Revenue growth rates exceeding 100 percent are not unusual for Azure, but compute usage going above 100 percent — which also happened in the first quarter of 2016 and in the third quarter of 2015, and twice in 2014 — is of note.
Azure is perceived to be the No. 2 public cloud provider behind Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon did not always break out exact revenue that it was generating from AWS, but that changed last year. In the first quarter of this year, AWS fetched Amazon more than $2.5 billion in revenue. The growth rate for that period was 63.8 percent.
By way of comparison, in the second quarter of 2015 AWS saw use of its EC2 compute service jump up 95 percent year over year.
But Microsoft launched Azure in 2008 — back then it was called Windows Azure, before Microsoft started professing its love for Linux. By the time Azure showed up, AWS had a two-year lead in the business of letting developers rent out compute and storage infrastructure for hosting their applications. Microsoft is still playing catch-up. It’s worth watching whether Microsoft will be able to sustain that growth in compute usage for several more quarters.
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