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Breaking Analysis: AWS Growth Slows but Remains Amazon’s Profit Engine


>> From the SiliconANGLE media office in Boston, Massachusetts, it's theCUBE Now here's your host Dave Vellante

(techy music) >> Hello everybody Welcome to this episode of CUBE Insights powered by ETR My name is Dave Vellante, and in this breaking analysis we're going to take a look at AWS Today's October 25th, last night Amazon announced its earnings It missed and it lowered guidance, particularly for the all-important Q4 holiday season, but I want to drill into the AWS portion of Amazon's business

When we do these breaking analysis we'd like to provide data, we'd like to provide content, context, data from our friends at ETR, things that we learn on theCUBE, input from our community, and if you look at AWS in the quarter, they came in at just around $9 billion That was about 35% growth, and people were concerned that that's a lower growth than a year ago, so 35% is, you know, year on year comparison they were 46% last year Q3 Operating margins were also down I'll talk a little bit about that They were 25%, which is still pretty strong, but they were down from 31% last year in Q3

The ETR spending data shows that AWS is still strong but spending is not as robust, that's why they have a positive to neutral rating on Amazon But Amazon's still a share gainer When you look at the AWS customers inside of the ETR survey base, they're spending more on Amazon and less on Oracle They're spending less on IBM, they're spending less on SAP We talked about Cloudera last week

They're spending less on Teradata, so they're shifting spend from those legacy platforms This is AWS customers now into AWS The other piece is Microsoft's moving Microsoft has been consistently growing faster than AWS, and I'm going to talk a little bit about that and what it means So you're seeing AWS revenue slows, business is strong, but Microsoft is gaining, so let's dig into it

Alex, bring up the first slide What I'm showing here is AWS, a little history on AWS, the quarterly revenue year on year growth rates, and what you can see here is on the left hand side is the revenue in millions, so you can see they did about $9 billion, that's the blue bars, this past quarter, just under $9 billion On the right hand axis is the growth rate, and you can see it spiked up there in '15 and then sort of slowly came down, spiked back up in '18 You can see Q3 '18 was 46%, as I said, and then it's sort of down around 35% in Q3 of 2019 Now compare that to Microsoft

I think it grew 59% at the most recent quarter It's been consistently up in the 60s percent growth each quarter Now AWS will say, "Look, yeah, that's true, "but they're growing from a much smaller base" While that's true, and the other thing that AWS will say is that every year Amazon's growth is about the entire size of Azure, so in other words Amazon's growth rate and what they add is about the size of Azure That's changing, and I'll share some data that will show you that, but this year AWS will probably add about $10 billion in new revenue, and Microsoft, if you strip out Office 365 and Skype and LinkedIn and all that other, you know, and all the SaaS stuff and just focus on the infrastructure as a service so you try to make an apples to apples comparison between AWS and Azure, Azure will be quite a bit larger than that

We think probably in the $14 to $15, maybe even $16-plus billion, so that narrative is starting to change Now the next slide that I want to show you is our same quarterly revenue, so you can see that bar chart and the $9 billion phenomenal growth, but also show, then the red line on the right hand axis is operating margin, (clears throat) and you can see the operating margin moderated here at 25% in Q3, the announcement this week, and you can see a year ago it was 31% So this has the street a little bit concerned Now this is still very strong operating margins Remember AWS, (chuckles) they started selling Compute

If you think about Dell and HPE's operating margins you're talking, you know, they're thrilled if they're in the 10% They're, you know, oftentimes much lower than that in the single digits, sometimes, you know, low single digits, but so So AWS much, much more profitable

Compare the AWS to some of the other leaders Cisco, who's got 60% of the networking market, its operating margins have been in the 20% to 27% range over the last, you know, several years Intel, which essentially has or had a monopoly, 28% to 33%, Microsoft is pure software play, or you know, largely software play, low 30%s, and again, a company that had or has, you know, a monopolistic-like, you know, cashflow and profitability So AWS at that 25% to 30% operating margins very, very strong Okay, now I want to shift gears and show you some of the ETR data

What this next slide shows is the net scores from the cloud sector, so what I've done is pulled from the dataset just the cloud sector and done some comparisons Now what you can see is in the October survey the N of the entire survey is 1,336, so out of the 4,500 CIOs and IT practitioners that ETR surveys each quarter, 1,300 answered this question, and of those there were 611 Azure accounts, 546 AWS, 215 Google Cloud Platform, 157 Oracle, and 107 IBM So you can obviously see there's multiple clouds per respondent What the net score does, it takes the green, which is basically we're spending more, and subtracts the red, which says we're spending less, and it comes up with a net score that you can see on the right hand side And this is just for the cloud sector

Now look at Azure's net score, 71%, that's very, very high I mean it's up there with some of the hottest sectors in the industry and some of the pure plays like UiPath We've talked about UiPath, like Snowflake to the companies that are demonstrating the highest net score in the ETR dataset AWS still very strong at 63%, but not quite as strong as Azure As we said before, there's a lot of ways to, last week, there are a lot of ways to spend money with Microsoft

Google Cloud Platform strong at 50%, but as we know, not nearly the market share of those other two, and I put in Oracle and IBM just for the sake of comparison You can see their net scores are much, much lower, so you can, so you see the cloud continues to do really well, but particularly those two cloud leaders maintaining their dominance, but you know, Azure from a growth rate and a spending momentum standpoint is really picking up Now the next slide that I want to show you underscores the sentiment from ETR Remember, ETR when it released last week its October survey results they said, "We have a positive to neutral rating on AWS" Why were they neutral? Well, some of the things I was saying before is some of that spending momentum is slowing

Why are they positive? This slide underscores that If you take all sectors, so everything for AWS, not just the cloud stuff, I mean it's all cloud, but put in AI, the machine learning, all the database activity, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, everything you can buy from AWS and then look at the Fortune 500 They're a great indicator, obviously, of spend, so the big companies, notice the net score, which is that top line, that top blue line, very consistent It's elevated, and it's inline, and it's up, you know, up in the high 60s, so that's very, very strong The yellow line is market share

ETR defines market share in relative terms, so how much people are spending on AWS relative to other sectors, and you can see it's a steady, steady rise, so this is why ETR and we remain positive on AWS, because also in addition to Microsoft there's a lot of ways to spend money with AWS and that keeps growing and growing and growing So you're seeing nice continued market share gains They continue to be a gainer Okay, so let me wrap here As I say, positive to neutral because what's happening is you're seeing that share gain beyond Compute

AI, machine learning, analytics very hot AWS cited, or Amazon cited SageMaker as a tailwind for their business Database now at AWS is a multibillion dollar business Amazon cited Aurora as again another tailwind Here's the thing, the reason why we're somewhat neutral on Amazon and AWS specifically is the law of large numbers appears to finally be kicking in, you know, or is it? I had a conversation this spring with a Gartner analyst, John Lovelock, and I asked him can this continue, so let's, Alex, if you would, play the video and then we'll come back and talk about it

Can a company that size, in your experience, continue to grow at that pace? >> Absolutely There is nothing stopping AWS from taking advantage of this market We are nowhere near saturated for cloud changes Most of software spend is still on legacy and maintenance of software on-prem There is still a great deal of money being spent on servers and infrastructure and networking equipment, and all of that gets bled out into the cloud eventually

>> So you heard John Lovelock, he said there's really nothing there to stop AWS They're going to continue to gain, and so now the question is will they bounce back to the growth rates that they did before, or are those large numbers, the law of large numbers kicking in Let's talk about Microsoft a little bit Microsoft is clearly gaining So in 2017 Microsoft's cloud business, when you strip out, or you try to strip out, it's a little fuzzy, there's some gray area going on in there, but you do your best

I talked to the folks at Wikibon and Ralph Finos tracks this stuff very closely, but AWS or Azure was about 33% of AWS's business If you go to 2018 it was about 41%, so you had Azure at a, you know, starting to crack or get close to the $10 billion mark In 2019 it's going to be closer to 50% of AWS's business, so if AWS, let's say AWS comes in at $34, $35 billion this year, that puts Azure, you know, $13, $14, $15, maybe even $16 billion So they're starting to get to the high 40%s or even that 50% level, so Microsoft is making moves Microsoft is partner-friendly

People in the ecosystem at Amazon, they complain that they sometimes are concerned with Amazon competing with them Microsoft doing partnerships even with Oracle, so this is kind of interesting that Oracle and Microsoft are partnering One of the areas that's been difficult to get into the cloud is mission-critical workloads, and that's really what Oracle and Microsoft are partnering on It's giving Oracle customers an option, because they may not want to go to the Oracle cloud, they may not like the Oracle cloud They may feel like it's too locked-in

They may feel like it's too deficient relative to Azure They may be a big Microsoft customer and they feel more comfortable with Azure, so the deal between Oracle and Microsoft, the partnership, will allow more mission-critical workloads to go into Azure We know that AWS, if you look at the case studies on AWS's website for the Database and the Database migration they've done, they've been very successful but it's largely the analytic stuff, the data warehousing, the data marts It's not a lot of mission-critical stuff and you see Amazon itself is struggling to, you know, convert off of Oracle into, you know, its own transaction database, and that's still taking, you know, a long time They'll certainly tout the successes they've had in the data warehousing, but the transaction stuff is much, much tougher, so that's something that we're watching as part of what we sometimes refer to as cloud 2

0 Will the mission-critical workloads migrate into the cloud? Now again, the Microsoft numbers are fuzzy You've got to peel, you know, the onion back You have to take out Office 365 You got to, is Skype in there? What about GitHub, you know? They throw these things in

The companies, you know, they'll all play the kitchen sink game, but here's something I want you to think about What percent of AWS's business comes from the Amazon retail side? It's got to be substantial Amazon retail is easily a 10% customer of AWS, and likely much, much larger Could Amazon retail account for $10 billion in AWS's revenue, you know it's possible How are transfer costs allocated from quarter to quarter? What is, you know, Amazon retail pay? I think they pay rack rates, but you know, we're not sure how those transfer costs are allocated

People talk about breaking up AWS I read an article last week that said that Jeff Bezos may even spin it off before the government forces him to I'm not sure that makes sense I don't think it makes any sense to do that from a business standpoint because right now AWS is subsidizing Amazon's entry into all these other markets They're into grocery, they're into content, they're into now logistics

They're vertically integrating into logistics, and that's one of the items that they mentioned in their conference call last night, which was they're investing in logistics as potentially a future business, another, you know, big pillar You know their ad business is really taking off, so you're seeing, you know, Amazon, like Microsoft, a lot of ways to spend with those guys So is this pullback, the stock's down about 34 points today Is it a buying opportunity? Yeah, probably yes, but cloud 20 undoubtedly in this next phase is going to see tougher competition, you know, particularly from Microsoft but of course then you've got Alibaba, and you know, China, Inc

and the China cloud coming in, and you've got, you know, partners saying, "Hey, we have to be careful because if we don't move fast "Amazon's going to gobble up some of our business," so they're hedging their bets, and you're seeing some of the customers hedge their bets as well Bottom line, though, Amazon remains very, very strong, a leader, a continued share-gainer, so we're very positive on the company generally and AWS specifically All right, this is Dave Vellante Thank you for watching this version, this episode of CUBE Insights powered by ETR We'll see you next time

(techy music)

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