Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:

  • 81% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy. — Right Scale, 2018
  • Amazon Web Services has been adopted by 64% of firms in 2018, while Microsoft Azure has been adopted by 45% of firms. — Right Scale, 2018

The tech giant cloud wars continue to heat up, as the majority of enterprises adopt a multi-cloud strategy, according to RightScale’s State of the Cloud report. Some 81% of enterprises now have a multi-cloud strategy, the report found, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is no longer as far ahead of the pack as it used to be.

Choosing the right public cloud provider is becoming an increasingly nuanced discussion that goes well beyond scale, as noted by Larry Dignan on our sister site ZDNet. Determining the best provider for your firm depends largely on your enterprise’s needs.

On average, companies are using about five public and private clouds, the report found after surveying 997 technical professionals. And cloud spending is also increasing for many firms: 66% of cloud users will grow spend by 20% or more in 2018.

SEE: Cloud migration decision tool (Tech Pro Research)

While AWS adoption grew from 57% of respondents running apps on the platform in 2017 to 64% in 2018, Microsoft Azure is catching up: 45% of respondents were using the platform in 2018, up from 34% the year before.

Farther behind the pack are Google Cloud (18% in 2018), IBM Cloud (10%), VMware Cloud on AWS (8%), Oracle Cloud (6%), and Alibaba Cloud (2%).

The lead of AWS among enterprises with more than 1,000 employees is also shrinking, the report found. While 68% of enterprises use AWS, that number represents only 15% year-over-year (YoY) growth in adoption. Comparatively, Azure experienced 35% YoY growth, to reach 58% of enterprises. Google saw 26% YoY growth, and is used in 19% of enterprises. Perhaps most surprisingly, IBM experienced 50% growth, to reach 15% of enterprises.

Azure is beating AWS in terms of adoption among beginner cloud users, the report found: 49% of beginning users adopted Azure, compared to 47% for AWS.

In terms of top cloud initiatives for 2018, the majority of respondents (58%) named optimizing existing cloud use for cost savings. Other top goals included moving more workloads to the cloud (51%), better financial reporting (44%), automated policies for governance (42%), implementing a cloud-first strategy (39%), and expanding use of containers (38%).

It remains to be seen if Azure can knock AWS from its top public cloud provider perch in the coming years. But top cloud providers will benefit from differentiating themselves: Nearly half of developers said they think that all developer ecosystems are “pretty much the same” in terms of usefulness, according to a recent Accenture report. Some 70% said that a platform offering a truly differentiated developer ecosystem would get a much larger share of their business.