Will 2022 Be the Year of Alternative Cloud?

The Big Three public cloud providers have been dominating the market for quite some time. But this could be the year that alternative cloud makes inroads into their dominance.

Yet, there’s decent reason to predict, as some folks have, that we’re on the cusp of a major surge in alternative cloud adoption. AWS, Azure, and GCP may not disappear anytime soon, but it’s possible that more and more workloads will be split between one of these large public clouds and alternative cloud providers, like IBM, Cisco, DigitalOcean, Linode, OVHcloud, and Vultr.

It’s also possible that alternative clouds will always remain just that — alternatives that are used by some businesses, but that never really cut into the market share of the Big Three public cloud providers in a critical way.

Here’s why 2022 could be the year that alternative cloud takes off — or, alternatively, why it won’t.

The Momentum Behind Alternative Cloud

Again, alternative cloud platforms are nothing new. Linode, for example, dates back to 2003, which makes it just as old as AWS, and DigitalOcean has been around since 2011.

For most of their history, alternative clouds were distant competitors with the Big Three clouds. Although many alternative cloud providers have enjoyed business success, few people ever saw them as platforms that would become head-to-head competitors with the likes of AWS and Azure.

But there are some reasons to believe that could change in 2022.

Alternative clouds are going public

DigitalOcean made splashes last year when it launched an IPO. Backblaze, an alternative cloud storage provider, also announced an IPO in 2021.

To be sure, going public doesn’t automatically translate to business success or widespread adoption. Still, moves like these are a sign that some investors, at least, believe alternative cloud providers have a bright future. IPOs will also likely draw more attention to alternative clouds, putting them on the radar of CTOs and CIOs who may currently not even know they exist.

Stagnating public cloud costs

For a long time, the Big Three public cloud providers slashed their prices on a regular basis. They still slash prices — AWS recently reduced its egress and s3 storage costs, for instance — but not as frequently as in the days when the Big Three clouds were aggressively trying to underprice each other.

As a result, alternative clouds have a bigger opportunity to compete on price, which they often do well. For example, alternative clouds that specialize in storage, like Wasabi and Backblaze, tend to beat the Big Three clouds hands-down when it comes to cost per gigabyte.