(Recode) – If it keeps growing at the rate it has from this time last year, Amazon Web Services will finish 2015 with a business approaching $7 billion in revenue. And if it hits the $102 billion in overall revenue that analysts expect, that will make AWS account for about 7 percent of sales overall.
By revenue it is the biggest cloud, though it’s a matter of ensuring you’re comparing directly to the kind of cloud that Amazon runs. More than a million customers fire up machines in Amazon’s data centers every day, replacing servers they might otherwise have to buy. Some are used for basic data storage, some are used for more complex applications. When cloud business analysts start drawing lines around different companies that run cloud operations, they tend to classify AWS as infrastructure-as-a-service.
Compare that to IBM, for example, which likes to boast of its $7.7 billion cloud business (2014 revenues), but that includes its business of selling cloud-based applications or software-as-a-service, something Amazon doesn’t offer. The part of Big Blue’s cloud business that is most directly comparable to AWS is the “as a service” portion, which is made up mostly of its SoftLayer unit. It posted revenue of about $3.8 billion.