In this short article we’ll overview and briefly compare regional communities behind the three major public cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (aka AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. The overview only covers three predominantly German-speaking countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland (also called “DACH” countries).

The top right quadrant from the latest Gartner cloud market analysis clearly indicates three global cloud leaders: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud.</div>What criteria are we going to use in comparing the communities? We will make the comparison based on the number of registered members, i.e., the group size. It is obvious that the group size is just one of the many metrics, such as the activity rate (how often the meetups take place), the average number of participants, the date of the latest activity, etc. The number of members should serve a simplified way of measuring a group success or importance.

The internet is big. What types of groups are we going to count? Indeed, there are cloud communities organized in Facebook groups, on various messenger networks like Telegram, independently hosted forums, etc. In this research, we will count only communities hosted on the Meetup.com platform. Currently, Meetup is, in fact, the most popular community platform in those 3 countries.

We will only consider somehow active groups. It means that a group should have at least one registered past or upcoming event. In the locations where multiple communities dedicated to the same cloud technology are present, only the biggest one will be considered. For example, Munich has two Azure groups – one with 1581 members and the other with 641 members. Let’s only take the biggest group, instead of summing up their numbers, since there is a high probability of members overlapping between those groups.

The article gives only a snapshot of the situation as of April 11, 2020. The author doesn’t intend to make updates reflecting changes. It’s a photo rather, than a video.

Germany

Germany has a population of over 83 million people. It is one of the most important technological hubs of Europe. Plenty of universities, industrial and service companies belong to the landscape of most of the cities in this country. Even small places might have lively user groups here.

Location Population AWS Azure Google Cloud
Berlin 3644826 3772 1456 700
Munich 1471508 4420 1581 1391
Hamburg 1841179 1787 1266 714
Cologne 1085664 1130 1723  
Frankfurt 753056 1324 1341 841
Stuttgart 634830 1041 804  
Düsseldorf 619294 297 317 976
Leipzig 587857 530 139  
Dortmund 587010 833    
Essen 583109      
Bremen 569352      
Dresden 554649 360 215  
Hanover 538068 415 333  
Nuremberg 518365 827 268 369
Duisburg 498590   743  
Bochum 364628      
Wuppertal 354382      
Bielefeld 333786 169    
Bonn 327258   489  
Münster 314319 270    
Karlsruhe 313092 393 150  
Mannheim 309370   155  
Braunschweig 248292 185    
Magdeburg 238697   174  
Freiburg 230241 124 349  
Rostock 208886   164  
Saarbrücken 180741   260  
Osnabrück 164748   89  
Heidelberg 160355 145    
Ulm 126329 86    
Gütersloh 100194   210  
Schwerin 95818   37  
Tübingen 90546 130    
Konstanz 84760   58  
Weimar 65090   375  
Rosenheim 63324   205  
Friedrichshafen 60865   102  
Ilmenau 39017 219    
Total groups:   21 26 6

As we can clearly see from the table, both AWS and Azure have broad community networks covering most of the populated cities and towns in Germany. Azure communities having the biggest number of groups demonstrate a tendency of going into the long tail by covering smaller locations, where AWS groups are not present at all. Google Cloud groups (aka “GDG Cloud” chapters) have the weakest cloud community network in Germany. However, one should not forget the much wider network of general Google Developer Groups (abbreviated “GDG”), which also occasionally run Google Cloud themed meetups. Also, Google Cloud is the youngest offering of the three clouds.

There are some large cities in the country, like Essen, Bremen, Bochum and several others, where none of the three cloud players have community footprints. These are opportunities for the future growth.

Austria

Austria has a population of almost 9 million people. Unfortunately, the presence of cloud related groups is not very impressive here.

Location Population AWS Azure Google Cloud
Vienna 1888776 980 276  
Graz 289440      
Linz 204846 218    
Salzburg 153377      
Total groups:   2 1 0

The two blank spots are the cities of Graz and Salzburg. While Salzburg is mainly a touristic site, unlikely to attract a lot of cloud enthusiasts, the city of Graz is a completely different story. It’s a pity it doesn’t have a community footprint of either of the big clouds.

Switzerland

Switzerland, with the population of over 8 million people, is the smallest of the three predominantly German-speaking countries. Despite this, it has technologically advanced population in its cities, backed up by universities and subsidiaries of many tech companies. Thus, Swiss cloud groups seem to be better presented than those in Austria.

Location Population AWS Azure Google Cloud
Zurich 415215 878 1290 268
Geneva 201741 351    
Basel 177595 98 181  
Lausanne 139056      
Bern 133791 424 441  
Lugano 63178 198    
Total groups:   5 3 1

The city of Lausanne doesn’t host any of the cloud communities. A Google Cloud group exists only in Zurich, its European headquarters.

IBM Cloud has a community network at least in Germany: being even smaller than the Google Cloud’s network, it has been ignored in this report. Oracle Cloud is another rising cloud provider, which doesn’t seem to have a clear community strategy and, as a result, has almost negligible following among local developers. This is clearly a drawback, which should be corrected to match the high ambitions of this corporation on the cloud market.

Update from 18-April-2020: To be precise, the GDG Cloud group that is listed in the report under the city of Frankfurt is in fact located in the neighboring city of Wiesbaden (population: 278,342). Also, most of the group’s past events were held in Wiesbaden. Thus, Google Cloud has a local community in Wiesbaden, but doesn’t have one in Frankfurt.

DISCLAIMER. The author of this article runs voluntarily the Google Cloud developer group in Nuremberg (Germany). His opinions are intended to be honest and unbiased. In addition to his own research, the following official sources have been used: AWS, Azure & Google Cloud.


About the Author

Karen Tamrazyan is an entrepreneur, open-source advocate and tech evangelist. In his free from work time he finds joy and happiness in every little thing together with his family and friends. Karen is a passionate blogger and author, who is eager to learn new stuff and share his knowledge.