State of Cloud Communities in German-Speaking Countries

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.

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.

LocationPopulationAWSAzureGoogle Cloud
Berlin364482637721456700
Munich1471508442015811391
Hamburg184117917871266714
Cologne108566411301723
Frankfurt75305613241341841
Stuttgart6348301041804
Düsseldorf619294297317976
Leipzig587857530139
Dortmund587010833
Essen583109
Bremen569352
Dresden554649360215
Hanover538068415333
Nuremberg518365827268369
Duisburg498590743
Bochum364628
Wuppertal354382
Bielefeld333786169
Bonn327258489
Münster314319270
Karlsruhe313092393150
Mannheim309370155
Braunschweig248292185
Magdeburg238697174
Freiburg230241124349
Rostock208886164
Saarbrücken180741260
Osnabrück16474889
Heidelberg160355145
Ulm12632986
Gütersloh100194210
Schwerin9581837
Tübingen90546130
Konstanz8476058
Weimar65090375
Rosenheim63324205
Friedrichshafen60865102
Ilmenau39017219
Total groups:21266

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.

LocationPopulationAWSAzureGoogle Cloud
Vienna1888776980276
Graz289440
Linz204846218
Salzburg153377
Total groups:210

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.

LocationPopulationAWSAzureGoogle Cloud
Zurich4152158781290268
Geneva201741351
Basel17759598181
Lausanne139056
Bern133791424441
Lugano63178198
Total groups:531

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.

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