According to a recent release, Microsoft is on pace to generate $18.9B in cloud revenue in 2017. Though the sum is staggering in comparison to the revenue of almost any other business, tech giants tend to play in a league of their own, so the number can be difficult to assess. For context, Microsoft cloud services generated a comparably low $6.3B in revenue back in 2015.

In less than two-years' time, Microsoft's cloud revenue has tripled, which puts the company on pace to meet their self-stated goal of exceeding the $20B threshold by the end of 2018.

That goal was set in 2015, making the desired growth an ambitious proposition. But with Azure and the Office 365 suite booming in popularity, there is little suspense that the deadline will be met.

The rapid growth shown by Microsoft is an interesting indicator of a wider reliance on the cloud. Though a player as immense as Microsoft is hardly an every-man of the tech industry, it's success and commitment to the cloud show a belief in its importance.

The cloud has been developing and growing as an entity for years, helping businesses bring new products to market, helping companies to improve on existing services and allowing organizations to run more effectively with the aid of useful software solutions, like ERPs.

Technology is always changing how business works. At one point it was automated machines that could perform repetitious movements. Today it is the evolution of fluid technologies and the way that businesses engage with them that is defining success and failure.

As Microsoft’s sizable investment in, and dedication to the cloud demonstrates, services and data rendered by the cloud will only become a growing focal point of the tech industry for years to come.