Gartner has released the results of its Magic Quadrant for Infrastructure as a Service for 2016. The winners in the public cloud space are innovating and adding new features rapidly, while the losers are falling further and further behind. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the report.
Winner: Amazon Web Services
AWS is the clear leader in the IaaS space with “a diverse customer base and the broadest range of use cases.” Its partner ecosystem combined with its training and certification programs “makes it easier to adopt and operate AWS in a best-practice fashion,” Gartner says.
Gartner notes that optimal use of AWS may require professional services, and recommends the use of third-party cost management tools to keep track of cloud expenses. Of course, all of this is good news for the latest crop of cloud service providers who are positioning their services around providing better support for AWS.
Microsoft Azure is considered one of the big three IaaS providers right now. Gartner says Microsoft’s strengths include integrated IaaS and PaaS components that “operate and feel like a unified whole”, rapid addition of new features and services, and becoming more open – including its support of Red Hat earlier this year.
And Gartner isn’t the only one that recognizes Azure’s mass appeal: other recent research has predicted that adoption of Azure by CIOs could surpass AWS by 2019.
Like AWS, successful implementation of Azure relies on customers forming relationships with partners. But Gartner says that while Microsoft “has been aggressively recruiting managed service and professional services partners… many of these partners lack extensive experience with the Azure platform, which can compromise the quality of the solutions they deliver to customers.”
But it’s not necessarily the fault of the partners; Gartner says that “CMP vendors and MSPs report challenges in working with Azure, particularly in the areas of API reliability and secure authentication, which are slowing their ability to deliver solutions.”
Google’s capabilities in the IaaS space rely heavily on its own experience running the back-end of its behemoth search engine. In other words, Google allows other companies to “run like Google” which makes it the top contender for cloud-native use cases and applications.
But Google is lacking in key areas that could prevent it from further adoption with established organizations and startups; namely, “user management suitable for large organizations, granular and customizable role-based access control (RBAC), complex network topologies equivalent to those in enterprise data centers, and software licensing via a marketplace and license-portability agreement.”
Unlike AWS and Microsoft, who have been fairly supportive of partners, Google has focused more on delivering its cloud services direct, even pushing some MSPs to vow to never work with the company.
With roots in OpenStack cloud, Rackspace has worked to be more technology-neutral, and shifted away from this to embrace “its roots as ‘a company of experts,’” offering managed AWS support and other managed services for third-party clouds. Rackspace is also strong when it comes to private cloud offerings.
What has held Rackspace back? According to Gartner, it has not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation of the market leaders.
Gartner also hinted that Rackspace could become an acquisition target – which was at least partially confirmed this week as reports surfaced that it is close to a deal with private equity firm Apollo.
While Gartner acknowledges that VMware is the market share leader in virtualization, vCloud Air has “limited appeal to the business managers and application development leaders who are typically the key decision makers for cloud IaaS sourcing.”
“VMware is no longer significantly expanding the geographic footprint of vCloud Air, nor investing in the engineering necessary to expand its feature set beyond basic cloud IaaS,” Gartner says.
Loser: NTT Communications
Though NTT Communications (NTT Com) has a strong presence in Asia-Pacific – a challenging market for many IaaS providers – its basic cloud IaaS offering is not enough to set it apart from its competitors.
Gartner says it is “missing capabilities that would make it attractive to enterprise IT operations organizations” – which could be somewhat addressed by its CSB portal that includes its offerings and third-party clouds, expected to launch this year.
Gartner says that Fujitsu’s cloud IaaS capabilities “lag significantly behind those of the market leaders” and “it will continue to need to aggressively invest in acquiring and building technology in order to be competitive in this market.”