AWS and Microsoft ‘overwhelmingly top contenders’ of IaaS Magic Quadrant, says Gartner

Gartner’s IaaS Magic Quadrant places AWS and Microsoft in the Leader quadrant, and Google and IBM in the Visionaries quadrant

Gartner’s cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant 2014 places AWS and Microsoft in the Leader quadrant, Google and IBM in the Visionaries quadrant, and HP, VMware and Rackspace in the niche players segment.

“In recent weeks, since the big price drops, lots of clients have been asking about the future of Google, and there are a lot of questions about IBM (SoftLayer),” said Gartner analyst Lydia Leong in her blog. “Of course, prospects consider other vendors, especially their existing incumbent vendors, as well, but AWS and Microsoft are overwhelmingly the top contenders.”

In its last Magic Quadrant (August 2013), Microsoft was in the visionaries quadrant while the leader quadrant had only one supplier, AWS.

“This is not a market for the faint of heart,” Leong said. “For that matter, this is not a market for the shallow of pocket. You can’t spend your way to success here, but you need engineers, intellectual property and, to be a real number three, substantial capital investment in infrastructure.”

Gartner analysts called AWS the “thought leader” in the cloud IaaS space.

AWS has more than five times the cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers in the Magic Quadrant.

But AWS is beginning to face significant competition from Microsoft in the traditional business market, and from Google in the cloud-native market, noted analysts Leong, Douglas Toombs, Bob Gill, Gregor Petri, Tiny Haynes.

AWS revenues dominate

Earlier this year, a Synergy Research Group report revealed AWS revenues are now well in excess of $1bn per quarter, greater than the four of its nearest rivals (Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce and Google) combined. But, the report too noted that Microsoft has grown its cloud infrastructure service revenues “remarkably in the last year and is now pulling away from the pack of operators chasing Amazon”.

“So far, AWS has responded aggressively to price drops by competitors on commodity resources,” Gartner analysts said.

“However, although it is continuously reducing its prices, it does not commodity-price services where it has superior capabilities. AWS currently has a multi-year competitive advantage, but is no longer the only fast-moving, innovative, global-class provider in the market.”

Google, which was not included at all in the August 2013 Magic Quadrant, made it in the “visionaries” space alongside CSC, IBM (SoftLayer), CenturyLink and Verizon Terremark in the latest one.

Google offers its own technology

On Google IaaS, the Gartner analysts noted that the web giant’s strategy is to allow customers to "run like Google" by providing its innovative internal technology capabilities as services that other companies can purchase.

“Consequently, although Google is a late entrant to the IaaS market, it is primarily productizing existing capabilities, rather than having to engineer those capabilities from scratch. It will therefore be able to advance its offering more rapidly than most competitors,” analysts said.

In the May 2014 Magic Quadrant, Gartner evaluated cloud IaaS providers responding to customers’ needs of having a "datacentre in the cloud" self-service cloud IaaS and automation. It evaluated cloud providers on the quality of the processes, systems, methods or procedures that enable IT to be competitive, efficient and effective.

In the latest magic quadrant, the “niche players” segment is the most crowded with providers such as Fujitsu, Virtustream, Dimension Data, GoGrid and Joyent sharing space with HP, Rackspace and VMware.  

The analyst firm has not placed any company in the Challengers quadrant.

Gartner analysts are also seeing a convergence of IaaS and PaaS markets. AWS offers services with PaaS elements, while Microsoft and Google started as PaaS providers and then launched IaaS offerings. “The distinctions will blur and increasingly become less relevant, as providers fight it out on features and capabilities,” Leong said.

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