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Gartner: Cloud Leader Amazon Chased by Microsoft and Google

For the fifth straight year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was ranked as the top cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) vendor in the "magic quadrant" report released by research firm Gartner Inc.

However, it's being chased by Microsoft -- new to the party but coming on strong -- and Google, which made the report for the first time this year.

Gartner's magic quadrant report uses exhaustive research to place vendors in a four-square chart with axes based on "ability to execute" and "completeness of vision." The top-right square contains "leaders" based on cumulative scores. The bottom-left vendors are at the opposite end, "niche players." Top-left is "challengers" and bottom-right is "visionaries." Figure 1 shows the results of the May 2014 report.

Gartner 2014 Magic Quadrant IaaS report
[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 1. Gartner 2014 Magic Quadrant IaaS report
(source: Gartner Inc.)

AWS was again at the top in the leaders square, joined by Microsoft. Last year (in an August report), CSC was the only other company in the leaders square. This year, it changed places with Microsoft, which moved up from the visionaries quadrant. Google debuted on the chart in the No. 3 slot on the vision axis, though it was ranked eighth on the execution axis. Although Google has been offering its App Engine service since 2008, Gartner said it didn't enter the IaaS arena until the December 2013 launch of its Google Compute Engine.

Likewise, Microsoft has been in the cloud business for some time with its Azure service, but the company was considered by Gartner to be in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) market until the April 2013 debut of Azure Infrastructure Services.

VMware was the second vendor to make the chart for the first time in the latest report. The only companies dropped were due to acquisitions: SoftLayer (now IBM); and Saavis and Tier 3 (now both CenturyLink).

The continued dominance of AWS was evident in Gartner's assessment of its strengths. Enjoying a diverse customer base and wide range of use cases, Gartner said AWS "is the overwhelming market share leader, with more than five times the cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers in this Magic Quadrant. It is a thought leader; it is extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile, and very responsive to the market. It has the richest array of IaaS features and PaaS-like capabilities, and continues to rapidly expand its service offerings. It is the provider most commonly chosen for strategic adoption."

However, the research firm cautioned that the market is still maturing and evolving, and things may not stay the same.

"AWS is beginning to face significant competition -- from Microsoft in the traditional business market, and from Google in the cloud-native market," Gartner said. "So far, it has responded aggressively to price drops by competitors on commodity resources. However, although it is continuously reducing its prices, it does not commodity price services where it has superior capabilities. AWS currently has a multiyear competitive advantage, but is no longer the only fast-moving, innovative, global-class provider in the market."

Here are the quadrant charts from previous years (click on the images to see larger versions):
August 2013
August 2013 (source: Gartner Inc.)
October 2012
October 2012 (source: Gartner Inc.)
December 2011
December 2011 (source: Gartner Inc.)
December 2010
December 2010 (source: Gartner Inc.)

Posted by David Ramel on 06/04/2014 at 6:59 PM


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