Gartner: Microsoft is Catching Up with Amazon in IaaS Cloud Market

Each year, Gartner Magic Quadrant establishes its intended public cloud providers, examining the top 15 players in the market, and subsequently classifies according to their understanding of market needs and their capacity to answer customers need. This year, Gartner has released its study of Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution providers with its now famous Magic Quadrant report.

In this study, the IaaS is defined as a highly automated standard offer, where compute resources, complemented by storage capacity and networking are owned by a service provider and offered to the customer on demand. IaaS resources are scalable and elastic in near real time, and can be calculated based on usage. The self-service interfaces are provided directly to the customer, including via a user interface based on Web and possibly via an API. Resources may be ‘single-tenant’ or ‘multi-tenant’, and hosted by the service provider or on-site in the customer data center.

Like last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is running away with the IaaS cloud market share. Gartner is particularly complimentary about Amazon – it is a thought leader; it is extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile and very responsive to the market. Last year there were two Visionary cloud providers- Microsoft and Rackspace. This year there were five – CenturyLink, CSC, IBM/SoftLayer, Verizon Terremark, and Google.

The research company says AWS is the undisputed leader in the cloud market with a five times higher than the cumulative total of fourteen other providers of this Magic Quadrant computing capacity. It offers by far the widest range of capabilities and allows the service to be one of the most suitable for the batch computing, especially for workloads requiring short-term provision of hundreds of servers at a time. It has the richest portfolio of IaaS products, its services are constantly expanding and the company continues to reduce its prices.

According to Gartner, no company is actually able to worry Amazon. However, the report mentions that Microsoft is really catching up with AWS and giving the market leader a run for its money. Microsoft’s vision of infrastructure and services platform allows customers to offer not only standalone offerings, but also to extend and interact seamlessly with Microsoft infrastructure and on-site applications (driven by Hyper- V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center), as well as SaaS offerings.

Gartner says Microsoft’s brand, existing customer relationships, history of running global-class consumer Internet properties, deep investments in engineering, and aggressive road map have enabled it rapidly to attain the status of strategic cloud IaaS providers. It is second in terms of cloud IaaS market share — albeit a distant second — but far ahead of its smaller competitors.

AWS has a larger partner ecosystem of SaaS applications, optimization services and plug-ins that are built to run seamlessly on AWS’s cloud. Microsoft is still building and expanding its Azure cloud platform and with SaaS applications as well, its vision is global and it is aggressively expanding into multiple international markets.

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