05 SEP 2018

The best cloud platforms: 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant

Last month we saw the best cloud platforms according to the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant. Today we will have a look at the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant, released few months ago.

 

IaaS cloud services

Like the 2017 Magic Quadrant, the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant also refers to IaaS Cloud Solutions. At the same time, however, it can be seen as an indicator of the general maturity of providers.

 

Comparison between 2017 Magic Quadrant and 2018 Magic Quadrant

Comparing the two Magic Quadrants we immediately notice that there is a third leader this year: no longer just AWS and Azure, but also Google (in 2017 Gartner considered it a “visionary”). At the same we have fewer cloud vendors in the market: now the “visionaries” quadrant is empty and the “niche player” quadrant only hosts Alibaba Cloud, Oracle and IBM.

It’s obvious that Google is becoming one of the best cloud platforms, followed by Alibaba Cloud. IBM, on the other hand, is losing ground.

Il Magic Quadrant 2018 di Gartner per analizzare le migliori piattaforme cloud IaaS

AWS

Amazon cloud platform continues to be the sector leader as proven by its 2017 sales volume: from $14 billion in 2016, Bezos’ company made $20 billion in 2017.

 

Strengths:

Amazon is continuing its expansion by offering more and more services and functionalities and obtaining consensus among more and more companies. The new services aim mainly at management and integration aspects. Companies see AWS as an excellent partner and they spend a yearly average of $5 million for these services. Amazon is seen as a safe and mature cloud vendor which can ensure success for its customers and boasts excellent partners. AWS customers are companies that work on innovative and digital projects, as well as companies that are dealing with migration from traditional data centers to IaaS cloud.

In addition, AWS offers SaaS solutions and software already integrated into its platform.

 

Criticisms:

In order to implement services and features of one of the best cloud platforms, people need experience, especially if they want to make the most of all the possibilities that Amazon cloud platform offers and optimize costs.

Gartner stresses that AWS has made very few changes to its services over the years, as if it does not consider the real needs of its customers. This is a weakness of the Amazon cloud platform: competitors that take a cue from AWS ideas try to improve them, considering users’ needs.

AWS still counts on its position of leader of IaaS cloud market even though it is starting to review its policies and its services in view of cloud vendors which are entering the market. AWS is also changing policies with its partners: increasingly developing compatible open source services, which is essential in the collaboration with open source communities.

 

Azure

Azure is the Microsoft cloud platform.

 

Strengths:

The greatest strength of Azure is undoubtedly its Microsoft heritage: Microsoft products are already used by companies and they integrate perfectly with Microsoft’s cloud platform, so there are a lot of companies which choose Microsoft as their cloud service provider.

Azure can rely on more and more innovative features, better support for Linux and open source applications. It is the perfect solution even for multi-cloud customers thanks to the on-premise Azure Stack software that attracts customers who are looking for hybrid cloud solutions.

The Azure cloud platform is acquiring more and more approval and increasing its customers: Gartner estimates that the 2017 turnover was $4 million with customers who spend, on average, annually $500,000, but with some of them who spend even $5 million.

 

Criticisms:

Azure customers report issues that Microsoft technical staff has difficulty solving because, according to Gartner, Microsoft lacks the technical understanding of the platform. To deal with this problem, Microsoft is moving forward with its “FastTrack” program. The goal of the program is to support Azure technical assistant service.

The simple user experience offered by Azure is a double-edge sword: customers with less experience can easily use the platform, but it is difficult to implement complex configurations; customers need experience to use this Microsoft cloud platform, but this is a common problem for AWS too.

In addition, many Azure customers use the portal or CLIs for manual management, instead of using an automatic approach or a DevOps oriented one. Finally, the Azure infrastructure does not have a high degree of reliability even if the Microsoft cloud provider is continually implementing it. The main problems are related to virtual networks.

 

GCP

GCP is Google cloud platform.

 

Strengths:

Google makes available to its customers the same services it uses for its search engine and for YouTube. Its cloud services are aimed at customers with traditional infrastructures and native cloud companies. In addition, Google cloud services integrate perfectly with open-source applications.

Google can rely on reliable and high-performance IaaS and PaaS solutions and on many unique services, however the range of services it offers is not as wide as that of its competitors. Through its unique services, Google has tried to position itself in areas such as analytics and machine learning.

Google assists its customers through its “Customer Reliability Engineering” program. This is more than an assistance program: in fact, the internal engineers help customers to use GCP functionalities just as Google would do for its own services.

 

Criticisms:

GCP is the cloud vendor with the lowest prices and often offers discounts. Regarding its contractual negotiations, GCP is extremely flexible with its major customers, but it is rigid with the others.

GCP customers report technical support issues: There are few MSP experts and there aren’t any partners of professional service focused on the infrastructure.

 

Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud appeared on the market in 2009 (in China, 2016 for the international market) with an integrated cloud offer IaaS+PaaS. Cloud services and features offered in China are different from those for the international cloud. In China, Alibaba Cloud is a market leader.

 

Strengths:

The Chinese version of Alibaba Cloud, in terms of services and functionality, has nothing to envy regarding other cloud service providers: in fact Alibaba Cloud invests heavily in research and development. In addition, in China it offers Apsara Stack for the private hybrid cloud which is compatible with the Alibaba public cloud.

Alibaba Cloud excellent technical capabilities can be exploited successfully for the international market too.

 

Criticisms:

Alibaba Cloud must focus more on offering services to companies that are still operating in traditional environments and using Microsoft programs. Although Alibaba Cloud offers many services and features for the Chinese market, Gartner, in the 2018 Magic Quadrant, stresses that the same cannot be said for the international market: in this case, Alibaba cloud platform tries to copy the functionalities of its competitors, it does not focus on innovation.

So Gartner stresses that Alibaba Cloud has a lot of work to do for its international version and above all it has to ensure a greater degree of security and compliance with current regulations, issues that users keep in mind when they interact with Chinese companies.

As we have seen, cloud service providers are increasingly doing their best to establish themselves as market leaders with innovative and unique features and services at competitive prices. If you want to be, or if you are a company that is thinking about adopting cloud solutions, read more about cloud!

Elaborated by Lucia D’Adamo, in collaboration with Pasquale Camastra

 

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