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Network World - The cloud market can be a big, daunting place. Seemingly every tech vendor has a cloud strategy, with new products and services dubbed "cloud" coming out every week. But who are the real market leaders? Research firm Gartner's answer lies in its Magic Quadrant report for the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon Web Services is listed in the top, far-right corner, in the "leaders and visionaries" corner of the MQ.
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Perhaps most surprising are companies NOT on Gartner's MQ. Missing from this list are big-name companies that have invested a lot in the cloud, including Microsoft, HP, IBM and Google. That may change in future years, though, as this MQ report only includes providers that had IaaS clouds in general availability as of June 2012. Microsoft, HP and Google had clouds in beta at the time.
Gartner only measured the top 15 cloud providers by estimated global market share, which left out others such as CloudSigma, FireHost, NaviSite and Peer 1, which Gartner mentions as having competitive and compelling offerings, but not top-15 global market share. Other providers appearing on the list in past years dropped because of the market share requirement included AT&T, Datapipe, Hosting.com, Tata Communications and Virtacore Systems.
To be included in this year's MQ, the provider must offer a stand-alone IaaS offering run across at least two data centers, complete with 24/7 customer support. Because of the focus on market share, the MQ report takes a more company- and market-dynamic approach to evaluating firms, rather than a pure look at the technical offerings of each company. It's a solid guide, though, and provides a basic who's who in the cloud.
Gartner reinforces what many in the cloud industry believe: Amazon Web Services is the 800-pound gorilla. The company is "extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile and has one of the richest IaaS portfolio of services." Its large pool of capacity in the cloud optimizes it for batch computing, high-performance computing and big data analytics. It has a large technology ecosystem, which makes running licensed and packaged software easy to do in its cloud. While seen as a strong player in startup communities, AWS has been pushing its enterprise services as well recently. It releases security audits to customers under non-disclosure agreements, but it does not allow customers to do independent audits, Gartner points out.
There are some concerns, though, Gartner says. Namely, AWS has a "weak, narrowly defined" service-level agreement (SLA), which requires customers to spread workloads across multiple availability zones and only counts a violation of the SLA when both AZs are inaccessible. The SLAs also do not include the company's popular Elastic Block Storage, which recently suffered an outage. AWS is a price leader, but its services come with hidden extra costs, specifically around networking services and add-ons for highly available and fault-tolerant systems, Gartner says.