Eyebrows have been raised at Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which saw eight cloud service providers dropped from the rankings.
Virtustream, CenturyLink, Joyent, Rackspace, Interoute, Fujitsu, Skytap and NTT were all vanished from the analyst firm's Magic Quadrant, leaving only the six largest companies to be evaluated. Gartner's reasoning for this was that it chose more "stringent inclusion criteria" this year, which effectively excludes all but global vendors who currently have IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings.
Google nudged its way into the top right box, joining AWS and Microsoft Azure in the leaders' box, albeit significantly behind those dominating presences. Alibaba, Oracle and IBM lag behind in the bottom left box.
"These changes reflect Gartner's belief that customer evaluations are currently primarily focused on vendors for strategic adoption across a broad range of use cases. While customers still search for more focused, scenario-specific providers, these providers should be evaluated in the context of that specific workload, rather than compared in a broader market context," according to the analyst firm.
Dan Scarfe, founder of Azure partner New Signature, welcomed the news as Gartner clearly "defining" what true cloud means. "I think what Gartner have tried to do this year is to differentiate the companies that are really innovating and pushing the bounds of technology and the companies that are just rebadging a legacy service and pretending it's true cloud," he said.
The Magic Quadrant could spell trouble for those smaller public cloud companies that have been dropped, according to Stuart Fenton, CEO of Microsoft partner QuantiQ.
"I think the danger is that clients typically do look at the Magic Quadrant to select their partners. So not being on those research papers is almost certainly damaging," he said.
He agrees with Scarfe that the three smaller cloud providers will have to carve out their own niches in the space in order to survive. "I don't see the likes of IBM having an enormous market share across lots of clients. I think they'll have a big market share across a very small handful of clients at the upper end of the enterprise."
Gartner cites "high expectations" from customers as one of the reasons for changing its IaaS assessment criteria. "They expect not only ‘hardware' infrastructure features, but also management features, developer services and cloud software infrastructure services, including fully integrated PaaS capabilities."
Scarfe agrees with this rationale, stating that access to a range of different services is vital to anyone building a next-generation business. "Servers and storage are old hat these days. It's devops, app management platforms, container platforms - that's where the innovation is occurring right now. So unless you're really delivering that end to end platform, I agree with them, you don't deserve the right to call yourself a public cloud."
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