Amazon Web Services occupies the coveted upper-right corner of Gartner’s new “magic quadrant” report on worldwide public cloud storage services, which the research firm released yesterday. That placement denotes that, in Gartner’s view of the eight competitors ranked, AWS has both the most complete vision and the strongest ability to execute.
Next, along a near-perfect line from upper right to lower left, come Microsoft, Google, IBM, Alibaba and Rackspace (tied), Oracle and AT&T. At least two of those will disappear from the cloud storage market by 2019, Gartner predicted.
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“Amazon dominates the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market and has the most comprehensive storage offerings,” Gartner said in the report. “AWS customers benefit by using a vendor that is often the first to offer new category-defining features and services. . . . AWS’s dominance isn’t limited to just market share, product innovation and revenue — it’s also the mind share leader.”
The report noted that AWS was the first to offer block and file storage on solid-state disk, cold tiers of block and object storage and an event-driven microplatform as a service. It said that AWS has the most extensive range of services, and that its varied storage services are well integrated with each other and with other AWS services. AWS’s S3 protocol has emerged as the de facto standard for object storage, and many vendors — though not Microsoft — have implemented S3 protocol compatibility, the report said.
Gartner criticized AWS for complex storage-service pricing, failing to help customers consume its services more efficiently, and slow performance in retrieving from the Glacier data-archiving service.
Microsoft won praise for its “strong enterprise focus” and its “concerted, public effort to support non-Microsoft technologies,” a hat tip to CEO Satya Nadella’s drive toward openness. But the report called Microsoft “an innovation laggard, trailing behind AWS in both breadth and depth of public cloud storage service offerings.”
Google, a distant third, won praise for “exceptional software engineering, large-scale infrastructure operation experience and a large financial war chest.” Gartner added, though, that because Google’s primary focus is its advertising business, it lacks sufficient sales, marketing, ISVs and partnerships to make it broadly attractive as an IaaS cloud provider. Its storage locations are limited, with only two outside the U.S., the report added.
The report included thoughtful commentary on the pros and cons of moving to the cloud. It said doing so “poses unique challenges compared to enterprise data-center equivalents,” adding that if organizations do make the move, “there is significant risk in not selecting a vendor with massive scale, deep ability to address enterprise requirements and a positive outlook for longevity. . . . Customers should be wary of using providers that lack meaningful scale and global presence due to slow product innovation and the realistic possibility of service closure.”