Gartner is well respected in the industry by most. Even people who dismiss traditional analyst firms concede (however grudgingly) that Gartner does a good job of describing the technology landscape. In the public cloud world, that credibility has been built, in part, through the respect that most in the industry have for Gartner's VP and distinguished analyst, Lydia Leong. In a world of quick, knee-jerk reactions, hers is a steady and steely voice.
The problem with Gartner's work, however, is that most of it is behind a paywall. Not only that, but the Gartner paywall is notoriously expensive. I'm often given a copy of something to read with the specific instructions not to circulate or share. I guess that's fair enough -- Gartner's entire business rests on its in-depth research so it needs to hold that research tightly.
So the news that Gartner was offering up a free reprint of its "Critical Capabilities of Public Cloud IaaS" report was exciting. At last there was something that could be shared with the world.
The report is fascinating reading, and well worth some in-depth time. But to summarize, Leong and her team took in a number of discrete use-cases: application development, batch computing, cloud-native applications and general business applications.
The results are a jarring reminder about just how much of a one-horse race the public cloud market currently is. True, there are some strong players doing good stuff in the space (and one of those vendors, Microsoft, came in at second place on three of the four categories). But, just as in Tolkien's tail, in the public cloud space there seems to be one ring to rule them all, Amazon Web Services. In every category, Amazon was the highest scoring company, and generally by a good 35 percent margin.
I've often commented about AWS' dominance (For full disclosure, AWS, is a current client of Diversity Limited.) This is a company that most accept holds the biggest market share and which also (more debateable but generally accepted) innovates at a speed at least as great (if not greater) than other vendors. Put simply, in the public cloud space, AWS has little competition.
But the world, as they say, is far more complex than initial viewpoints would suggest and there are vendors in the report who have added strings to their bow. Microsoft is telling an increasingly compelling hybrid cloud story that, while not yet fully baked, looks to be very attractive to organizations with existing workloads. For their parts Virtustream (or, more correctly, component parts of the Dell/EMC/VMware/Virtustream mega-consortium) has a strong enterprise hybrid story. Rackspace, CenturyLink and Google all have an interesting story to tell.
If the future was single sided and entirely predicated on success in the public cloud, I would suggest that this report signals game over. The future is far more complex than this, however, and smart money should still be placed on the success of the more hybrid-focused vendors.
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