Gartner’s 2018 IaaS Magic Quadrant: Google joins leaders’ zone as only six vendors make cut

Google has clambered into the leaders’ section of Gartner’s latest infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant, while the wheat has been separated from the chaff.

The annual report concluded that the cloud IaaS market is now a three-horse race in the top right box, with the leaders’ zone not being an Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft-only area for the first time since 2013.

Indeed, Gartner hacked away many of the fringe players for the latest Quadrant. Only six companies make this year’s list, down from 14 this time last year. In effect, Google moved up while the other combatants in last year’s ‘visionaries’ section – Alibaba Cloud, IBM and Oracle – all moved left.

Regarding the two primary leaders, Gartner’s analysis probably won’t surprise those who have consistently followed the market. AWS’ dominance was evidently noted – one point of interest is that many enterprise customers spend more than $5 million annually with some spending more than $100m – but securing optimal use from the company’s extensive portfolio can be challenging for even expert IT organisations. For Microsoft, the company’s increased openness and sustained high growth rate was reported, with concerns over larger scale implementations.

Google, however, carried a few interesting notes. Gartner said the company had a ‘well-implemented, reliable and performant core of fundamental IaaS and PaaS capabilities – including an increasing number of unique and innovative capabilities.’ In terms of cautions, Google fell down on not having a large number of MSP partners, although Gartner noted the improvement the company had made in that area.

It is certainly fair to say that the past 12 months has seen serious improvements from Google’s cloud arm – and placement at the top table from Gartner can be seen as important validation of this shift. At the start of this year, Google outlined its infrastructure expansion plans, focusing on five new data centre regions – with more having since been announced – and three subsea cables. Last month, CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged the company was striking ‘significantly larger, more strategic deals’ for cloud.

As this publication recently reported, it can also be seen as a case of keeping up with the Joneses. Capex spend from the ‘hyperscaler’ cloud vendors hit record levels in the most recent quarter, according to figures from Synergy Research. In a note published after financial results were disclosed, Synergy said cloud growth over the past two quarters had been ‘quite exceptional’.

Concluding the report, Gartner said the cloud IaaS market was ‘consolidating rapidly’, with the reduction of vendors reflecting heightened customer expectations, with services around hardware and software infrastructure, management and governance, and pre-integrated value-added solutions all necessary. The analyst firm added that of the six companies which made the cut, some already have this capability while others simply have the ambition to do so.

You can find out more about the report and download a reprint here (Microsoft landing page).

Postscript: As mentioned, Google’s inclusion in the leaders’ section means the five year run of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft only being at the top table has come to an end. But whither 2013? Well AWS was there, as one would expect, but Microsoft was a bit behind. One other company was in the leaders’ zone; CSC, who of course merged with HP Enterprise Services last year to create DXC Technology. If you remembered that, give yourself a pat on the back.