Gartner just published its updated Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant, and it's extremely sobering news for the cloud service provider industry.
Placement as a leader in the MQ, as it's commonly referred to, is coveted. As I wrote earlier this year about the last IaaS MQ release:
"Here's where the power of the Magic Quadrant comes to the fore. IT organizations use the MQ as a filtering mechanism; by definition, inclusion in the MQ bestows an imprimatur of technology leadership. Moreover, occupying a place in the MQ virtually assures a vendor of being placed on an IT organization's evaluation shortlist and getting a serious look. This is incredibly valuable, as most vendors know how challenging it can be to gain a fair evaluation if the IT organization sees the vendor as an also-ran."
In the 2012 MQ, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the clear leader, with significant white space between it and the other four members of the Leaders section of the MQ: Terremark, Savvis, Computer Science Corp. and Dimension Data.
According to the latest chart, AWS has extended its leadership position. There is now more white space between it and its competitors — so much so that there is now only one other Leader, CSC, with the other three firms having been relegated to other, less desirable quadrants.
This development is quite unusual. As Lydia Leong, the Gartner analyst who led this effort, says in her blog: "That leads to an unusual Magic Quadrant, in which the relative strength of AWS in both Vision and Execution essentially forces the whole quadrant graphic to rescale."
Put another way, Amazon has so extended its lead that Gartner had to change the MQ scale to keep Amazon on the chart, which forced everyone else down and to the left.
AWS Snatching Up New Projects at Old Customers and New Business
For any postulant CSP leader, this is a sobering state of affairs. After an entire industry has spent a year critiquing AWS as insufficiently robust, or not secure enough, or not comprehending "enterprise requirements," Gartner says AWS has actually increased the daylight between it and other CSPs.
To quote Leong: "While we saw much stronger momentum for AWS than other providers in 2012, 2013 has really been a tipping point. We still hear plenty of interest in competitors, but AWS is overwhelmingly the dominant vendor."
With respect to the position of other CSPs, Leong's blog says that many cloud features have become "table stakes," with little opportunity for differentiation among vendors. This leads to a Red Queen world, in which more and more effort is required just to keep up, with no improvement achieved despite an enormous amount of hard work.
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