The market for cloud compute infrastructure as a service (a virtual data center of compute, storage and network resources delivered as a service) is still maturing and rapidly evolving. As each provider has unique offerings, the task of sourcing their services must be handled with care.
Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service using Internet technologies. Cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing service; it parallels the infrastructure and data center initiatives of IT. Cloud compute IaaS constitutes the largest segment of this market (the broader IaaS market also includes cloud storage and cloud printing). Only cloud compute IaaS is evaluated in this Magic Quadrant; it does not cover cloud storage providers, platform as a service (PaaS) providers, software as a service (SaaS) providers, cloud services brokerages or any other type of cloud service provider, nor does it cover the hardware and software vendors that may be used to build cloud infrastructure. Furthermore, this Magic Quadrant is not an evaluation of the broad, generalized cloud computing strategies of the companies profiled.
In the context of this Magic Quadrant, cloud compute IaaS (hereafter referred to simply as “cloud IaaS” or “IaaS”) is defined as a standardized, highly automated offering, where compute resources, complemented by storage and networking capabilities, are owned by a service provider and offered to the customer on demand. The resources are scalable and elastic in near-real-time, and metered by use. Self-service interfaces are exposed directly to the customer, including a Web-based UI and, optionally, an API. The resources may be single-tenant or multitenant, and hosted by the service provider or on-premises in the customer’s data center.
We draw a distinction between cloud infrastructure as a service, and cloud infrastructure as atechnology platform; we call the latter cloud-enabled system infrastructure (CESI). In cloud IaaS, the capabilities of a CESI are directly exposed to the customer through self-service. However, other services, including noncloud services, may be delivered on top of a CESI; these cloud-enabled services may include forms of managed hosting, data center outsourcing and other IT outsourcing services. In this Magic Quadrant, we evaluate only cloud IaaS offerings; we do not evaluate cloud-enabled services. (See “Technology Overview for Cloud-Enabled System Infrastructure” and “Don’t Be Fooled by Offerings Falsely Masquerading as Cloud Infrastructure as a Service” for more on this distinction.)
This Magic Quadrant covers all the common use cases for cloud IaaS, including development and testing, production environments (including those supporting mission-critical workloads) for both internal and customer-facing applications, batch computing (including high-performance computing [HPC]) and disaster recovery. It encompasses both single-application workloads and “virtual data centers” (VDCs) hosting many diverse workloads. It includes suitability for a wide range of application design patterns, including both “cloud-native” application architectures and enterprise application architectures.
This Magic Quadrant primarily evaluates cloud IaaS providers in the context of the fastest-growing need among Gartner clients: the desire to have a “data center in the cloud,” where the customer retains most of the IT operations responsibility. Gartner’s clients are mainly enterprises, midmarket businesses and technology companies of all sizes, and the evaluation focuses on typical client requirements.
This Magic Quadrant strongly emphasizes self-service and automation in a standardized environment. It focuses on the needs of customers whose primary need is self-service cloud IaaS, although it may be supplemented by a small amount of colocation or dedicated servers. Organizations that need significant customization or managed services for a single application, or that are seeking cloud IaaS as a supplement to a traditional hosting solution (“hybrid hosting”), should consult the Magic Quadrants for Managed Hosting instead (“Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting, North America,” “Magic Quadrant for European Managed Hosting” and “Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, Asia/Pacific”). Organizations that do not want self-service, but instead want managed services with an underlying CESI, should consult our Magic Quadrants for data center outsourcing and infrastructure utility services instead (“Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, North America” and “Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, Europe”).
This Magic Quadrant evaluates only solutions that are delivered in an entirely standardized fashion — specifically, public cloud IaaS, along with private cloud IaaS that uses the same or a highly similar platform. Although most of the providers in this Magic Quadrant do offer custom private cloud IaaS, we have not considered these offerings in our evaluations. Organizations that are looking for custom-built, custom-managed private clouds should use our Magic Quadrants for data center outsourcing and infrastructure utility services instead (see above).