Report: Amazon, Microsoft in two-way race for IaaS top spot

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New research from Gartner’s annual report card on the public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud computing market reveals there is one main leader – Amazon Web Services – and another clear challenger – Microsoft Azure.

Also, the Gartner report found that “global spending on IaaS is expected to reach almost US$16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to Gartner’s latest forecast.

IaaS refers to companies renting cloud infrastructure—servers, storage and networking—on demand, in a pay-as-you-go model. Common IaaS workloads include dev/test, website hosting, storage, and simple application development.

AWS and Azure are the only two vendors in the “leaders” quadrant of the report, as ZDNet points out. AWS takes the top spot, with a slew of other providers – including Google, CenturyLink, Rackspace, VMware, Virtustream – snagging decent high marks, but none have clouds that rival those from the big two.

“The sky is not falling — customers are getting great value out of cloud IaaS — but the competitive landscape is shifting,” said Gartner vice president Lydia Leong said. “Few providers have the financial resources to invest in being broadly competitive in the cloud IaaS market.”

Breaking down the two leaders, AWS “was the first to market with an IaaS offering, based on Xen-virtualized servers and hasn’t looked back,” as NetworkWorld writes. Looking at Microsoft, Azure has an intriguing bundled offering: Its public cloud works closely with its on-premises management tools, such as Windows Server and Systems Center. The main knock against Azure is it that some features are not fully production ready, such as Azure suffering from significant outages.

Leong gets the last word: “Cloud IaaS is not merely a matter of hardware rental, but an entire data center ecosystem as a service. The more you use its management capabilities, the more value you will receive from the offering, but the more you will be tied to that particular service offering.”

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.
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