Yesterday, Gartner published the 2018 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service. If you're not familiar with Gartner Magic Quadrants (or MQ for short), you should know that they are THE document of reference for buyers in the technology space.
This year's edition shocked many reviewers. Why? Read our quick analysis for context...
What just happened?!
The first and most drastic change that occurred over the last year is the number of players that Gartner decided to highlight in its report: the number of vendors went from 14 to just 6 this year.
Why is that?! Have the big become bigger and the small smaller?! Or has the space shrunk? The latter is highly improbable. All the contrary: earlier last year, forecasted that the highest growth in the cloud market would be coming from the sector this MQ covers: Gartner predicted that the cloud system infrastructure services would grow over 36% to reach $34B+ in 2017.
So, what gives?! One of the key factors to pay attention to when reading any of Gartner's MQ is what they call "inclusion criteria". From one year to the next, the research firm can refine and modify the conditions that lead to a vendor to be included in the quadrant. This is why year over year comparisons are often tricky. Sometimes, Gartner makes drastic changes to its inclusion criteria. This is precisely what happened this year.
In 2018, Gartner focused on "global vendors that currently have hyperscale integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings, or that are currently developing those offerings". So here is who's in and who's out (by alphabetical order):
- IN: Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
- OUT: CenturyLink, Fujitsu, Interoute (acquired by GTT in Feb), Joyent (owned by Samsung), Virtustream (owned by EMC), NTT Communications, RackSpace and Skytap.
In closing, it's worth mentioning that, according to Gartner's 2018 view of the Cloud world, no vendor is a 'visionary' or a 'challenger'. Last year, Google, Alibaba Cloud, IBM and Oracle were considered as visionaries. Only Google moved up to a "Leader" position while Alibaba Cloud, IBM and Oracle retrenched to the "Niche" Category...
How To Choose Your Cloud Provider
Beyond Gartner's most recent report, you will find ample guidance online to guide your cloud buying decisions. You'll need a mental framework to think through the various options. Here are some questions worth asking:
- How much of your data should be in the cloud? According to the industry's most recent Big Data survey, 77% of enterprises are going to the cloud. However 37% of companies have all their data in the Cloud. Will you be "all-in" or will you be running in hybrid mode? Either way, you'll most likely need to consider a universal semantic layer for your analytic workloads.
- Modern technology. Old principles? No matter how 'revolutionary' the Cloud appears, don't believe that you'll be able to forget about your enterprise business requirements. You'll need an evolution there. Not a revolution. There are 6 key principles enterprises choose to build a modern data architecture. Use this blog as guidance (and for more, watch this recorded session)
- One Cloud or Multi Cloud? Regardless if you're new to the Cloud, migrating on-premises workloads to the Cloud or running your Data Lake in a hybrid mode, you'll need to consider "vendor lock-in". If you pick one cloud vendor today, what protects your business in the future? What if you want to move your data to a different cloud in one year? What if you decide to use one cloud for one type of use case and a different one for others? The only thing that protects you is a sound abstraction layer for data and its business logic. Listen to this quick video interview of Matt Baird on the value of an abstraction layer for data: "The Data Lake 2.0 is about Abstraction" he says.
Gartner's document is a very long and in depth report so it will take you a while to absorb its nuances. If you are anxious to take action today and test your environment on one or several of the leading clouds highlighted in the Magic Quadrant, simply go to http://atscale.com/try and request your access.
If you're not quite ready want to further investigate, here are some simple reads that can help:
- Google BigQuery and AtScale: Best-in-class user experience and performance. At a fraction of the cost.
- Amazon and AtScale: The fastest and most scalable enterprise analytics solution on the cloud.
- Microsoft and AtScale: The strongest foundation for the ultimate modern analytics architecture.