- Amazon Web Services once again came out on top of Gartner's Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant, cinching a spot in the top right of the leaders' quadrant. Microsoft came in second, almost on par with Amazon in terms of "completeness of vision" but a little farther behind in "ability to execute," while Google eked out of the visionary category and into the bottom of the leaders group for 2018.
- Alibaba Cloud, Oracle and IBM rounded out the niche players category, scaling back from positions in the visionaries category last year.
- CenturyLink, Fujitsu, Interoute, Joyent, Rackspace, NTT Communications, Skytap and Virtustream, which made up the niche players category last year, were dropped from the quadrant altogether. No new vendors were added, and no company made the visionary or challenger quadrants.
The 2018 IaaS quadrant has two notable differences from last year: fewer players and extended boundaries.
Eight of the vendors that were on last year's Magic Quadrant were dropped as a result of more stringent criteria that limited the assessment to global vendors with capabilities or plans for hyperscale integrated IaaS and PaaS. The change is a reflection of customers' prioritization of vendors for "strategic adoption across a broad range of use cases," according to Gartner.
Customers still look for vendors offering IaaS solutions for more specific workloads, but assessment in the broader market context was a priority this year. Smaller vendors are challenged to compete in the expanding market.
With the focus on vendors in a strategic, comprehensive light, Gartner moved the market boundaries out and scaled back vendor placement to indicate there are more market opportunities for vendors to tap, according to Lydia Leong, one of the Gartner analysts who compiled the report, in an interview with CIO Dive.
Relative to 2017, all six of the vendors appear to have moved back on the "completeness of vision" scale, but they didn't necessarily lose ground. "We expanded the notion of what these vendors over the long-term could potentially do," said Leong. "In previous years, AWS has been so close to the boundary of the graphic that it was impossible really to give them higher scores without having them crawl off the graph."
This year's quadrant shows that it's largely a mature market and, in addition to the IaaS opportunities vendors still have available to tap into, many are expanding into areas that are not directly infrastructure-related, such as machine learning, she said.
There were no surprises in vendor placement this year, though Oracle and IBM were expected to put out stronger showings, according to Leong. "Both vendors to some degree have sort of scoped back their ambitions and then had more trouble delivering."
On the buyer side, the tendency to choose a cloud provider strategically and the prevalence of multicloud environments are the biggest influences on IaaS customers, according to Leong.