Researcher Says IaaS Cloud Industry in ‘State of Upheaval’ With cloud computing overtaking on-premises datacenters, the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) arena dominated by Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) is in a state of upheaval, according to research firm Gartner Inc., as major industry players shake themselves out. The company released a news release regarding a presentation by Lydia Leong, an analyst, at a Sydney conference. “Many service providers have changed their strategies after not gaining enough market traction,” it said. Although AWS is the market leader, it isn’t changing its strategy due to a lackluster traction. It is among the few vendors that is grabbing more and larger shares of the IaaS pie which is growing at a rate of 33 percent. Gartner stated that market share has remained more concentrated even though the market has grown rapidly. “Gartner’s new Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Services, Worldwide” featured 15 providers. However, the market is dominated only by a few global providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine. These three providers accounted for the majority of workloads that were running in public cloud IaaS during 2015. During her Sydney presentation, Leong discussed the state of IaaS. Leong stated that “the sky is not falling” — customers are gaining great value from cloud IaaS — but that the competitive landscape is changing. “Very few providers have the financial resources necessary to be competitive in the cloud IaaS marketplace. Gartner stated that 2014 was a year for reckoning in the industry. For the first time in history, workloads in IaaS public cloud exceeded workloads on-premises. Some vendors are reconsidering their strategies after failing to compete with the top players, dominated by AWS and Microsoft Azure. Some vendors are going to launch new IaaS platforms, others will substantially change their model, others will only provide managed services on top cloud platforms, while some will reduce their IaaS initiatives, while some are completely eliminating or replacing their cloud offerings. Leong stated that buyers should be cautious when choosing providers. Ask specific questions about the provider’s roadmap for the service and seek contractual commitments that don’t allow the provider to change substantially or discontinue the offering without at most 12 months notice. Gartner stated that cloud computing has seen a rapid rise in popularity since its inception, which was less than ten years ago. It is now used for workloads that can be hosted on virtualized servers based upon x86 architecture. It listed the following most popular use cases:

  • Environments for development and testing.
  • High-performance computing and batch process.
  • Internet-facing Web sites or Web applications
  • Nonmission-critical internal business apps (and, increasingly mission-critical business apps).

Leong stated that “Cloud IaaS is now able to run most workloads. However, not all providers can run every type well.” Cloud IaaS is not a commodity. Providers can vary in their features, performance and cost, as well as their business terms. Although cloud IaaS may seem like it has little lock-in, the truth is that cloud IaaS does not just offer hardware rental but also a whole datacenter ecosystem as a service. You will get more value from the offering if you use its management capabilities. However, you will be more tied to that particular service offering.