The new Magic Quadrant for Web Hosting and Hosted Cloud System Infrastructure Services (On Demand) has been published. (Gartner clients only, although I imagine public copies will become available soon as vendors buy reprints.) Inclusion criteria was set primarily by revenue; if you’re wondering why your favorite vendor wasn’t included, it was probably because they didn’t, at the January cut-off date, have a cloud compute service, or didn’t have enough revenue to meet the bar. Also, take note that this is direct services only (thus the somewhat convoluted construction of the title); it does not include vendors with enabling technology like Enomaly, or overlaid services like RightScale.
It marks the first time we’ve done a formal vendor rating of many of the cloud system infrastructure service providers. We do so in the context of the Web hosting market, though, which means that the providers are evaluated on the full breadth of the five most common hosting use cases that Gartner clients have. Self-managed hosting (including “virtual data center” hosting of the Amazon EC2, GoGrid, Terremark Enterprise Cloud, etc. sort) is just one of those use cases. (The primary cloud infrastructure use case not in this evaluation is batch-oriented processing, like scientific computing.)
We mingled Web hosting and cloud infrastructure on the same vendor rating because one of the primary use cases for cloud infrastructure is for the hosting of Web applications and content. For more details on this, see my blog post about how customers buy solutions to business needs, not technology. (You might also want to read my blog post on “enterprise class” cloud.)
We rated more than 60 individual factors for each vendor, spanning five use cases. The evaluation criteria note (Gartner clients only) gives an overview of the factors that we evaluate in the course of the MQ. The quantitative scores from the factors were rolled up into category scores, which in turn rolled up into overall vision and execution scores, which turn into the dot placement in the Quadrant. All the number crunching is done by software — analysts don’t get to arbitrarily move dots around.
To understand the Magic Quadrant methodology, I’d suggest you read the following:
- The official How Gartner Evaluates Vendors within a Market guide to Magic Quadrants
- My colleague Jim Holincheck’s blog post on Misunderstanding Magic Quadrants
- My blog post on How Not To Use a Magic Quadrant
- Analyst industry watcher SageCircle’s commentary
Some people might look at the vendors on this MQ and wonder why exciting new entrants aren’t highly rated on vision and/or execution. Simply put, many of these vendors might be superb at what they do, yet still not rate very highly in the overall market represented by the MQ, because they are good at just one of the five use cases encompassed by the MQ’s market definition, or even good at just one particular aspect of a single use case. This is not just a cloud-related rating; to excel in the market as a whole, one has to be able to offer a complete range of solutions.
Because there’s considerable interest in vendor selection for various use cases (including non-hosting use cases) that are unique to public cloud compute services, we’re also planning to publish some companion research, using a recently-introduced Gartner methodology called a Critical Capabilities note. These notes look at vendors in the context of a single product/service, broken down by use case. (Magic Quadrants, on the other hand, look at overall vendor positioning within an entire market.) The Critical Capabilities note solves one of the eternal dilemmas of looking at a MQ, which is trying to figure out which vendors are highly rated for the particular business need that you have, since, as I want to re-iterate again, a MQ niche player may be do the exact thing you need in a vastly more awesome fashion than a vendor rated a leader. Critical Capabilities notes break things down feature-by-feature.
In the meantime, for more on choosing a cloud infrastructure provider, Gartner clients should also look at some of my other notes:
- How to Select a Cloud Computing Infrastructure Provider
- Toolkit: Comparing Cloud Computing Infrastructure Providers
- Toolkit: Estimating the Cost of Cloud Infrastructure
For cloud infrastructure service providers: We may expand the number of vendors we evaluate for the Critical Capabilities note. If you’ve never briefed us before, we’d welcome you to do so now; schedule a briefing with myself, Ted Chamberlin, and Mike Spink (a brand-new colleague in Europe).