Last year, Gartner introduced the “Magic Quadrant” and “Critical Capabilities” documents for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services”, or “CIPS”. This was the evolution of the widely read MQ for IaaS and featured the addition of such topics as PaaS services, Distributed Cloud, and Edge Computing in addition to the original IaaS. The change was made to reflect market realities, and quite frankly, how our clients actually bought and consumed such services. While Gartner publishes a number of MQs pertaining to cloud-based offerings across technology and industry lenses, the CIPS MQ evaluates the hyperscale providers themselves on their fundamental offerings. I am happy to report that the CIPS Magic Quadrant (led by Raj Bala) and CIPS Critical Capabilities (led by Dennis Smith) documents for 2021 have been published.
What’s New? It is probably no surprise that Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure continue to lead the pack in both (scientifically and mathematically derived) axes of the quadrant, namely the “Completeness of Vision” and “Ability to Execute”. AWS has led the pack every year that the MQ has been researched, and Microsoft’s ascendancy to cohabit the leader’s quadrant has reflected Azure’s continued acceptance by enterprise buyers. Of interest however is the continued progression of “the rest”, providers such as Google, Alibaba, Oracle and IBM, who continue to evolve and improve their offerings and ecosystems. While the gap between AWS and the others is still substantial, it is shrinking. In particular, Google now occupies the “leaders” quadrant as well, spurred on by revenue growth, enterprise acceptance, and improvements in its pace of innovative deliverables.
How Should You Use These Documents? One point to make is that Maqic Quadrants are descriptive snapshots (as well as an interactive tool) of a market and its participants across a wide variety of metrics, but they are not intended as a product feature assessment or the sole decision model to purchase a product. For example, vendors in quadrants other than the “leaders” quadrant may be the perfect fit for an enterprise buyer but were placed elsewhere perhaps based on metrics totally inconsequential to the buyer. The interactive nature of the MQ, introduced in the recent past, allow the reader to adjust the weightings of various criteria to create your own “custom” MQ more closely tuned to your specific needs. Lastly, the accompanying “Critical Capabilities” document is based on many of the same quantitative research data, but turns the focus to each vendors ability to fulfill across a number of specific use cases, further allowing evaluation of vendor offerings based on situationally specific needs. I think you’ll find both documents a treasure trove of useful information to those investigating cloud infrastructure and the various vendor offerings.