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Latest Gartner ranking: Who’s winning the cloud wars


AWS, Azure, Google: Best vs. ‘best for me’

One thing to consider is the scores themselves. Compare them to the Gartner ranking in 2015, and AWS went down four percentage points, from 96%. Microsoft gained one point, and Google gained three. But the feature development and progress in the cloud moves at breakneck speed, and the number of criteria items Gartner used to rate the providers increased to 234 in 2016 — up from 205 in 2015. So, AWS, Azure and Google were being measured by more yardsticks.

“They all have maintained, or gone up or gone down slightly, but they’re still in the same ballpark,” Khnaser said.

And then there are the services the providers offer and why customers choose them to be factored into the Gartner ranking. AWS offers “fantastic scale,” high availability, and a broad and growing set of features and services.

“For all intents and purposes, AWS created this segment, this market,” Khnaser said.

Meanwhile, companies that are heavily invested in Microsoft — “and pretty much we all are,” Khnaser said of the company whose Windows operating system runs on most desktops — are often drawn to Azure. For example, if they’re running Microsoft’s Hyper-V, which lets them spin up virtual machines, or its System Center, which helps administer servers and desktops, Azure is a good match.

As for Google Cloud Platform, the newcomer in the trio of assessed providers, “Google’s Google,” Khnaser said. The search engine giant has made a lot of improvements, hence its improved score over 2015. (In 2014, it wasn’t included in the Gartner ranking.)

Gartner clients that use Google love its storage capacity and expansive, powerful network. And they’re attracted to innovative technologies like containers, which can speed up programming, or Kubernetes, an open source automation system that manages them.

Another thing Google customers like is the sustained usage model, which governs how Google computing resources are priced.

“Customers tend to like the idea of not having to either go through negotiations or very in-depth calculations to figure out how much something is going to cost,” Khnaser said. “With the sustained usage model, the more that you use a particular system, the more discounts that you get. So, [it’s] simple for customers to understand.”


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