Gartner: Companies should be 'extremely cautious' when selecting IaaS vendors

Companies planning a shift to cloud infrastructure should be extremely cautious in their vendor selection process, due to a shifting marketplace, according to Gartner.

Lynda Leong, Gartner VP and cloud services analyst, said the market for cloud-infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is in a state of upheaval, as service providers are forced to rethink current offerings and strategies due to "brutal competitive dynamics".

Speaking at the Gartner Infrastructure, Operations & Data Centre Summit in Sydney this week, Leong said the competitive landscape for cloud IaaS is shifting, with few providers that have the financial resources to invest in being broadly competitive in the market.

"We urge buyers to be extremely cautious when selecting providers; ask specific and detailed questions about the provider's roadmap for the service, and seek contractual commitments that do not permit the provider to modify substantially or to discontinue the offering without at least 12 months' notice," she said.

Market share has continued to become more heavily concentrated, even while the market has grown dramatically, with many vendors failing to gain enough traction.

While there are many cloud providers, the market is dominated by only a few global providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine.

Gartner said some providers intend to launch new cloud IaaS platforms, make substantial changes to their current platform or move to providing managed services. Others intend to discontinue or significantly reduce their investment in their cloud IaaS offerings.

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In Australia, organisations will spend $341.7 million on IaaS in 2015, up 14.7 per cent from last year, according to Gartner's latest forecast. The analyst firm's 2015 CIO Survey also found the absolute growth of public cloud IaaS workloads last year surpassed the growth of any and all on-premises workloads.

"Cloud IaaS is not a commodity. Providers vary significantly in their features, performance, cost and business terms," said Leong.

"Although in theory, cloud IaaS has very little lock-in, in truth, cloud IaaS is not merely a matter of hardware rental, but an entire data centre ecosystem as a service.

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"The more you use its management capabilities, the more value you will receive from the offering, but the more you will be tied to that particular service offering."

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This story, "Gartner: Companies should be 'extremely cautious' when selecting IaaS vendors" was originally published by CIO Australia.

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