Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure dominate the infrastructure-as-a-service field, according to Gartner, which released its IaaS Magic Quadrant.
However, Google Cloud is emerging as a key challenger.
Gartner's Magic Quadrant focuses specifically on infrastructure -- and not platform --or software-as-a-service. IaaS is defined as a standardized, automated service where storage, compute and networking are offered by a service provider on demand.
The two leaders aren't all that surprising. AWS, one of the few that outlines its operating results quarterly, has a bevy of enterprise customers and use cases. Gartner noted that AWS is "most commonly chosen for strategic, organization wide adoption." The knocks on AWS are that its services require expertise to adopt and its pricing structure can be complex.
Microsoft Azure appeals to multiple levels of customers with varying cloud maturity. According to Gartner, Azure is broad and can handle multiple workloads. Microsoft is also seen as more of a strategic enterprise cloud partner. Gartner knocks Azure for the service experience, support, documentation, and training. Microsoft has improved its service over the last year.
As for Google Cloud Platform, Gartner said the company is a distant third, but it's a good option for cloud-native companies. Gartner also said that Google's emphasis on portability and its innovation engine is critical. However, Google is often chosen as a secondary provider and an alternative to AWS, said Gartner. Google has been investing heavily in analytics and its ecosystem and those moves should pay off in the future.
On IBM, Gartner focused on the SoftLayer infrastructure, which is currently being reengineered. Gartner also noted that IBM hasn't improved SoftLayer's infrastructure since buying it in 2015. "The IBM Cloud experience is currently disjointed," said Gartner.
Another player worth watching is Alibaba Cloud, which was among the best of the rest in IaaS. Gartner sees Alibaba Cloud as a key way to play in China and its current offering show a lot of potential in the future, said Gartner. Outside of China, however, Alibaba Cloud has a limited track record.