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Google Cloud Platform breaks into leader category in Gartner's Magic Quadrant

Gartner narrowed the infrastructure-as-a-service field dramatically for its 2018 version of the Magic Quadrant. AWS and Microsoft Azure still lead, but Google is making a move.

Google Cloud Platform has made Gartner's cut to be seen as a leader in infrastructure as a service in the research firm's Magic Quadrant.

In the 2018 Magic Quadrant for infrastructure as a service, Gartner narrowed the field dramatically to six vendors: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, Alibaba Cloud, Oracle and IBM.

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The 2017 version featured a bevy of other players such as NTT Communications, Rackspace and Virtustream. Gartner's 2017 Magic Quadrant put Google just below the leader quadrant. Overall, Gartner cut 14 vendors from Magic Quadrant consideration. The research firm said:

This year, we chose more stringent inclusion criteria, which had the effect of only including global vendors that currently have hyperscale integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings, or that are currently developing those offerings. These changes reflect Gartner's belief that customer evaluations are currently primarily focused on vendors for strategic adoption across a broad range of use cases.

Gartner's two top leaders--AWS and Microsoft--didn't change for 2018, but the research firm validated what CIOs have been saying about Google Cloud Platform to create a big three in IaaS. CIOs have noted that Google is a viable cloud option and can differentiate with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In its report, Gartner noted that Google customers were making bets on applications using BigQuery and that analytics and machine learning were selling points. The big knock on Google was that its biggest discounts are only on one-year contracts. As a result, buyers need to watch price increases. Other concerns revolved around maturity of the partner and independent software vendor ecosystems.

While Google made a move in Gartner's rankings there wasn't much indication that the research firm was souring on AWS or Microsoft. AWS was viewed as the most mature enterprise provider, but companies needed expertise to implement and it is difficult to keep up with new services.

As for Microsoft, Gartner praised Azure's ability to integrate with an ecosystem and offering capabilities that were increasingly open to Linux and other open source tools.

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