At this point, it’s no secret that Microsoft has been gaining some ground on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the public cloud. But new survey data from 451 Research suggests that both Google and IBM are picking up momentum as well.
The 451 Research survey of 700 IT professionals finds that AWS remains top dog in the public cloud, with 56 percent of respondents relying on AWS for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). But AWS is starting to fall behind in two important categories.When asked to identify the cloud service provider (CSP) that provides the best value for the money/cost, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) was ranked highest. When ranking CSPs in terms of understanding their business, respondents ranked both IBM and Microsoft higher than AWS.
More importantly from the perspective of managed service providers, all the CSPs were generally ranked low on service-delivery factors such as understanding business requirements, multi-cloud/hybrid cloud support, and enterprise-level customer support. Not only does that suggest there’s an opportunity for MSPs to unify the management of public and private clouds, it also indicates that despite making investments in managed services of their own, CSPs are challenged when it comes to understanding customer requirements.
Google gets aggressive
Overall, AWS was identified by 39 percent of respondents as their most important IaaS provider, with Microsoft coming in a close second at 35 percent. The report also notes that both Microsoft and GCP received slightly above-average scores for overall promise and fulfillment, and GCP also received strong marks for service reliability. Google has been especially aggressive in terms of making its service available on a per minute basis rather than requiring customers to commit to a full hour of usage that winds up wasting money when some workloads only need to run for a few minutes. In fact, Google claims to be 60 percent less costly on average than rival cloud platforms.
As aggressive as Google is being, however, nothing suggests there is any wholesale movement away from AWS. Many IT organizations may use AWS to develop an application and then deploy it elsewhere. In fact, the 451 Research notes that only 22 percent of the respondents said their organization has implemented a cloud-first approach to IT. By and large, IT organizations are evaluating each CSP on a per-application-workload basis. However, once a provider is selected they are not likely to move application workloads between CSPs.
The future of hybrid cloud computing
As for hybrid cloud computing, many IT organizations recognize this to be their ultimate end state. But very few of them can meaningfully integrate on-premise and public cloud deployments much less weave together multiple public clouds. The result is applications running across isolated stacks of multi-cloud services, which in practice doesn’t wind up being much different than deploying applications inside a data center on different stacks of Linux and Windows servers.
The good news is now it’s only a matter of time before organizations look to weave together various clouds, and therein lies the next big opportunity for MSPs. Neither AWS, Microsoft, Google, or any other CSP has a vested interest in that level of service interoperability. In fact, the only organizations with enough skills and resources to tap into the potential of hybrid cloud computing spanning multiple CSPs will be third-party MSPs. That opportunity, of course, has been a long time in coming. But as technologies such as software-defined networking (SDNs) and microservices based on containers continue to mature, hybrid cloud computing will soon be the next big thing.