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Cloud Magic Quadrant – Three Thoughts from the Front

Gartner have published their latest Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service. There’s loads of good material to chew through (> 16,500 words worth). But how does the analysts’ viewpoint chime with DMW’s day-in-day-out experience leading and advising major organisations on their cloud transformation journeys?

AWS and Azure out in front

Gartner’s view that “the global market remains consolidated around two clear leaders” reflects reality. AWS and Azure have cemented themselves as the CIO’s go-to options when thinking about a journey to cloud, and where organisations have a public cloud estate it is still most likely to be one of these two. Inclusion of other vendors in procurement processes can sometimes feel like an exercise in trying to achieve the perception of choice, without adding value to the process. We even see some vendor reticence in wanting certain types of business – perhaps explaining why Google (the only other player in the top-right) have been more successful targeting companies who are embracing an ambitious, data-first transformation.

Lift-and-shift != success

AWS and Azure have been very successful in enabling straight migration of workloads, where Google have historically put a stronger emphasis on re-architecture. As impartial advisors, we recommend resisting the siren song of functionality like AWS Server Migration Service, except in cases where speed of data centre exit trumps all other considerations. Gartner’s position is that it is “more efficient to optimise during […] migration rather than afterward”. We would go further: leaving it till afterwards probably means optimisation will never happen. And if it does, the associated cost and risk will mean you need considerable bravery (let alone expertise).

Who manages the managed service providers?

“My public cloud isn’t the promised land I was hoping for!” or worse “Nothing has really changed at all!”. Sound familiar? Cloud offerings from global MSPs can be no more than a standardised hosted offering, operated by large teams, rebadged as ‘cloud-native’. Niche DevOps vendors struggle to steer large, complex organisations away from old habits with heavyweight governance and manual process. It is easy to end up losing out on agility, innovation and cost-savings – from automation tools like Terraform, serverless architectures and elastic containerisation. Gartner’s view is that “managed and professional services greatly increase the likelihood of a successful cloud IaaS implementation”. Our view is that this is only the case when they are well managed.

At DMW we have managed over £1bn of cloud projects in the last 3 years across multiple sectors. We work with you to make your cloud transformation successful – whether it’s selecting the right public cloud vendor(s), working out what your approach to cloud migration should look like, or getting the best possible cloud service from your providers.