Top 15 List of Cloud Infrastructure Providers for 2013

Over the last year cloud infrastructure providers or IaaS aka infrastructure as a Service, has become popular topic of conversation among my customers and colleagues.  Last week, I was browsing through Gartners’ newest report on IaaS and was amazed on the number of Cloud Infrastructure Providers there are out there. Sure we know of the usual suspects like AWS, Rackspace, etc., but as you will see below there are several others worth looking at.

Recently speaking with an IT Director for a rather large enterprise, we began discussing the various Cloud Infrastructure Providers available.  I was able to name a handful, but found myself wondering if perhaps I was missing a few more. This led me to my quest to find an up to date list of Cloud Infrastructure providers better known as IaaS providers. I was fortunate to stumble across the Gartner Magic Quadrant for IaaS recently released in October 2012. The intention of this blog is not to evaluate each cloud infrastructure provider listed, (this will be my next blog) however a good starting point of reference for someone who is looking at this an option to moving their data center to a more cloud based approach. Before getting into the list, here is some basic information for both new and experienced IT professionals.

What is a Cloud Infrastructure Provider – Cloud IaaS

Cloud IaaS is computing resources, along with associated storage and network resources. These resources are offered to customers via self-service fashion in a highly-automated way. In IaaS, the provider manages the data center facilities, hardware and virtualization, but everything above the hypervisor layer — the OS, middleware and application — is managed by the customer. In some cases even this aspect can be an add-on managed service from the provider or another third party.

NOTE: This market is wholly separate and distinct from cloud Platform as a Service – PaaS and Software as a Service – SaaS.

Cloud IaaS is owned, built, and operated by a service provider. Cloud IaaS may be delivered on-premises within a your data center or hosted in the IaaS provider data center . It may be “public” (multi-tenant) or “private” (single-tenant), although, in practice, there is no consistency in the application of these labels, and most of these hosted offerings use some sort of shared resources in services labeled “private.”

What to look for in a Cloud Infrastructure Provider

IaaS providers that target enterprise and mid-market customers generally offer a high-quality service, with excellent availability, good performance, high security and good customer support.

What Type of Workloads Are Being Placed on Cloud IaaS?

There are 3 broad categories of customer requirement in cloud computing providers in cloud IaaS:

  • Hosting a single application, or a closely related group of applications
  • A Virtual Data Center (VDC) that will serve a broad range of divers workloads
  • Batch computing

Hosting is the most common need.There are many different use cases or examples of customers with hosting needs that can be fulfilled by IaaS. These are generally production applications, although there is some test and development as well. Some of these customers have mission-critical needs, while others do not.

Here is a list of examples: These examples were taken from IBM PRESS


Description and Examples

Key Quality-of-Service Metrics

 Server Centric

Web sites Freely available web sites for social networking, informational web sites large number of users Large amounts of storage, high network bandwidth,
Scientific computing Bioinformatics, atmospheric modeling, other numerical computations Computing capacity
Enterprise software Email servers, SAP, enterprise content management Security, high availability, customer support
Performance testing Simulation of large workloads to test the performance characteristics of software under development Computing capacity
Online financial services Online banking, insurance Security, high availability, Internet accessibility
E-commerce Retail shopping Variable computing load, especially at holiday times
Core financial services Banking and insurance systems Security, high availability
Storage and backup services General data storage and backup Large amounts of reliable storage

Client Centric

Productivity applications Users logging on interactively for email, word processing, and so on Network bandwidth and latency, data backup, security
Development and testing Software development of web applications with Rational Software Architect, Microsoft® Visual Studio, and so on User self-service, flexibility, rich set of infrastructure services
Graphics intensive Animation and visualization software applications Network bandwidth and latency, data backup
Rich Internet applications Web applications with a large amount of JavaScript

Mobile Centric

Mobile services Servers to support rich mobile applications High availability

The least common need, but one that nevertheless drives significant revenue for the small number of providers that service this portion of the market, is batch computing. For these customers, IaaS serves as a substitute for traditional high-performance computing or grid computing. Customer needs can include rendering, genetic sequencing, modeling and simulation, video encoding, numerical analysis and data analytics.

Customers with a broad range of unrelated workloads are less commonplace, but are growing in importance, particularly in the mid-market. This is where IaaS is slowly but steadily replacing or augmenting traditional data center infrastructure. The Virtual Data Center is typically used very similarly to the organization’s internal virtualization environment. This is used primarily for less mission-critical production applications, or test and development environments, However IaaS is increasingly being used to run more mission-critical applications.

List of Cloud Infrastructure Providers

The following list comes from the official Gartner Magic Quadrant for IaaS.

Gartner Magic Quadrant - Cloud Infrastructure Providers

Click on the list below to visit the respective website.

1.    Amazon Web Services

 2.    Bluelock

 3.    CSC

4.    Dell

5.    Dimension Data

6.    Fujitsu

7.    GoGrid

8.    Joyent

9.    OVH

10.  Rackspace

11.  Savvis

12.  SoftLayer

13.  Terremark

14.  Tier 3

15.  Virtustream

Gartner added the following vendors to their Magic Quadrant in October.

  • Dell
  • Dimension Data (replacing OpSource, which it acquired)
  • Fujitsu
  • OVH
  • Virtustream

NOTE: Several vendors were dropped from the Magic Quadrant because Gartner changed the inclusion criteria to limit the evaluation to the top 15 vendors by market share, rather than using a minimum amount of revenue. Thus the number of included vendors went from 20 to 15. All of the vendors dropped qualify for the Quadrant on all criteria except for market share. Based on this, they should still be considered in competitive evaluations. Here are the vendors who were dropped.

  • AT&T
  • Carpathia Hosting
  • Datapipe
  • IBM
  • iland
  • NaviSite
  • Tata Communications
  • Virtacore Systems

Stay tuned for my next blog which will focus on strengths and weaknesses of each cloud infrastructure provider discussed today.

Thank you.