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AWS, Azure Rank High in IaaS Perception Survey

A recent report by 451 Research paints a rosy picture of the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market, at least when it comes to how enterprises perceive vendors' abilities to deliver on their promises.

As part of a wide-reaching survey of 50,000 senior IT executives from enterprises of all sizes, 451 Research asked participants to score various IaaS providers based on how well their promises (defined by the firm as their "attributes prior to purchase") match their post-implementation reality (or "fulfillment"). A .PDF summary of the survey's findings is available here.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) led the field in both promise and fulfillment scores, earning 76 and 77, respectively. That's higher than the overall average of 72 for both categories (see the infograph below).

The high marks are not surprising, given that AWS is the IaaS platform of choice among the majority of respondents (55.8 percent). AWS was also the named the most important IaaS provider by 39 percent. Respondents ranked AWS highest in multiple areas, including "breadth of services/features, brand/reputation, technical expertise and innovation," the report said.

On the other hand, AWS fell behind in other categories such as "value for money/cost," for which Google Cloud Platform earned the highest score; and "understands my business," in which AWS trailed both IBM/SoftLayer and Microsoft Azure.

[Click on image for larger view.] Source: 451 Research

Azure, in particular, was singled out by the researchers as being a "formidable challenger" to AWS, reinforcing findings from other surveys. About 35 percent of respondents called Azure their most important IaaS provider, just four percentage points behind AWS and 15 percentage points higher than last year's results. Azure, like AWS, exceeded the average scores for promise and fulfillment, earning 74 and 73, respectively.

According to 451 Research, Microsoft is on its way to closing both the customer-perception and market-adoption gaps with AWS. For instance, Azure is the leading IaaS platform in Europe, according to 451 Research, which pegged Azure's market share at 43.7 percent compared to AWS' 32 percent. The researchers chalked that up to "Microsoft's efforts to address European customers' data sovereignty concerns."

The findings come at a critical time for Microsoft, which is readying its new Azure Stack offering for release later this year. Azure Stack is designed to let organizations run the Azure public cloud in private datacenters. "It will be interesting to assess the impact of Azure Stack (scheduled for launch by mid-2017) on Microsoft's overall positioning and individual attribute ratings for multi-cloud/hybrid support, as well as technical expertise and innovation," said Melanie Posey, research vice president at 451 Research, in a prepared statement.

Closely trailing AWS and Azure in the survey were Google Cloud Platform (with a promise score of 73 and a fulfillment score of 74) and IBM/SoftLayer (72 for promise and 70 for fulfillment). Overall, survey respondents gave IaaS providers high marks in the areas of "uptime/performance, security and technical expertise," but less-than-stellar scores when it came to "understanding business requirements, multi-cloud/hybrid cloud support and enterprise-level customer support," the researchers said.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.

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