Research and analyst firm Gartner named Microsoft Azure as a leader in the Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Magic Quadrant. Placing Azure in the leaders quadrant confirms Gartner’s belief in the platform’s completeness of vision and ability to execute in the IaaS market, citing the following strengths:
Microsoft Azure encompasses integrated IaaS and PaaS components that operate and feel like a unified whole. Microsoft has been rapidly rolling out new features and services, including differentiated capabilities. It has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading stand-alone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center), development tools (including Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server [TFS]), middleware and applications, as well as Microsoft’s SaaS offerings. Microsoft is also becoming more open and less reliant upon its Windows franchise, and Azure’s support for Linux and other open-source technologies is improving quickly.
Microsoft’s brand, existing customer relationships, history of running global-class consumer internet properties, deep investments in engineering and innovative roadmap have enabled it to rapidly attain the status of strategic cloud IaaS provider. Microsoft is aggressively pushing Azure into its customer base, and discounting to promote adoption. Azure is growing quickly, and is in second place for market share. Microsoft has pledged to maintain AWS-comparable basic cloud IaaS pricing for the general public; and, on a practical level, customers with Microsoft Enterprise Agreement discounts obtain a price/performance ratio that is comparable to AWS. Although Azure is neither as feature-rich nor mature as AWS, many organizations can now consider it “good enough,” and base their vendor decision on factors other than technical capabilities.
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Gartner mentioned Azure’s weaknesses as incomplete implementations of some functionality and “disorganized, incomplete, and sometimes out-of-date documentation, as well as a support organization that is not always capable of solving complex implementation challenges, a limited number of Azure experts outside of Microsoft (whether consultants or potential employees) and few options for Azure training.” In addition, the firm mentioned a lack of maturity in Azure’s ecosystem.
Microsoft pointed out in a blog post that they are now the only vendor recognized as a leader across Magic Quadrants for IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS for key enterprise cloud workloads.
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