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Amazon's cloud reign may soon come to an end, says Gartner

Microsoft and Google stride up and to the right on Gartner's pricey gameboard

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The worshipers of Gartner's famed Magic Quadrant have shuffled forth from their back-office tomb clutching jeweled calculators and have proclaimed Amazon the One True Cloud, although they added that it now faces strong competition.

The workers of the analyst firm announced Amazon's dominance in a new "Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service," which was published on Wednesday.

This report showed that the e-tailer's Amazon Web Services unit maintained its grip on the market following last year's Magic Quadrant, though is now followed at a distance by Microsoft's Azure cloud and Google's Compute Engine, whereas before its closest competitor was uber-integrator CSC.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant ranks companies according to "completeness of vision" (x axis) and "ability to execute" (y axis). The goal of any company is to be as far up and to the right on the graph as possible and to avoid the depths of the lower left.

Reg readers may scoff at the quadrant, but it's the sort of piece of paper that winds up on the desks of pointy-haired bosses and informs buying decisions, so how it ranks companies has a direct correlation with the services that enterprises consume.

This year, as with last year, AWS is as far to the right and near the top of the top right square, joined by Microsoft significantly below and slightly to the left of it.

"Azure has been consistently mentioned as the number two vendor in client calls since last September," explained Gartner analyst Lydia Leong in an email to El Reg.

Google, which has released a set of services designed to compete with both Amazon's and Microsoft's clouds, has beamed into third place.

In the middle sit typical providers like IBM, CSC, CenturyLink, Terremark, Rackspace, VMware, and Virtustream.

The lower left contains GoGrid in dead last place, followed by Joyent, Dimension Data, Fujitsu, and HP. HP recently committed a billion dollars to upgrading its cloud efforts.

Though Amazon remains the leader, Gartner cautions in the report that: "AWS is beginning to face significant competition – from Microsoft in the traditional business market, and from Google in the cloud-native market. So far, it has responded aggressively to price drops by competitors on commodity resources. However, although it is continuously reducing its prices, it does not commodity-price services where it has superior capabilities. AWS currently has a multiyear competitive advantage, but is no longer the only fast-moving, innovative, global-class provider in the market."

In other words, the gap between AWS and others will shrink over time, especially if they continue to put pressure on it through lowering prices and adding new capabilities. ®

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