Horses for Sources research lists IBM, AWS, HP as top IaaS players

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

Research bods Horses for Sources (HfS) have put 10 companies in its winner’s circle for infrastructure as a service – but Microsoft and Google are nowhere to be seen.

The report, compiled by HfS analyst Dr Thomas Mendel, is the latest in a flurry of research articles prognosticating on the market leaders for IaaS, hot on the heels of the ‘race to the bottom’ for Amazon, Google and Microsoft in storage pricing. Yet only AWS made the winner’s circle, with Microsoft in the lesser ‘high performers’ category and Google trailing behind.

In the same week that IDC analyst David Tapper found that IBM was the most lucrative IaaS vendor for US enterprise buyers, IBM has also come up trumps here in terms of execution.

Perhaps surprisingly several companies better IBM in terms of innovation, considering the amount of investment Big Blue puts into its patents arm. Cisco was considered the most innovative vendor, ahead of AWS, HP and Accenture.

The top 10 vendors were Accenture, AWS, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, NTT Group, Tech Mahindra and Wipro.

Another company in the chart but not threatening the winner’s circle was Rackspace, whose managed services business model is starkly – almost antagonistically – in contrast with the price slashing of their competitors. 

Having posted a 16% year on year increase in net revenue through Q114 figures released earlier this week, Rackspace’s execs came out fighting at the critics. Chief technical officer John Engates wrote on the company blog that the strategy of Amazon, Microsoft and Google was “dangerous and expensive.”

In his evaluation of the report, written on the HfS blog, Dr Mendel noted that for the enterprise market the business process was vital, not the method the company delivers its service.

“Internal IT needs to understand that there is no competition between IaaS, hybrid and private cloud,” he wrote. “Instead, all three form alternatives to support components of a business process, whereas one may be more suitable than others for a given problem.”

Dr Mendel added that in five years time, he expects that vendors would be forced to convert most of their traditional outsourcing to hybrid cloud options. It’s a similar view to the one IDC analyst Tapper provided CloudTech with earlier this week, who noted that the tide will turn towards pure cloud players, but it will take several years to implement.

Dr Mendel also noted that “traditional outsource[r]s that are capable of transferring their offerings to the hybrid cloud world will continue to prosper,” adding that it would be negligible Microsoft and Google would gain ground in cloud infrastructure services. Synergy Research, which covers IaaS extensively, released its latest update last week and found that while Amazon was still way out in front in terms of revenue, Microsoft had made gains on AWS to at least earn the second spot outright.

HfS prides itself on its research methods, claiming their system is unique in its assessment of service providers that “isn’t reliant on the arbitrary viewpoint of a single analyst.” The model of innovation versus execution, while different, is reminiscent of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant formula.

The top 10 vendors, in alphabetical order, were Accenture, AWS, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, NTT Group, Tech Mahindra and Wipro. But what do you make of these results? Take a look at the full table and report (subscribers only) here.

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