Duh, Amazon tops Gartner’s cloud Magic Quadrant, but number two may surprise you

Normally, I don’t pay too much attention to rankings of analyst firms, but this year’s Gartner(s it) “Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service” definitely caught my eye.
Amazon Web Services (S amzn), no shocker here, ranked highest both in terms “ability to execute” and “completeness of visionĀ — the two main criteria of the report. But depending on how you slice the metrics either CSC, the big IT services provider or Microsoft(s msft), which has been spending heavily to build up Windows Azure as an IaaS, came in second. Also not surprising was that Rackspace (s rax), the self-proclaimed king of OpenStack, did well. But there were some smaller players that also got kudos.
Here are my top takeaways after glancing through the summary.

  • CSC is a big winner because “unlike other traditional data center outsourcers, CSC has fully embraced the highly standardized, highly automated cloud model, successfully blending the benefits of a true cloud service into an enterprise-ready offering.”
  • Tier 3 was praised for offering “an excellent, highly differentiated set of features on a well-engineered platform with an easy-to-use self-service portal. It is one of the few services with both cloud-native capabilities that are attractive to developers and the governance and management features needed by large enterprises.”
  • Joyent got props forĀ its “unique vision for cloud IaaS and is exceptionally innovative from a technology perspective. It is developing an integrated technology stack and its infrastructure offerings verge into the platform space. It is making deep investments in fundamental technologies, including its own SmartOS operating system, based on Illumos Solaris and its x86 hypervisor.”
  • IBM was lauded for its breadth of vision spanning private and public clouds at both system and application layers, but it ranked poorly. It was dinged for a feature set that lags that of its competitors. On the bright side, it completed its $2 billion acquisition of Softlayer which, Gartner called a “thought leader in automated, highly standardized infrastructure services, provisioned on demand.”