Leadership Compass

Infrastructure as a Service – Global Providers

The KuppingerCole Leadership Compass provides an overview of vendors and their product or service offerings in a certain market segment. This Leadership Compass focusses on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from Cloud Service providers (CSP) with a global presence and with a specific focus on security and compliance.

Mike Small

sm@kuppingercole.com

1 Introduction

The KuppingerCole Leadership Compass provides an overview of vendors and their product or service offerings in a certain market segment. This Leadership Compass focusses on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from Cloud Service providers (CSP) with a global presence. It considers these services in the context of the hybrid, on premises and multi-cloud, IT services delivery model commonly now found in enterprises.

IaaS provides basic computing resources that the customer can use over a network to run software and to store data. There are several different use cases for IaaS that range from a hosting IT services and disaster recovery through the development and deployment of new or modernized applications. Increasingly cloud services are used in conjunction with on premises IT in a Hybrid IT service delivery model. Emerging use cases include AI and Machine Learning as well as the exploitation and management of IoT at scale. Each of these use cases have differing priorities of needs.

The responsibility for security and compliance in the use of cloud services is shared between the customer and the cloud service provider (CSP). The customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but is responsible for managing the OS and applications. The customer also remains responsible for compliance with laws and regulations governing the processing of data. The CSP is responsible for the management, security and compliance of the infrastructure providing the service.

This Leadership Compass report covers IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) that support common uses cases and the Hybrid IT environment that is typically found in organizations on a global scale. It has a specific focus on security and compliance aspects from a European perspective.

1.1 Market Segment

The market segments for IaaS services are defined by the scale of operation and the richness of the service provided. There are several well-known global IaaS service providers. In the past, these global providers have been mostly based in the USA. However, there are now new entrants in this field based in other parts of the world. The services provided by the global CSPs are now being complemented by CSPs that provide more specialized offerings. These may be based on geographic locality, regulatory compliance or the level of professional services and service management that are included.

This leadership compass focusses on those IaaS services that cover the needs described above and that are delivered on a global scale. In this context, global scale means that the service is provided from and is available in multiple geopolitical regions including the EU/EEA.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides basic computing resources that the customer can use to run software (both operating systems and applications) and to store data. IaaS allows the customer to transfer an existing workload to the cloud with minimal if any change needed. The customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but remains responsible for managing the OS and applications.

Increasingly IaaS providers offer extensions beyond this basic functionality to support several different use cases. To support these, service offerings now include pre-packaged services for middleware, databases and development tools. These common use cases include:

  • DevOps - This is the most common starting point for cloud service usage as part of a digital transformation strategy. The service is used for the development and testing of new or updated applications which may then be deployed using the service.
  • External Facing Applications – that are key to the digitalization of businesses. The use of cloud removes the need for capital expenditure and can support the fluctuations in demand. It can also provide a higher level of availability and improved response times where services are consumed across multiple geographies.
  • Hybrid Workloads and Data - where the objective is to achieve some of the benefits provided by the cloud (e.g. scalability, availability or cost) while retaining control over certain security or compliance related aspects. This use case requires secure and performant connectivity and common management.
  • Analytics and Machine Learning - the amount of data generated through social media, marketing tools, large scale networks of sensors typical of IoT, manufacturing and other processes can exceed the practical capacity of on-premises IT. The cloud provides a practical solution to provide data storage capacity and high computing power at a reasonable cost to analyse and exploit this data.
  • Disaster Recovery - here the cloud service forms an important part of the organizational business continuity plan. Its use may range from providing a back-up of business-critical data, through to cold or hot standby services enabling continuous operation of business-critical applications.

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