Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has closed the gap between itself Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure as the world’s preferred public cloud provider, according to Gartner.
Research by the analyst firm showed GCP now outranks the two global dominators in terms of technical capabilities leading to increased adoption by large enterprises.
Speaking during Gartner’s IT Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Summit in Sydney, senior director analyst Alan Waite noted that Google had previously treated cloud as a “side project” but was now making the enterprise market a big focus.
“They’re very serious about this market,” he said. “And Google has some fantastic security and their internal network has some fantastic technology in terms of connectivity. In the technicality aspect, they are better than AWS and Azure in some of the things they can do.”
“We’re seeing some big GCP adoption - though not in A/NZ - by some large organisations,” he added.
Referring to Gartner’s annual Cloud Wars: Comparing Major Cloud Platform Providers 2018 report, Waite said there was now “little between” the market leaders AWS and Azure on a technical front, but AWS tipped the scales by the sheer number of features it boasts.
“They have the broadest portfolio and in terms of scale if you look at the number of data centres, zones and core in their infrastructures, AWS has the highest,” he said. “AWS has been around longer so developers and business partners are familiar with AWS. It’s a vibrant ecosystem and marketplace.”
Speaking about Azure, Waite noted that the popularity of Office 365 gives it an advantage, with good access management and hybrid capabilities driving its adoption.
“I get people who say: ‘Well the Microsoft reps take me out for coffee. Amazon doesn’t’. [Microsoft] have that enterprise attitude over many years and those relationships, and that does count for a lot. Technically they’re very close.”
IBM and Oracle tail behind the top three players respectively, but look set to be superseded by Alibaba in Gartner’s upcoming report for 2019, Waite hinted.
The Chinese giant has not featured in previous reports, but is increasingly being adopted by international markets in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe - “places that don’t want US-based providers,” Waite said.
“Alibaba still have an issue in terms of geography,” he added. “They’re still very much China-based and only just starting to get English-language documentation. But they’re offering attractive pricing and some good capabilities.”
However, with each of the providers trying to distinguish themselves with their own unique tools and features, end-users are finding it increasingly difficult to manage multiple clouds.
“You probably cannot keep yourselves with one cloud provider,” said Waite. “But what’s the tool to manage all these clouds? It doesn’t exist. We call it a golden unicorn. The market is starting to improve. But we’re really starting to see the complexity of managing all these environments bite.”
When asked by ARN whether Google’s recently unveiled hybrid and multi-cloud manager Anthos could help manage this complexity, Waite said the direction was right but it was not the golden unicorn.
“Anthos, it’s great, but it’s for Kubernetes - a certain type of infrastructure,” he said. “It’s fine but doesn’t answer all your problems.”
However, Google Cloud’s decision to open itself up to other cloud providers is a step in the right direction, Waite added.
“It’s the right type of offering. If you look at the history of Amazon, and you talk about hybrid, their attitude is: ‘You shouldn't be doing that, you should be doing everything with us’. Google’s attitude is much better.
“AWS are starting to thaw on this. We’re seeing them improve in terms of hybrid and admitting there are other clouds out there.”