Gartner’s cloud scorecard reveals new findings: Page 2 of 2


Chinese challenger


Gartner’s cloud scorecard reveals new findings: Page 2 of 2


One name that wasn’t on the Gartner list two years ago is Alibaba Cloud. Despite being a relative newcomer and with Gartner’s redefinition of cloud providers, the Hangzhou, China-based firm got onto this year’s list and came in at a respectable position, having been adjudged to score high marks on its ability to execute on Gartner’s scale.

Having cut its teeth primarily serving the China market since 2009 as Aliyun, the renamed entity now claims to operate 18 data centre regions and 42 availability zones around the globe. The company is the only one amongst the other hyperscale providers that has a data centre in Malaysia. Alibaba also recently opened an office here in Kuala Lumpur.

Backed by its parent company Alibaba Group, which runs the largest e-commerce company in China, Alibaba cloud has an extensive set of public cloud integrated IaaS and PaaS offerings, comparable to the top three hyperscale providers.

Gartner said Alibaba Group has the “financial wherewithal to continue investing in global expansion via new regions, international-specific engineering efforts, and regional sales, support, and marketing for Alibaba Cloud.”

Besides this, Alibaba has built up good partnerships and begun building a global ecosystem for its international offerings, it added.

But its Achilles heel really is its inexperience in the international arena, having only committed outside China in 2016. Because of this, it’s not tried and tested and has a limited track record, Gartner noted.

“Alibaba Cloud has substantial challenges that it must overcome before it can translate its success in China to markets outside of its home territory… though having expanded rapidly outside of China, the company does not have substantial mind share with buyers in most markets, as it is still building the required local talent, industry expertise and go-to-market capabilities,” the report noted.

In conclusion

If there is one key takeaway from the Gartner scorecard, it is that the public cloud computing market is growing by leaps and bounds. Only four years ago, when I began covering this space closely, life wasn’t like that.

Back then, companies, especially large, established companies were still wary of the cloud. On the off chance, startups or smaller companies were the ones who would try the cloud. There were some larger ones who were bolder than others but by and large, enterprises were wary of the cloud.

Over the years, hyperscale providers such as AWS, Microsoft and Google have all done their part in promoting the cloud as a viable model for both large and small enterprises.

As a measure of that growth, Synergy’s Dinsdale noted that spending on cloud infrastructure services jumped 51% from the first quarter of 2017, comfortably beating the growth rates achieved in the previous five quarters.

“The Q1 growth rate of 51% compares with a full-year 2017 growth rate of 44% and a 2016 growth rate of 50%. Public IaaS and PaaS services account for the bulk of the market and those grew by 56% in Q1.

“Cloud growth in the last two quarters really has been quite exceptional,” he said. “The growth rate jumped by three percentage points in Q4 and by another five in Q1. That is good news for the leading cloud providers, whose historically high levels of capex are helping to ensure that they are the main beneficiaries of that exceptional market growth.”

But growth aside, Gartner believes the buying patterns of customers are also shifting and that customer expectations are fluid at the moment. It believes that customers aren’t just getting into the cloud for purely cost advantage or agility purposes any longer.

Customers demand market-leading technical capabilities — depth and breadth of features, along with high availability, performance and security, it said.

“They expect not only hardware infrastructure features, but also management features, developer services and cloud software infrastructure services, including fully integrated PaaS capabilities.

“They want a cloud provider to be able to support enterprises that have mission-critical workloads, large-scale migrations to the cloud, and digital transformation initiatives.”


Related Stories:

AWS seeks to extend its lead amidst competition gains

Analysis: How far has Google Cloud come?

Alibaba Cloud trains its sights on Southeast Asia


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