Analysis of 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Worldwide Public Cloud Storage Services

Drew Bixby
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Worldwide Public Cloud Storage Services


The Magic Quadrant for Worldwide Public Cloud Storage Services

This article sheds light on the Gartner Magic Quadrant Analysis for major public cloud storage service providers worldwide and helps in understanding where each player stands as of today. For starters, public cloud storage service providers are those that offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). The services provided by these vendors have a variety of features that include on-demand scaling of storage capacity, self-provisioning, and flexible billing among others. However, as per the study this year, consumers need to be wary of the fact that the public cloud storage space is undergoing a metamorphosis, and it is being assumed that at least a quarter of the players that are analyzed in this article would exit the cloud storage business by 2019.

The Gartner magic quadrant illustrates the four quadrants namely leaders, challengers, visionaries and niche players. It is evident that Amazon Web Services is a clear winner followed by Microsoft which make up the leaders quadrant. It is interesting to note that no other provider stands a competitor to these two players. Google is the sole visionary among the analyzed providers with a completeness of vision, and it exhibits tremendous ability to execute. The niche players include IBM (SoftLayer), Rackspace, Alibaba, Oracle, and AT&T among others.

The revenue generated by these leaders compared with the other players elucidates the range of competition that exists and also shows why Amazon Web Services and Google are the clear leaders in this segment. The public cloud revenue of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft combined stood at $10.7 billion over the last 12 months. This figure dwarfs the competition by a large margin. Among the niche players, CRM’s revenue is the highest that stood at $1.1 billion which is only a fraction of Amazon Web Services’ $8.9 billion for the same period.


Read our analysis of 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Worldwide Public Cloud Storage Services


However, there is an interesting aspect among the leaders. The competition among the leaders is also completely one-sided with Amazon Web Services winning the race hands down. Amazon Web Services garnered a total revenue of $8.9 billion while Microsoft could only manage $1.8 billion and Google, a much lesser figure of $0.8 billion. Although Microsoft has a multi-billion dollar cloud-based software services and Google too doesn’t disclose the share of its cloud services business, Amazon Web Services is a clear winner among the leaders. The early mover advantage coupled with its stupendous 72% Y-o-Y growth is the major driving force behind the company’s success in public cloud space.

We will now compare and contrast each of the service providers’ strengths and weaknesses. The analysis is primarily based on two key parameters that include the ability to execute and completeness of vision. The parameters taken into consideration for evaluating the completeness of vision include Sales Strategy, product strategy, business model, marketing strategy, innovation, industry strategy, understanding of the market, industry strategy and geographic strategy. The ability to execute the strategy is also of prime importance and the parameters assessed to evaluate the capabilities of the service provider to execute its strategy include operations, overall viability, market responsiveness, market record, sales execution and pricing, customer experience and more importantly the product itself.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The storage services offered by the company include Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3; multiple tiers of object storage), Amazon Glacier (archival object storage), Amazon Elastic File System (EFS; file storage currently in preview) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS; block storage).

AWS is the leading player with the unmatched customer base and a wide range of offerings. The amount of data stored by AWS is 1.6 times more than all the object storage services described in the magic quadrant combined. The knowledge and insight of how customers use public cloud services is the major differentiating factor that separates AWS from the rest. This deep knowledge about the customer preferences has helped the company to build and tailor solutions that suit the individual requirement of customers.


  • The sheer size of the public cloud storage services dwarfs all the other competitors, thus providing the company with superior operational capabilities despite the fact that it may be an expensive option.
  • The storage services offered by AWS are perfectly in sync with each other. Its other services that include Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Lambda among other also deliver superior performance. These solutions offer storage, security, networking and computing capabilities and are therefore sought by the customers.
  • It also has the most exhaustive public cloud services that include an object, block and file interfaces that are designed to match all sorts of workloads ranging from low-cost, low-performance to high-performance workloads and everything in between.


  • Data retrieval from the huge chunk of its storage devices in a short duration can be a challenge and also attracts higher retrieval fees. Additionally, the consumer has to bear higher bandwidth charges for exporting data using Snowball although the customer doesn’t use the public network.
  • AWS needs to improve its capabilities to ensure that the customer can efficiently use their services. Despite the fact that the services provided by AWS are flexible and agile, the customers often end up paying more for over-provisioning block and compute storage resources that are often underutilized.
  • Another important aspect is that the pricing for several AWS products is complex and it’s tough to comprehend.


The key storage services offered by the service provider include cloud block storage and cloud files. Among the niche players, Rackspace is a novel servicer with lots of promise. Over the past couple of years, the company has been striving to offer services to organizations that are searching for managed hosting on the cloud. The company continues to offer OpenStack-based cloud environment but has also started offering managed services for Azure, AWS, and several other RedHat OpenStack implementations.


  • The open-source based offerings allow the enterprise IT and technology organizations to create an interoperable hybrid cloud that better suits their requirements
  • The company also has an excellent customer service that offers support in various languages such as Portuguese, English, Mandarin, and Spanish.
  • Organizations also benefit from Rackspace’s managed services, professional services, and implementation offerings not only across its own cloud but also across third-party providers such as Microsoft and AWS


  • The amount of data stored by the provider in comparison to hyper-scale competitors is an issue.
  • The company’s native support for third-party offerings casts doubt over its own capabilities. The company hasn’t announced any major improvements or new features in the last 12 months which further deepens the lack of trust among the consumers
  • The company neither provides encryption keys for data at rest nor provides native abilities to replicate the data across various regions.

To summarize in a nutshell, there are several service providers in the public cloud storage market and each of them is offering unique services. However, the existing major players continue to dominate with the lion’s share of the market.