Value added services are the future of infrastructure-as-a-service

The title of this article may confuse a bit. After all, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) are services already. But I have my reasons. From the beginning, in its Magic Quadrant Gartner identifies the Amazon Web Services as the leading provider of the IaaS market. However, whom I miss in it is Windows Azure. But why is it just Amazon, which lead the market and why do Windows Azure in my opinion also belongs in the same quadrant as Amazon.

Early presence and a strong offer pay off

One reason for Amazon’s success is undisputed in the early presence in the market. As the first IaaS provider (2006), they have shaped the market and thus sets the direction of cloud computing, an important influence on many providers. Microsoft followed with Windows Azure relatively late (2010), but has expanded its portfolio quickly.

A further but much more concise reason are the services of both providers. As with the other IaaS providers in the market, for Amazon AWS and Microsoft Windows Azure pure infrastructure is not in the foreground, but rather solutions around it. The service portfolio of both providers compared to the rest of the market is very strong and offers much more than just virtual servers and storage. And that’s the sticking point.

Make the infrastructure usable

The core of IaaS is offering computing power, storage and network capacity as a service, based on the pay as you go model. Most cloud providers in the market heed that. But not Amazon AWS and Windows Azure. Both offer many value-added services around their infrastructure and make them so useful. With it customers are able to use the “dumb” infrastructure directly productive.

No matter which provider from the public cloud area to start on, usually the offer is compute, storage and database. One or the other offer a CDN (Content Delivery Network), and tools for monitoring in addition. That’s all! However, a look at the services of Amazon AWS and Windows Azure shows, how extensive their portfolio is by this time.

Value added services are the key and the future of infrastructure-as-a-service, with them the infrastructure can be use more profitable.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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