Forrester picks its top 3 private cloud providers

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan November 26, 2013
Given the ongoing debate around public, private and hybrid cloud models, Forrester’s latest Wave comes up with some interesting findings on the adoption of private clouds.

Given the ongoing debate around public, private and hybrid cloud models, Forrester’s latest Wave comes up with some interesting findings on the adoption of private clouds.

Among its key findings:

  • In 2014, 55% of hardware decision-makers from North American and European enterprises plan to prioritize building an internal private cloud, and 33% have already adopted private cloud.
  • The most common approach to private cloud is through the purchase of commercial software (30%) or several private cloud components (16%) that marry IaaS software with hardware and existing management tools
  • Three vendors are leading the private cloud pack.

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Key trends uncovered by Forrester are what is calls a vendor focus down on IaaS+ with the addition of low-level platform as a service (PaaS) capabilities for application deployment to private clouds. This is being driven by two factors:

  • a shift in focus on cloud value from the infrastructure to the application layer
  • the need to provide developers self-service access to immediately usable application templates.

Forrester finds that DevOps is back on the table because:

Private cloud vendors see an opportunity to help DevOps through their software by enabling the developer with speed and abstracting the underlying complexity required by the administrators.

Private cloud capabilities expand to include IT service management functions which can be double edged sword as:

For enterprises starting out with no existing tools, this packaging simplifies adoption, but for those already leveraging their own tools, this can be redundant and an unnecessary cost.

For lightweight private cloud deployments, expansive ITSM cloud suites will likely exceed budgets and limit adoption.

Despite the hype from certain providers, hybrid cloud approaches start to come up short as:

Today, most vendors don’t support movement of workloads between environments once deployed or allow for hybrid cloud application design. Support for “hybrid” is typically limited to provisioning or migrating workloads to Amazon Web Services.

The big three

All that being said, where should private cloud buyers turn? Who’s leading the pack?

Forrester sourced information from 27 private cloud vendors from which number it selected 10 private IaaS cloud vendors - ASG, BMC, CA, Cisco, Citrix, Eucalyptus, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware. These were then evaluated on 61 criteria that break down into three high-level categories:

  • Current offering
  • Strategy
  • Market presence

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From this analysis comes the conclusion that HP is out in front, boasting what Forrester calls:

a clean and navigable interface that wraps substantial breadth and depth of capabilities into the fewest number of interfaces.

Cisco comes out top in terms of strategy but is let down by its current market presence while Microsoft has strong strategy and current presence rankings. Forrester says:

Each has done a good job of delivering both admin and end user experiences that are intuitive, straightforward, and powerful and have articulated plans to continue to focus on end user ease of access and administrator breadth and depth of control.

As for the rest of the line-up, IBM, VMware and BMC offer strong competitive offerings while Eucalyptus, Citrix, CA and ASG are found lacking due to a:

private cloud approach to focus on a particular strength and enterprise requirement rather than trying to deliver on breadth.

Most of its shortcomings are deliberate, with the intension of tying into third-party products.

For the customer, this typically means lower total cost, freedom of choice, and lots of integration.


Graphics: Forrester Wave: Private Cloud Solutions, Q4 2013


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