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.