The cloud is how business gets done today. According to one study, 94% of companies already use at least one cloud service, and over 80% of enterprise workloads happen in the cloud. If you are thinking of migrating your data, processes or software to the cloud, there is a large and highly competitive market for you to choose from. So, which is the best cloud provider for your business?

Every year Gartner, the IT analyst firm, produces its ‘Magic Quadrant’ for cloud – an assessment of the leaders in cloud computing around the world. The latest Gartner report assesses the different cloud market leaders today – and can be used to inform your decision about which cloud provider to choose. Here are the key insights from Gartner’s study.

The 7 best cloud providers – according to Gartner

Gartner interviews its own customers as well as collecting data from all the world’s biggest cloud computing providers to decide who is the leader in this field. Here are the top seven global cloud infrastructure and platform providers in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant:

  1. Amazon Web Services

Gartner rated Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the best cloud provider in 2021. They highlighted AWS’s broad based IT services, major financial commitments and suitability for any kind of business – from early stage start-ups to large enterprises.

Gartner highlighted several of AWS’s key strengths, including its major investments in engineering and innovation.

That said, Gartner also highlighted several drawbacks, including the complexity of AWS’s offering (there are hundreds of solutions available to choose from) and the sometimes overly salesy renewals process.


  1. Microsoft Azure

Azure came second in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for cloud computing, and described it as “strong in all use cases”. Gartner added that Azure is particularly well suited to organisations that already rely on Microsoft technologies.

Among Azure’s strengths, Gartner highlighted its incredibly broad set of capabilities, covering a full range of enterprise IT needs.

There were some drawbacks, however, including certain resiliency issues and the sheer complexity of Microsoft licences – something we have written about before.


  1. Google Cloud Platform

Coming third in Gartner’s list was the Google Cloud Platform which is continually expanding its capabilities and offering excellent solutions to everyone from start-ups to large enterprises. Gartner describes the Google platform as strong in nearly all use cases.

Particularly impressive was Google’s revenue growth and the way it is winning business for its core competencies in data and analytics. Gartner also highlighted how Google is innovating and closing the gap with AWS and Azure in terms of available technologies.

There were some issues, however, including poor aftersales customer experience for some. Gartner also noted that Google Cloud Platform is the only business in the Magic Quadrant which operates at a financial loss.

Compared: Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace

  1. Alibaba Cloud

Next up on Gartner’s list was Alibaba Cloud. Gartner reckons that for cloud-first digital businesses in China or Southeast Asia, it is arguably the best fit.

Among its strengths, Gartner highlighted Alibaba Cloud’s dominance in the Chinese market and impressive revenue growth.

That said, Gartner noted that Alibaba Cloud’s market share is mostly concentrated in China and that it has struggled to expand in markets beyond the immediate region.


  1. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure came fifth in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for cloud providers. The service is mainly focused on lift and shift and for supporting hybrid workloads – although Gartner noted that Oracle is focused on expanding its capabilities to become more competitive with market leaders.

Among its strengths, Gartner particularly highlighted Oracle’s impressive rate of innovation and its distributed cloud. This is a unique offering that allows customers to deploy private clouds on-premises that are just as powerful as the public Oracle cloud.

The drawbacks highlighted by Gartner were that Oracle remains relatively immature in the market with new capabilities that are less deep or widely adopted than its competitors.


  1. Tencent Cloud

Like Alibaba, Tencent Cloud is mainly focused on the Chinese market, as well as supporting Chinese multinationals expand overseas. Gartner noted that Tencent is particularly strong when it comes to supporting the low latencies needed for online gaming.

Among Tencent Cloud’s strengths, Gartner say it has been pivotal in enabling digital transformation at many Chinese firms. The Shenzhen-based company is also investing billions of dollars in artificial intelligence and distributed cloud.

Tencent cloud did have some weaknesses, however, including its limited international presence. Its offerings are much weaker outside China than within the country.


  1. IBM Cloud

Coming seventh in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is IBM Cloud. Gartner explains that IBM is mainly focused on lift and shift and extended enterprise use cases (i.e., a hybrid of cloud and on-prem computing). IBM has specialised in providing services to regulated industries such as telcos and financial services.

IBM’s particular strengths, according to Gartner, are its focus on regulated industries and serving clients with complex challenges. It is also very strong in edge computing.

However, IBM has relatively limited market share and capabilities, and still tends to be viewed as a legacy provider.


Which cloud is right for you?

Analysis of cloud providers by firms like Gartner can be helpful to understand the cloud market and identify the strengths and weaknesses of different providers. That said, deciding which cloud provider is right for you will come down to your particular context and needs.

For instance, while IBM may not have all the bells and whistles of AWS, financial services firms might find its expertise in their industry most attractive. Similarly, if you are already heavily reliant on SharePoint and Microsoft products, Azure would likely be the right choice.

FITTS is an independent cloud consultancy, with strong partnerships among all global cloud vendors. We can provide you with independent guidance on the right cloud provider for your business. To learn more about cloud providers and which is the best fit for your business, contact us today for a complementary consultation.