Forrester Evaluates Private Cloud Vendors – Platform Tops Media Scoring

Given all the discussion around cloud software, one would have thought a comprehensive analysis of vendors would have been published by now. However, Forrester Research just released the first quantitative analysis of the private cloud vendor marketplace entitled “Market Overview: Private Cloud Solutions, Q2 2011.” The market overview examines the landscape of vendors providing solutions designed to accelerate the implementation of an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud in a customer’s data center.

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The report is significant as the first ‘apples-to-apples” comparison of vendors using customer references, a compulsory 30 minute demonstration and written responses. Only 15 vendors were able to meet this initial hurdle, suggesting a number of vendors where marketing far outstrips reality. Vendors were scored 0-4 across 10 criteria. Forrester did not add up the scores but the media quickly did the sub-analysis and published a ranking table. The result: Platform Computing received the most points.

Source: SYS-CON Media

The # 2 vendor was VMware and we congratulate them on their effort. Given that one of the key report findings is to “prepare for islands of hypervisors” – meaning an increase in the need to support other hypervisors such as KVM and Xen -- companies should pause to reconsider locking into a single hypervisor vendor. Cloud is much more than VM. Also, be careful about pricing models that penalize your ability to utilize your cloud environment more efficiently (i.e., per VM versus per server).

Read the Platform Computing press release

Another interesting point was discussed by the report’s author, James Staten, in his blog. Mr. Staten cautions readers to evaluate vendors on their specific requirements. We totally agree.

First, in the report, an attempt is made to catalog vendors based upon their origins, e.g., enterprise systems management vendors versus pure-play cloud solutions, etc. Our belief is that regardless of origins, customers should choose a vendor with a comprehensive technology footprint, solid customer base, strong financials, and global support system. Claiming you are # 1 among pure-play or grid vendors is meaningless and an artificial distinction. At the end of the day, one wants the best solution to solving a set of problems. Period.

Second, Mr. Staten recommends looking differently at either software-only versus ‘physical compute and storage included’ vendors. If you take those points away from HP, IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and BMC, the Platform lead just grows. And if you want an appliance, Platform has partners that offer a complete pre-integrated solution today.

Finally, the report recommends a strategy of trying before you buy. Since a private cloud project involves both technology and process change, we recommend running a proof-of-concept (POC) to gain buy-in from end user communities and different business units. A POC can also help validate assumptions against your business case for justifying the value of a private cloud.


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Are there any criteria that you would have added to the evaluation?


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