Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, Europe

9 July 2014 ID:G00260243
Analyst(s): Tiny Haynes, Gianluca Tramacere, Lydia Leong, Gregor Petri, Douglas Toombs, Bob Gill

VIEW SUMMARY

Cloud-enabled managed hosting brings cloudlike consumption and provisioning attributes to the traditional managed hosting market in Europe. This is a new evolution of a mature market, with a wide variety of vendor offerings and capabilities, so infrastructure managers must choose with care.

Market Definition/Description

The European marketplace consists of 27 member states of the European Union. Each member state has its own interpretation of the EU rules on data privacy, as well as separate languages and cultures. The scope of this Magic Quadrant focuses primarily on the European marketplace, incorporating the top six countries by GDP (Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands). In each of these countries, customers prefer their languages to be supported, as well as service providers to have a data center presence in their countries. Some providers in this Magic Quadrant take the approach of having data centers in each of the major hubs within Western Europe, while others prefer a more decentralized, global delivery approach. This Magic Quadrant focuses on multinational as well as domestic service providers that have achieved a significant market share in one or more European countries.

Cloud-enabled managed hosting is a standardized, productized hosting offering that combines a cloud-enabled system infrastructure (CESI) platform — consisting of a pool of compute, network and storage hardware — with cloud management platform software to facilitate self-service and rapid provisioning, with managed services. The infrastructure platform should be located in a service provider's data center, and requires the use of a standardized deployment across all service provider customers and leverages a single codebase. At minimum, a service provider must supply server OS management services, including guest OS instances if virtualization is used. The provider must also supply other managed and professional services relating to the deployment and operation of the infrastructure, such as security services, backup, load balancing, and optional application management for database and middleware. All services should be available to customers with the option to take some or all.

Cloud-enabled managed hosting has limited customization and is sold on a stand-alone basis, with no requirement to bundle it with other services, such as application development, application maintenance, database administration and data center outsourcing (DCO) services.

Customers of cloud-enabled managed hosting must be able to access a self-service interface after initial installation, although it may be different from the platform interfaces used internally by the provider. A service provider can potentially intervene in the self-service workflow to manually approve, deny or alter the customer's requests — as long as the provisioning requested is fulfilled in a fully automated manner thereafter. Managed services (such as OS backups, patching and monitoring) must be available to the customer — preferably monthly or daily, but, at a maximum, no longer than the commitment term for the underlying compute resources.

Although this Magic Quadrant focuses on the enterprise-class, cloud-enabled managed hosting market, offerings and revenue presented on more traditional, dedicated server infrastructure have been included to reflect the emerging nature of the cloud approach in Europe, which is some two years behind North America in adoption. Such delivery models include:

  • Multitenant, provider premises: Compute, storage and networking hardware is shared among many customers, and is housed in the service provider's facilities and fully managed by the provider. This is the most common use case, and also encompasses cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings where the provider offers management of guest OS instances.
  • Single-tenant, provider premises: Compute and storage hardware is dedicated to one customer (versus used by many customers), and is housed in the service provider's facilities.

In addition to server OS management, optional managed and professional services related to infrastructure operations may be offered, such as:

  • Management of infrastructure software at the middleware or persistence layer, such as Web server software, application servers and database servers
  • Management of storage, including backup and recovery
  • Management of host-based and network-based security functions
  • Management of network devices, such as application delivery controllers
  • Professional services associated with hosting, such as architecture consultation, capacity planning, performance testing, security auditing and data center migration

Cloud-enabled managed hosting services must be available to customers with shorter-term commitments measured in months versus traditional managed hosting measured in years. While customers may opt for longer-term contracts (one to three years) in order to secure greater overall discounts, this is solely at the customers' discretion. Ultimately, cloud-enabled managed hosting must afford customers the ability to change the amount of capacity in use without any contract additions or modifications.

Use Cases Covered by This Evaluation

This Magic Quadrant focuses on the following common use cases, independent of the type or types of infrastructure used to serve these workloads:

  • E-business hosting for digital marketing websites, e-commerce websites, SaaS, social websites and similar modern online properties and applications. These workloads are often complex, and are associated with a high rate of change in systems and application infrastructure.
  • Web-based business application hosting for corporate intranets and Web-based applications delivered to users primarily within the enterprise. The applications may be commercial software or in-house-developed applications; workloads are often relatively static, and do not have a high rate of change.
  • Enterprise application managed hosting for the infrastructure underlying large commercial software applications, such as those of Oracle and SAP. These workloads are often complex, with individual requirements, and require specialized knowledge to operate optimally, but do not have a high rate of change.

All three use cases are typically tactical sourcing decisions that center around one application or a single group of closely related applications (such as everything associated with an enterprise's video portal). They are typically best-served by a best-of-breed provider that has strong operational expertise with similar solutions. However, many customers expand their use of hosting over time, and the choice of a provider may become a strategic decision for a customer.

In the cloud-enabled managed hosting market, it is difficult to find a provider that excels in all the areas mentioned above, as well as in certain countries within the EU as mentioned previously; providers may be leaders in some delivery areas, but may lag behind in others. Additionally, smaller providers may do one thing extraordinarily well, but may not have a comprehensive set of services or the geographic reach that enables them to address a broad array of use cases. As a result, it is important to match your use case with a vendor that excels in meeting your particular functional and geographic needs.

It is also crucial to note that this Magic Quadrant shows the overall position of a vendor in the cloud-enabled managed hosting and traditional managed hosting markets specifically, and does not consider a provider's strength in other adjacent delivery areas in IT services. Therefore, it is crucial to look beyond just the placement of the vendors on this Magic Quadrant during your evaluation and selection, as your individual needs may be best-serviced by vendors in the Leaders quadrant, as well as by the Niche Players, especially if you have an unusual need.

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, Europe
Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, Europe

Source: Gartner (July 2014)

Vendor Strengths and Cautions

AT&T

AT&T is a large global telecommunications provider headquartered in Dallas, Texas, which operates data centers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The vendor offers cloud-enabled managed hosting on a VMware-based platform, and can also provide data center colocation services as well as traditional managed hosting. AT&T can support customers in English, and can provide managed services for Linux, Windows, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX OSs (although Solaris, HP-UX and AIX support exists outside of AT&T's cloud-enabled managed hosting offering). AT&T has a data center presence in the U.K., the Netherlands, France and Germany, with sales offices throughout Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Strengths
  • AT&T has a long history in the managed hosting space, and a broad range of experience in managing highly complex e-business infrastructures, especially in the area of e-commerce.
  • The vendor's additional lines of business — namely, its telecommunications business, including mobility, managed security services, and enterprise application outsourcing — allow it to build comprehensive solution sets for customers looking for a more comprehensive outsourcing model than just hosting.
  • Through the vendor's NetBond capability, customers with AT&T VPNs can easily extend their Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) environment directly into AT&T's cloud computing environment, or into those of other providers within AT&T's partner ecosystem.
Cautions
  • In the fast-paced market of cloud infrastructure services, AT&T's level of investment and platform advancement has generally underperformed its peers in the marketplace in market share and revenue.
  • The vendor caters to multinational enterprises, especially for customers headquartered in North America. In Europe, AT&T sells its managed hosting services through its international sales force; although these customers can build on the relationships established around the communications and network services that AT&T delivers, they have less of a focus on managed hosting.
  • Despite providing managed hosting for some large customers in various industries in Europe, AT&T continues to be perceived more as a networking player than as a hosting or managed services provider.

Attenda

Attenda is a U.K.-based managed hosting and cloud service provider that focuses on running critical business applications. Its approach as a business outcome service allows it to offer highly customized services based on its own methodology and product set, yet tied to client business success. The vendor offers hosting of e-business and e-commerce sites, and business applications from SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. Its customer base includes midsize and large companies that share Attenda's focus on the U.K. market, which is one of the largest in Europe.

Strengths
  • Attenda takes a high-touch approach to managed hosting, with dedicated teams and individuals assigned to establish direct relationships with customers. This leads to customers who are generally enthusiastic about the offering, and who describe the relationship with Attenda as a partnership more than a formal contractual relationship.
  • Apart from hosting business-critical, custom-made and Web-facing systems (such as hotel reservation and e-commerce sites), Attenda also hosts the back-end SAP systems for many of its customers, and can — in cooperation with a consulting partner — deliver a subscription-based SAP Business All-in-One offering.
  • The vendor's customized approach allows it to be very flexible to individual business requirements, with the ability to use resources from multiple third parties for areas such as specialist applications and commoditized IaaS.
Cautions
  • Attenda is growing rapidly, which can lead to some resourcing challenges, such as clients reporting occasional resource problems for popular areas such as SAP-related services.
  • The high-touch model, although highly appreciated by customers, can prove more difficult in terms of keeping up with market growth than more-productized (off-the-shelf)-type offerings.
  • Attenda has a presence mainly in the U.K., with its portals and support being solely in English. Wider European support is limited to a small presence in a Frankfurt data center.
  • Attenda's customized approach doesn't allow complete automation, and thus does not allow it to offer the discounted prices being offered by other service providers.
  • Gartner clients have expressed concern, on occasion, with Attenda's sales capability, reporting that some initial engagements are not as impressive as those of its competitors.

BT Global Services

BT Global Services, part of BT Group, is a global provider of managed network, communications and IT services. Within BT Global Services, the BT Compute unit delivers colocation, managed hosting and cloud services, with a strong focus on meeting the specific needs of vertical industries. It competes by targeting BT's existing networking, communications, security and contact center customers, and Europe's top 5,000 businesses with service requirements stretching beyond Europe. In past years, it has aggressively built out its international cloud delivery capabilities, which are now available in 16 countries across four continents.

Strengths
  • BT Global Services has made strong investments and has expanded cloud delivery capabilities in 11 new countries within the past 12 months. Local sales and support teams can now deliver services from seven data center locations in Europe and 10 locations in other global regions. Although continued investments will be needed (for example, in additional dual-site locations), this puts BT in a good position to meet global requirements with regard to latency or local data sovereignty requirements.
  • Having seen successful uptake of its specific solutions in vertical industries such as life sciences, the vendor continues to build out specific propositions for a number of other verticals, such as global logistics, global banking and financial markets, and retail industries. This approach is putting it in a good position to fend off the risk of commoditization of infrastructure services.
  • The vendor's services are underpinned by a standardization-oriented approach, supported through a single cloud management system, which BT is designing and actively assembling from standard components.
Cautions
  • Maintaining a standardization-oriented approach toward cloud-enabled managed hosting will require strong rigor in terms of service definition and delivery, and in terms of sales and bid qualification, resisting the strong requests for exceptions likely to come from large local customers in a given geography.
  • BT Global Services focuses on its top 5,000 Europe-based customers. Gartner has seen other clients outside this list receive inconsistent sales support and messaging. The vendor's pricing is seen as among the highest in the marketplace, with some services not being sufficiently differentiated to justify the premium.
  • Although the current approach of offering vertical solutions is paying off for BT and aligns with the current buying behavior of the market, the vendor needs to make sure that it can meet the increased price erosion, performance and quality expectations as the market evolves, and that — despite its own size — it can give customers the intimacy and attention they expect.

CenturyLink

CenturyLink is a large global telecommunications provider operating data centers in North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. The vendor offers cloud-enabled managed hosting on a VMware-based platform, and can also provide data center colocation services and traditional managed hosting. CenturyLink supports customers in English, and can provide managed services for Linux, Windows, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX OSs (although Solaris, HP-UX and AIX support exists outside of the vendor's cloud-enabled managed hosting offering). CenturyLink has a data center presence in the U.K. and Germany, with sales offices throughout Western Europe.

Strengths
  • CenturyLink has historically supported a broad range of infrastructure requirements for clients, including a wide range of support for database and middleware stacks, and application support through the vendor's acquisition of the IT outsourcing arm of Ciber in 2012.
  • The vendor is adding higher-level platform services into its catalog with the acquisition of AppFog, and Cloud Foundry deployments on the CenturyLink cloud (in addition to its multitenant database-as-a-service offering).
  • CenturyLink has long had a highly comprehensive portal, which covers all the products that CenturyLink sells (including network services), although it has started to become dated. The addition of engineering staff from the vendor's acquisition of Tier 3 will likely improve this over time.
Cautions
  • Gartner clients continue to report declining customer service levels for CenturyLink. While mergers typically cause a period of integration challenges, customer service issues have been reported for longer than can normally be expected.
  • Multiple acquisitions, followed by launches and the subsequent decommissioning of services, will likely continue to put an operational strain on the organization in the near term as it continues to rationalize its overall portfolio strategy and staff learns to support the new systems.
  • CenturyLink's rebranding from Savvis has caused a loss of brand equity in the European market, where CenturyLink is a relatively unknown entity among domestic audiences.
  • CenturyLink has a limited hosting sales presence across Europe, largely focusing on the U.K. and Germany.

Claranet

Claranet is a Pan-European network and managed hosting provider with a presence in multiple countries, including the U.K., France, Germany, and the Iberia and Benelux regions. It offers hosting, network and application services to midtier companies from data centers located in the previously mentioned regions.

Strengths
  • Claranet has introduced agile process teams to complement its ITIL teams, to meet the increased demand for more flexible hosting of Web-based applications.
  • The vendor offers fully regionalized business units comprising sales, marketing and technical support. This is especially attractive to markets that are sensitive to local sales and technical support.
  • Claranet is one of the few providers starting to offer loss-of-business clauses on top of the standard SLAs, bringing it more in line with the IT outsourcers that sit at the periphery of this market area.
  • Hosting is becoming a more important part of Claranet's overall portfolio, which enables its sales force to focus more on and have a better understanding of the managed hosting business than some of the more network-centric providers.
Cautions
  • Although one of the few European-headquartered providers with a Pan-European footprint, Claranet largely caters to different companies and vertical industries in the each country, resulting in a nonhomogeneous solution portfolio.
  • The vendor does not offer hosting of standard business applications such as SAP.
  • Claranet's acquisition-based growth into local markets may present integration challenges as it seeks to combine the capabilities of recent additions, such as Echiron (Portugal), NovaData (the Netherlands) and Grita (France), into its already geographically diversified portfolio.
  • Claranet does not offer any strong verticalization in comparison to some of the other providers, leaving its brand name weaker in certain markets.

Colt

Colt is a Pan-European network and IT service provider that provides hosting services focused on major European countries (the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands), with a presence in the U.S. and Asia. Colt is evolving from a country-focused model to one that is more customer-focused, serviced through direct (Optimum) and indirect (Ceano) product lines, and supported from shared-service centers in India and Barcelona.

Strengths
  • By investing in enterprise application capabilities, Colt is further deepening the range of requirements it could already address with its network, colocation, hosting and cloud services.
  • The vendor is leveraging its infrastructure and Internet Protocol (IP) investments by serving both direct (enterprise) and indirect (small or midsize business [SMB]) markets through two separate portfolio offerings (Optimum and Ceano), giving it a larger addressable market.
  • To further strengthen its growth in IT services, Colt has been putting significant positioning and sales enablement efforts into segments beyond its established verticals, such as financials.
  • The vendor's strong Pan-European presence of both data centers and sales offices puts it ahead for customers concerned with data sovereignty in individual European countries.
Cautions
  • There will be increased competition from VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) for Colt's sizable vCloud Data Centre Service business. Colt is taking a proactive approach by reselling vCHS with its own value-added services and offering its customers direct connect access to vCHS in the U.K.; however, these two platforms will not be integrating any further than at the base networking layer.
  • Colt's promising early-mover activities in the very new and still unpredictable market for indirect cloud services with its Ceano portfolio may — besides the described scale and synergy advantages — compete for resources internally, along with its other portfolio products.
  • While ownership of its own network can strengthen Colt's Pan-European hosting proposition, as a communications service provider, Colt is also impacted by the industrywide decline in fixed data and voice revenue, for which its significantly growing IT service revenue may not be able to compensate.
  • There have been a few cases of negative Gartner customer feedback regarding Colt's service management in 2014, highlighting the challenges for communications service providers to be more accommodating and flexible, in comparison with pure-play managed hosting companies. Colt has reorganized into service lines in order to address this, although it is too early to tell if this will have the desired impact.

Easynet

Easynet is a Pan-European network provider with six regional data centers that provide managed hosting solutions. Easynet takes a solution-selling approach for larger businesses, rather than selling from an existing portfolio, providing a custom design to clients. Recently, Easynet has launched an on-premises, appliance-based, hybrid cloud service that combines on-premises compute linked into public IaaS and SaaS providers aimed at SMBs.

Strengths
  • Easynet's approach of providing custom network, hosting and value-added services as part of a solution differentiates it from more-traditional product-driven telecommunications providers.
  • The vendor operates on a true Pan-European basis, with data center and sales presences in eight European countries, resulting in a large list of domestic European organizations served.
  • The recent acquisition of Easynet by MDNX Group in December 2013 will allow for investment in automation tools to provide a faster provisioned service.
Cautions
  • Easynet's solution approach for its custom hosting service means not a lot of standardization and, therefore, less automation is present in its services (for example, provisioning for new standard services is on a multiple-week, lead-time basis, whereas other providers can offer a considerably faster service). However, through the MDNX acquisition, there is a strategy to invest in this area.
  • As with any acquisition, some uncertainties remain behind the strategic direction of Easynet, with the potential to lose some of the entrepreneurial innovation that has been present in the vendor's traditional solution approach.
  • In the past, Easynet has lacked investments in service platforms, unlike many other providers in this space. Therefore, it is now catching up with the rest of this fast-moving market.

Fujitsu

Fujitsu is a large diversified technology company. It has many hosting, DCO, and IaaS and SaaS platforms available to customers to suit different needs. The vendor provides not only server and storage manufacturing, but also a comprehensive array of managed services (from platform to application support), along with a newly launched Cloud Integration Platform.

Strengths
  • Fujitsu has a long history in IT services and DCO. It has a large global sales force and has a strong European presence, particularly in Finland, the U.K. and Germany. This gives it a large existing base of captive customers to which it can sell managed hosting on top of the traditional DCO services, and it is successful at extending existing Fujitsu relationships into cloud deals. The vendor has very responsive support and good account management.
  • Fujitsu is a global vendor of hardware and software; consequently, it has stronger support and development skills for many hardware components, when compared with most other managed hosting providers.
  • Fujitsu's new Cloud Integration Platform provides a step beyond the traditional monitoring and management portals offered by other vendors. The integration into legacy workflow systems starts to bring the true benefits of agility from the CESI model to the entire organization.
Cautions
  • Fujitsu's services are normally aimed at larger enterprises, with a focus on fully managed data center solutions, and are distant from the services that cater to midsize and small enterprises, which are prevalent in Europe. These enterprises require standardized and more cost-effective services.
  • Although efforts are in place to harmonize the product set, Fujitsu has different approaches to markets in different geographies — from full IT outsourcing provider in the U.K., to smaller solution provider in Germany and Finland.
  • Fujitsu's market presence in the major markets of France, Italy and the Netherlands is weaker in comparison to the U.K. and Germany.

IBM

IBM is a highly diversified global technology company that operates data centers in North America, Europe, the Asia/Pacific region and Latin America. The vendor offers cloud-enabled managed hosting on a VMware-based platform, and can provide sales support in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch and Portuguese, although the platform is offered only in English and French in Europe. IBM can provide managed services for Linux, Windows and AIX OSs.

Strengths
  • IBM's Cloud Managed Services (previously called SmartCloud Enterprise+) is a strategic investment for the vendor, utilized not only for hosting and cloud customers, but also for DCO customers.
  • Expansion plans triggered by IBM's acquisition of SoftLayer will likely give the vendor an even stronger presence globally with companies concerned about data residency. Although IBM's recent announcement of its $1.2 billion investment in geographic expansion mainly targets regions outside Europe.
  • The vendor is the only provider in the market to have integrated IBM Power Systems servers (System p) into its platform, meeting the needs of customers looking for an AIX-based solution.
Cautions
  • The vendor's managed cloud platform utilizes a mediated provisioning process, whereby customers can request changes using a self-service portal; however, IBM engineers must review and approve requests for new compute instances, leading to provisioning times that may be hours or days.
  • With IBM's acquisition of SoftLayer, the vendor has been broadly labeling the SoftLayer business as "cloud," when in reality much of the business is simply a dedicated hosting offering. Customers engaging with IBM should take care to fully understand what the vendor may propose.
  • Although IBM has been a notable participant in the OpenStack project, neither its Cloud Managed Services offering nor the SoftLayer acquisition currently leverages the OpenStack platform for computing infrastructure. Contributing to and maintaining three separate cloud management platform codebases can slow down feature development.

Interoute

Interoute is a Pan-European network and compute provider connecting the majority of Europe's urbanized areas through its largely fiber-based network. It has also recently rolled out both network and compute infrastructure to North America and Hong Kong, based on its IaaS node approach. Under its Unified ICT portfolio, it offers colocation, hosting and cloud services from local data centers in major European countries.

Strengths
  • By integrating the fiber network interconnecting its data centers with the compute platforms, Interoute can offer some unique capabilities, such as movement of workloads and data between its international data centers at no cost.
  • The vendor has invested in software-defined networking to make reconfiguring the network (a bottleneck for flexible deployment) faster.
  • Its Cloudstore initiative offers a wide variety of solutions to be deployed on the offered infrastructure. For many of these solutions, Interoute offers managed services, either directly or through partners, such as Unisys. Cloudstore allows users to choose the geography for deployment of services, giving greater control to those who are sensitive to data sovereignty.
Cautions
  • Interoute's strategy is more centered around similar infrastructure requirements (such as high bandwidth or low latency) than around unique functional characteristics of vertical industries.
  • While ownership of its own network can strengthen the vendor's Pan-European hosting proposition, as a communications service provider, Interoute is also feeling the impact of the industrywide decline in fixed data revenue on its wholesale business, for which its significantly growing IT service revenue may not be able to compensate.

NTT Communications

NTT Communications is a large global telecommunications provider with data centers in North America, as well as in the Asia/Pacific region and Europe. The vendor provides cloud-enabled managed hosting on a VMware-based platform, as well as data center colocation services and traditional managed hosting. NTT Communications can support customers in 11 languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Dutch, and can provide managed services for Linux and Windows OSs.

Strengths
  • As a leading communications service provider in the Asia/Pacific region, NTT Communications has a proven track record of operating in the region and can be an ideal choice for European customers that will have significant infrastructure needs in Asia.
  • The vendor is using its experience in communications services to quickly integrate software-defined networking into its cloud and hosting capabilities — allowing customers to increase or decrease bandwidth on communications links and to change the guaranteed processing performance of firewalling on-demand via a portal user interface.
  • NTT Communications' additional lines of business — including its managed security services — enable the vendor to build broader solution sets for customers needing a more comprehensive outsourcing model than just hosting.
Cautions
  • The vendor has been investing in unifying its disparate cloud offerings and service terms globally, but the underlying platforms still lag behind those of its peers in terms of technical innovation and common features (such as solid-state drive storage tiers and user action audit logging).
  • NTT Communications has started moving toward high-level "business outcome" objectives in some strategic deals, and away from the technical SLAs typically found in hosting. Pursuing both approaches can be a challenging strategy to execute well for both types of these standard and business outcome SLAs.

Rackspace

Rackspace is a large publicly traded managed hosting and cloud IaaS that operates data centers in North America, as well as in Europe (the U.K.) and the Asia/Pacific region. The vendor offers cloud-enabled managed hosting on a Xen platform based on OpenStack, and can also offer traditional managed hosting. Rackspace has sales offices in the U.K., the Netherlands and Switzerland, and can provide managed services for Linux and Windows OSs.

Strengths
  • Rackspace has been a Leader in managed hosting for many years, with many customers among the European independent software vendor community, and was very early to adopt a strategy of allowing managed services to be purchased on the same consumptive basis as Rackspace's IaaS capacity.
  • Rackspace has a deeply rooted cultural focus on providing superior, high-touch customer service. Gartner clients consistently report high levels of customer satisfaction in day-to-day operations, and customer loyalty is high.
  • The vendor's portal is well-integrated, and provides customers with access to many managed services, such as backup and restore operations, data encryption, designing monitoring notification plans, and more.
Cautions
  • Despite being a Leader in the managed hosting market in Europe, Rackspace has not deployed infrastructure capacity outside of the U.K. Customers with data residency requirements or latency concerns in European regions farther away from the U.K. need to take this into consideration.
  • The vendor's cloud platform lacks an integrated self-service firewall capability, leading Rackspace to suggest host-based firewall strategies, such as iptables, or to deploy dedicated managed firewall appliances.
  • Rackspace is still rationalizing its global portal strategy, so customers that deploy applications globally may end up with different interfaces and logins.

SFR

SFR (which originally stood for Société Française du Radiotelephone) is currently awaiting approval from current owner Vivendi to be sold to the cable subsidiary Numericable, of Luxembourg-based Altice. SFR, which built its wireless network in close cooperation with joint venture partner Vodafone, is one of the four large operators active in the French market and is an investor in the French cloud startup Numergy.

Strengths
  • SFR's extensive data center footprint in France (also used to deliver its own IP-TV services), combined with its communications and call center capabilities, continues to form an attractive proposition for reaching French consumers with high bandwidth and low latency.
  • The vendor offers a range of hosted messaging and unified communications solutions, and delivers its cloud services through its investment interest in partner Numergy, which is a joint venture with Bull and the French government.
Cautions
  • The continued transition of ownership, the discussions regarding merging or competing with other French (network) providers, and a lack of clarity regarding the role of SFR and its investment in Numergy in providing cloud based services may impact SFR's focus on its hosting proposition.
  • SFR operates exclusively in France, and thus is mainly of interest to companies wanting to host in that market. However, these companies need to be aware that the vendor may launch competitive (media or other) offerings.
  • SFR's sales team was traditionally predominantly focused on selling communications services. The impact of merging with Numericable, which has no history in supporting complex enterprise sales, on overall sales capabilities is not yet clear.

Sungard Availability Services

Sungard Availability Services is a large IT availability and business continuity provider with data centers in North America and in multiple locations in Europe. The vendor offers cloud-enabled managed hosting on a VMware-based platform, and can also provide data center colocation services as well as traditional managed hosting. Sungard Availability Services can support customers in English and in additional languages via third-party partners, and can provide managed services for Linux, Windows, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX OSs (although Solaris, HP-UX and AIX support exists outside of the vendor's cloud-enabled managed hosting offering).

Strengths
  • Sungard Availability Services has a well-established track record in helping customers address complex disaster recovery and business continuity needs across a wide spectrum of technology platforms, including a Recovery-As-A-Service product offering with SLA-backed recovery time objective and recovery point objective metrics.
  • The vendor has a broad geographic footprint in the U.K., Ireland and Sweden, for clients whose workload requirements may call for a presence in many locations.
  • With the launch of Sungard Availability Services Enterprise Cloud Services, the vendor has been able to bring a true on-demand IaaS offering to market.
Cautions
  • The vendor's managed cloud platform utilizes a mediated provisioning process, whereby its engineers must review and approve requests for new compute instances — leading to provisioning times that may take between two hours and a day, depending on when a change request is submitted and its complexity.
  • Sungard's services are spread across multiple portals, and can vary by geography, leaving customers having to manage multiple login credentials based on service line and geography, and lacking a unified global view of deployed infrastructure assets.
  • The vendor has been improving its customer service levels in recent years, but customer satisfaction is still somewhat inconsistent and pricing is considered high, compared with competitors in the market.
  • Sungard Availability Services' European presence is limited to Northern Europe, with no support for Germany, Europe's largest market. This puts the vendor at a disadvantage compared with other Pan-European hosting providers.

Telefonica

Telefonica, one of Europe's largest telecom conglomerates, takes its cloud-enabled managed hosting offerings to the international market through the Telefonica Global Solutions division, but also operates under local brands, such as O2 in the U.K. and Telefonica in Spain. It recently moved the go-to-market operations of its Telefonica Digital initiative back under the local country organizations of Spain, Germany and the U.K.

Strengths
  • Telefonica has traditionally had a strong hosting position in its home market of Spain, and in Latin America and Germany. It is building out its position in the U.K. under the O2 brand, and through the acquisition and full ownership of the IT service joint venture it had with the former 2e2.
  • Cloud computing has been a focus at Telefonica from early on. This can be seen through early activities with partners, such as Joyent in the area of IaaS, and through consumer storage and enterprise application offerings. Telefonica's Instant Servers, as well as the VMware-based Virtual Data Center product, are cloud IaaS offerings incorporated into its managed hosting product. Aligned to the Unica reference model of virtualized architecture, Telefonica is creating economies of scope by deploying the same infrastructure to service SMBs, enterprises and internal capacity needs for its (increasingly software-defined) networking workloads from a single pool of capacity.
Cautions
  • Telefonica is rightfully pursuing cloud synergies between its communications and IT offerings, but customers looking only for IT hosting capabilities may find this a distraction.
  • The Unica approach is more advanced than that of other hosting and even of other cloud and telecom providers, but whether Telefonica will be able to integrate the technologies it needs for this offering remains unproven.
  • Telefonica has organized itself more aggressively to leverage the opportunities of cloud computing than its competitors have. It is still not known whether this will lead to faster progress in making the transition in certain geographies.
  • While ownership of its own network can strengthen Telefonica's Pan-European hosting proposition, as a communications service provider, the vendor is also impacted by the industrywide decline in fixed data and voice revenue, for which its significantly growing IT service revenue may not be able to compensate.

Verizon

Verizon is a large global telecommunications service provider that operates data centers in North America, as well as in Europe, the Asia/Pacific region and Latin America. The vendor offers cloud-enabled managed hosting on a VMware-based platform, and can also provide data center colocation services and traditional managed hosting. Verizon can support customers in English, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese (although not all languages are available for all services), and can provide managed services for Linux, Windows and Solaris OSs.

Strengths
  • Verizon's additional lines of business — namely, its telecommunications business, managed security services and enterprise application outsourcing — allow the vendor to build comprehensive solution sets for customers looking for a more complete outsourcing model than just hosting.
  • Verizon's Enterprise Cloud Managed Edition offers customers the ability to provision dedicated physical servers as well as virtual servers, with billing available in daily increments.
Cautions
  • Verizon's development and full rollout of a new cloud platform have taken longer than expected, impacting investment levels in its current offerings and leaving it further behind some competitors in the market.
  • The vendor's services are spread across multiple portals, and can vary by geography — leaving customers having to manage multiple login credentials based on service line and geography, and lacking a unified global view of deployed infrastructure assets.
  • Verizon caters to multinationals as well as large national enterprises, In Europe, Verizon sells its managed hosting services through its international sales force; although these multinationals can build on the relationships established around the communications and network services that Verizon delivers, multinationals have less of a heritage in managed hosting.
  • Despite providing managed hosting for some large customers in European and other industries, the vendor continues to focus more on being a networking player than a hosting or managed services provider.

Vodafone

Vodafone is a global telecom company providing a wide range of mobile, managed voice, data, hosting and IP-based network services and applications. Its data centers are currently based solely in the U.K., Ireland, Turkey, New Zealand and South Africa. With Vodafone's share of the approximately $130 billion Verizon Wireless sale, plans are in place to expand services globally and into mainland Europe.

Strengths
  • Vodafone's combination of colocation, managed hosting and cloud offerings is especially attractive to customers already using its communications and network offerings.
  • Vodafone has aggressive plans to grow its sales force, expand its geographic footprint in the broader European market and further develop its software-defined network services to attend to its enterprise customers.
Cautions
  • Gartner clients indicate that Vodafone can sometimes be slow in responding, with requests taking a long time to go through the internal system or department structure, although investment in this area could potentially address this.
  • Vodafone's core capabilities are around communications services, leaving the managed hosting arm as a separate business unit. There is potential for the vendor to lose its focus on managed hosting in order to concentrate on the higher-revenue business, as has been seen with other acquisitions of communications companies.
  • Vodafone's general enterprise sales force has little experience selling managed hosting to the enterprise customer, so will require comprehensive support and training.

Vendors Added and Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant or MarketScope may change over time. A vendor's appearance in a Magic Quadrant or MarketScope one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.

Added

  • Telefonica
  • Savvis rebranded as CenturyLink

Dropped

  • LeaseWeb, a successful provider with a value proposition primarily focused on a different segment of the market, compared to the one discussed in this Magic Quadrant

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

The inclusion criteria are used to determine which vendors will be covered in this research. Included vendors must meet the following criteria:

  • The provider must sell cloud-enabled managed hosting as a stand-alone service, with no requirements to bundle it with application development, application maintenance, or other IT outsourcing and/or data center outsourcing.
  • The provider's qualifying offering must allow customers direct or mediated self-service for OS instance provisioning on a CESI platform, with usage-based billing and resource-metering increments, as well as OS management services that are co-terminus with the underlying compute resources.
  • The service evaluated must be enterprise-class, offering 24/7 customer support (including phone support) and must all have infrastructure availability SLAs.
  • The provider must have a geographic footprint within Western Europe with enterprise-class data centers suitable for large-scale managed hosting.
  • The provider must be positively positioned in the cloud-enabled managed hosting market based on Gartner-estimated market share.

Products and Services Excluded From This Evaluation

This Magic Quadrant is for cloud-enabled managed hosting only. That means the following adjacent services are explicitly excluded from evaluation:

  • Colocation: Although many cloud-enabled managed hosting providers also offer colocation, the quality of colocation offerings is not evaluated in this Magic Quadrant. This Magic Quadrant should not be used to select colocation vendors.
  • Self-managed cloud IaaS: Many businesses want a self-provisioned, self-managed dynamically provisioned infrastructure; they want to take advantage of the cost-efficiencies of a provider's scale and automation tools, but do not want to relinquish control. If your interest is primarily in self-managed cloud infrastructure, see "Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service."
  • DCO and remote infrastructure management (RIM): Although many DCO providers may manage the infrastructure for Web applications as part of a DCO contract, this Magic Quadrant evaluates only managed hosting that is sold as a stand-alone service within provider-owned data center facilities. It explicitly excludes hosting that may be part of a more general DCO or RIM contract. DCO providers are covered by "Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, North America," "Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, Europe," and "Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, Asia/Pacific."
  • Application management services: While some managed hosting providers may have some expertise in understanding how best to run the infrastructure underlying specific applications, we consider managed hosting services to stop below the application layer. Application layer services are part of the application management market; see "Magic Quadrant for Oracle Application Management Service Providers, Worldwide" and "Magic Quadrant for SAP Application Management Service Providers, Worldwide."
  • Cloud management platforms: Cloud-building hardware and software — software such as BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management, Citrix CloudPlatform and OpenStack, and integrated solutions such as HP CloudSystem Matrix — are not evaluated in this Magic Quadrant, which is restricted solely to services. Instead, see "Cloud Management Platform Vendor Landscape."

Vendors Considered, but Not Included

For this Magic Quadrant we evaluated a significant number of managed hosting providers operating within Europe, but were unable to include them all. Some did not qualify for this Magic Quadrant on the basis of their market shares in Europe or because they failed to meet other inclusion criteria.

The following providers were considered, but excluded:

  • UKFast, a U.K.-centered hosting provider offering IaaS, managed hosting and colocation services
  • Peer 1 Hosting, a U.S.-headquartered hosting provider with a Pan-U.S. and European network for managed hosting, cloud and colocation
  • Host Europe, a Pan-European hosting service provider that focuses on SMBs
  • Orange Business Services, a global provider of managed hosting and DCO services

There are thousands of service providers around the world that offer managed hosting services of some type, and hundreds that focus primarily on this market or derive a significant amount of revenue from it. Many small providers can provide an excellent level of service, so do not let a lack of inclusion in this Magic Quadrant deter you from evaluating these providers, because we do not consider service quality when determining inclusion. Insufficient revenue and geographic presence alone could disqualify otherwise excellent providers.

Evaluation Criteria

Ability to Execute

The most heavily weighted criteria for a managed hoster's ability to execute are its service offerings and service excellence, as reflected in customers' experiences with sales, support and operations. Overall business viability, as reflected in the provider's ability to serve a customer successfully over a three-year period without significant disruption, and the provider's track record, also contribute to this rating. Here, Gartner emphasizes immediate capabilities for the use cases we see most often.

Table 1. Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Weighting

Product or Service

High

Overall Viability

Medium

Sales Execution/Pricing

High

Market Responsiveness/Record

Medium

Marketing Execution

High

Customer Experience

High

Operations

Medium

Source: Gartner (July 2014)

Completeness of Vision

The market for managed hosting is evolving rapidly, so it is vital that service providers have a vision for the future needs of customers and for how they will adapt their offerings to meet those needs. The full context of a provider's vision is important, as cloud computing continues to alter the market dramatically. We also evaluate a provider's approach to growing its business, including its strategy for marketing and sales, international expansion, and vertically focused market solutions.

Table 2. Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Weighting

Market Understanding

High

Marketing Strategy

High

Sales Strategy

High

Offering (Product) Strategy

Medium

Business Model

Low

Vertical/Industry Strategy

Medium

Innovation

Medium

Geographic Strategy

High

Source: Gartner (July 2014)

Quadrant Descriptions

Leaders

Leaders have proved they have staying power in this market, can frequently innovate on their existing products and can be relied on for enterprise-class needs. They have proved their technical competence and ability to deliver services to a wide range of customers. They address multiple use cases with stand-alone or integrated solutions.

New managed hosting customers should sign two-year contracts with these companies, whereas larger enterprise application hosting customers should aim for longer contracts of three to five years. Satisfied customers renewing a contract with one of these firms should sign a three-year deal. Cloud IaaS customers should buy these services on demand when the pricing structure makes sense to do so, or in contracts lasting one year or less.

Challengers

Challengers have a track record of delivering good service capabilities but are trailing the market's evolution. They are typically companies that have solid traditional managed hosting services, but have not exploited technology and market demand to build cloud services.

New managed hosting customers should sign two-year contracts with these companies, whereas larger enterprise application hosting customers should aim for longer contracts of three to five years. Satisfied customers renewing a contract with one of these firms should sign a three-year deal. Cloud IaaS customers should buy these services on demand when the pricing structure makes sense to do so, or in contracts lasting one year or less; they should exercise caution as these vendors are likely still proving their cloud services.

Visionaries

Visionaries have an innovative and disruptive approach to the market, but their services may be new and unproven, and they frequently have limited service portfolios. Visionaries have an early-mover advantage in providing cloud services, as well as road maps that may turn them into Leaders in the future.

Because the business of Visionaries can change radically in a short period, we recommend that customers buy these services from them on demand, or in contracts lasting one year or less.

Niche Players

Niche Players are typically specialists with more focused product portfolios, or are emerging vendors. They may serve one use case particularly well — better than a more generalized vendor.

New and renewing customers of stable, narrowly focused Niche Players should sign two- or three-year contracts. New and renewing customers of emerging Niche Players with businesses that are still rapidly evolving should buy services on demand, or in contracts lasting one year or less. If you are using managed services, be wary of making short-term, tactical choices, as it can be inconvenient and expensive to change providers.

Context

Despite being in the media shadow of cloud computing, managed hosting is still an appropriate solution for many organizations that want to outsource infrastructure and routine IT operations tasks. Cloud is beginning to alter the traditional managed hosting market, and is creating a new category of service — cloud-enabled managed hosting.

Market Overview

Cloud-enabled managed hosting represents the evolution of the traditional managed hosting market, as the influences of cloud IaaS begins to alter buyer behaviors and expectations. As the hosting market shifts from the use of hardware dedicated to each customer sold on multiyear contracts to the use of an underlying CESI, customers are starting to bring cloudlike expectations to managed service offerings.

All Infrastructure Requires Management

The term "managed services" has traditionally referred to services that are performed by humans, although those capabilities may have been augmented to some degree by automation. Within the managed hosting market, these services have typically encompassed functions such as:

  • Infrastructure monitoring, alerting and incident response
  • Management of server OS instances and (optionally) software at the middleware and persistence layer, if in use — such as Web server software, application servers and database servers
  • Applying hardware and software patches supplied by vendors, in order to maintain systems in a preferred operational state
  • Management of storage services, including data backup and restore operations
  • Management of any network devices in use, such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, load balancers, and WAN optimizers

These services, coupled with dedicated computing hardware sold on multiyear service contracts, have defined the managed hosting market for over 15 years.

During the past seven years, the cloud IaaS market has substantively altered the market for outsourced computing capabilities by automating the traditional infrastructure provisioning process and providing customers with self-service interfaces. Computing capacity can be brought online in minutes in an IaaS environment; whereas in traditional managed hosting, provisioning infrastructure is often a process that can take days or even weeks.

Cloud-enabled managed hosting lives between these two markets, with automated provisioning systems that can quickly provide computing capacity to customers — typically within 24 hours, but with the best systems having near-real-time provisioning. However, while infrastructure provisioning has benefited from years of automation capabilities developed for the IaaS market, the automation of managed services has traditionally lagged behind. On average, cloud-enabled managed hosting represents around 10% of traditional hosting revenue, although this figure can be higher in more-innovative organizations and is growing at an exponential rate.

The evolution of cloud-enabled managed hosting will see the same transformation for managed services that cloud IaaS saw for the provisioning of computing resources. Over time, providers will begin to automate their processes to quickly provision managed service capabilities for customers, and will allow them to subscribe to those services in much shorter intervals — perhaps an hour or a month, but ultimately no longer than the term commitment for the underlying computing resources. Self-service user interfaces for all managed services supplied by a provider will be exposed in unified portals, and utilized by both providers and customers cooperatively in managing an application environment.

Through careful integration of agile automated services with structured operational processes and strong technical staffing, successful service providers will be able to amplify their abilities to manage customer environments via technology, rather than the traditional approaches of scaling through staffing or via leveraging offshore resources.

The Vendor Landscape Is Emergent

The market for cloud-enabled managed hosting is still in its early stages. While many participants in the market have refined their service delivery processes in the traditional managed hosting market over many years, much of this work still takes place behind the scenes with — in some cases — nothing more than a service ticket request system or a phone call as the lone interface for all of a customer's managed service needs. Over time, managed services will become more tightly integrated directly into service offerings, and will become more fully exposed to customers.

Furthermore, some providers have yet to connect their managed service capabilities to their IaaS platforms, even though market demands for computing capacity are quickly moving in the direction of cloud services. Eventually, IaaS will be the core offering underpinning cloud-enabled managed hosting, especially once mainstream IaaS platforms and leading providers can all provision bare-metal server capacity alongside virtual servers — all via the same platform, and leveraging common portals and APIs.

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Ability to Execute

Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.

Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.

Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.

Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.

Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.

Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.

Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.

Completeness of Vision

Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.

Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.

Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.

Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.

Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.

Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.

Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.

Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.