Top Takeaways From The Forrester Wave™: Public Cloud Development And Infrastructure Platforms In Europe, Q1 2023
The European vendors’ landscape for public cloud development and infrastructure platforms (PCDIPs) is dominated by hyperscalers. Hyperscalers shine particularly in core competencies such as storage and compute capabilities and their ability to rapidly scale and build resilience into their services, but European HQ organizations rated as Strong Performers also made strong claims in areas such as data sovereignty requirements and sustainability, and AI and ML were areas where, in very specific use cases, some Strong Performers excelled over the Leaders in this Forrester Wave™ evaluation.
The presence of European and non-European vendors in the region does open interesting scenarios for multicloud implementations. In Europe, these have one further layer of complication compared to other geographies. One area to watch is the political and regulatory developments, which set up rules and frameworks that favor European-based organizations. Some client organizations may be swayed or strong-armed by their local regulators and politicians into looking into alternatives to the hyperscalers. Vendors such as the Italian Mia-Platform, for example, do offer a fully managed environment ready to use for development teams where code, run, security, and infrastructure operations are all managed by Mia-Platform. As sovereignty requirements get more stringent, such vendors may look more and more attractive to some European clients. Hyperscalers are having to double down on their cloud sovereignty initiatives and work with regulators in order to meet their concerns and demonstrate to clients that they are being transparent with where their activities are being processed and how they are being supported in the Europe region. Here are our main takeaways from the Wave evaluation:
- Sovereignty requirements have the potential to disrupt the European PCDIP market in the future. Following the regulations to enforce the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework, the requirements to qualify cloud services as sovereign are becoming more stringent. Public cloud vendors are getting ready for this not only with their own offerings but also by enlarging their partner network to make sure that they can meet sovereignty requirements for customer locations. Vendors need specific offerings for the hardware (e.g., the AWS Outposts service), the software, and the data itself, as per the definition of digital sovereignty from the World Economic Forum. Upcoming regulation does have the potential to divert some offerings from the European cloud market from hyperscalers to locally based firms to meet the aims and requirements of regulators in specific countries.
- Sustainability is not yet a key requirement, but vendors are getting ready. PCDIP vendors are heavily investing in building sustainable cloud operations and services, with varying degrees of maturity. Google, for example, is carbon-neutral in owned data centers since 2007. The French vendor OVHcloud refrigerates its data centers with water cooling technologies instead of air conditioning, which has a heavier carbon footprint. German provider T-Systems provides a financial/enterprise dashboard for sustainability, integrated with cost management tools.
- Partnerships characterize the Leaders’ offerings while smaller vendors gain attention in niche areas. Leaders in the European market for public cloud development and infrastructure platforms not only have the broadest range of services but also a larger number of partners and marketplaces with which to serve these up to customers. Vendors do try to offer as many services natively as possible but do recognize that clients want to be able to use their own technology choices in the cloud and have had to provide for that. Additionally, hyperscaler services do not manage to keep pace with more specialized offerings from niche vendors, which is where partnerships come into play. Outside of the big vendors’ partnership ecosystems, smaller European vendors do deliver some workloads in ways preferred by local European customers.
- Hardware and network capabilities play a role beyond typical infrastructure features. Not only do the services and the partnerships set vendors apart, but so do their capabilities in the hardware and network space. In the hardware context, AWS Outposts enables customers to build and run applications on-premises using the same programming interfaces as in AWS Regions. For network capabilities, T-Systems’ Open Telekom Cloud has a two-provider strategy to optimize routing and latency. Hardware and network, though, are just two sample aspects of specific services that influence the choice of a cloud vendor versus the other.
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