A new Gartner Magic Quadrant report is available this week covering the public cloud computing vendors. Not surprisingly, AWS received top honors, although Terremark, Savvis and CSC were also praised. Bluelock, a smaller vendor, also got props. The report is very detailed in the usual Gartner manner and is a must-read for enterprise IT architects who are evaluating players in this space.

We can't reproduce the graphic, but we did review the entire report, written by Lydia Leong and blogged about by her here.

Leong looked at simple and multiple workloads, both managed and unmanaged, from 20 cloud providers. Each provider had to offer services in at least two separate data centers and have more than $10 million in IaaS revenue in 2010. The PaaS vendors weren't covered, even though it is getting harder to distinguish what is a platform and what is an infrastructure service. It is Gartner's first-such MQ evaluation of this set of vendors.

What was unusual, and Leong admits this in her post, is that she actually got her hands dirty and tried each of the services out personally. To my knowledge, this is new for Gartner (hands-on testing). I mean, she actually had to use her personal credit card to spin up an account on each provider! Good for her. Here are some of the highlights:

  • More aspects of IT operations management are being automated, so that IaaS offers value beyond self-service provisioning. "For companies with reasonable access to capital and which already have an IT operations team, today's IaaS offerings may not represent cost savings for typical business workloads."

  • Customers do not usually save money by using cloud IaaS. In case you didn't read the above bullet point, Leong emphasizes that it is agility, not costs, for which the cloud is currently used by enterprises.

  • Very few of the service providers she looked at have an SLA for compute or storage performance. They do have SLAs for network availability and other service requests, however. This is an important point to keep in mind. And some of the providers offer less-than-stellar agreement levels, too.

  • Very few of the service providers offer availability and performance monitoring, visible in their customer portal, as part of their self-service IaaS offering. That surprised me. I wish she would have included a few screenshots in the report, but then Gartner is still learning how to do this hands-on thing.

  • Very few also offered a standardized architecture across their public and private cloud offerings. GoGrid and CSC are ones that do offer this feature, should that be important to you.

On the whole, I give Gartner high marks on this MQ. Leong takes pains to distinguish the many different IaaS flavors, and to try to delineate when you would want to use one or the other with her different providers.