Dubai – MENA Herald: Gartner has identified Microsoft Azure as a leader in the analyst firm’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), for the third year in a row, with the company placed favorably based on both completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant analysis series has long been regarded as a decision-makers’ touchstone for determining the quality of both strategy and delivery for market players. Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform enables the creation of virtual networks, servers and machines, and supports multitenant storage, object storage and a robust content delivery network for both Microsoft`s and other vendor solutions. In addition, the Azure Marketplace offers third-party partners the ability to use the power and flexibility of the cloud to sell their own software and services. Azure also provides advanced services such as machine learning and Internet of things.

The Azure infrastructure is built on software that has security integrated from the ground up, and all data, whether at rest or in transit, is strongly encrypted. All of these offerings are supported by a leading-edge Cyber Defense Operations Centre that monitors customer infrastructure around the clock.

“We are, of course, thrilled and honoured that Microsoft Azure named a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader for the third year in a row,” said Necip Ozyucel, Cloud and Enterprise Business Solutions Lead, Microsoft Gulf. “The cloud remains a powerful tool for business and public-sector innovation and we are always focused on bringing the very best technologies to bear, so that our customers can get creative without having to consider the unwieldy logistics of growing their network or upgrading hardware and software. Microsoft Azure is open, flexible and enterprise platform that we believe strong enabler for businesses growth and competitiveness”

Gartner’s announcement comes at a time when the Gulf region is taking strident steps towards cloud infrastructure adoption. Saudi Arabia plans to invest $2 trillion in IT projects in the coming years, with a significant portion to be invested in cloud. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates will see a gradual growth in IT spend from now until 2020, according to a report from BMI Research. A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4% will inflate the sector to $5.3 billion by the end of this period, with service revenue taking $2.2 billion. An accompanying decline in hardware sales together with BMI’s prediction that SaaS will take an increasing share of software sales, strongly indicates a decisive shift to cloud for the country.

When Microsoft announced the G series of virtual machines, back in Q1 of 2015, it represented the most memory, highest processing power and the largest local SSD capacity of any VMs then available in the public cloud. The G series, has allowed Azure to lead the market with continued innovation supporting SAP HANA workloads up to 32 TB. Azure also has industry-wide recognition for its support of Linux and other open-source technologies having nearly one third of all Azure VMs on Linux boxes.

Gartner’s report singled out Microsoft’s “rapid rollout” of these new features and many others, signaling that the company’s brand and history, both with its customers and with its delivery of enterprise-class solutions and services, had all combined to allow the company to “rapidly attain the status of strategic cloud IaaS provider”.

“Microsoft Azure encompasses integrated IaaS and PaaS components that operate and feel like a unified whole,” Gartner analysts wrote. “Microsoft has been rapidly rolling out new features and services, including differentiated capabilities. It has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading standalone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center), development tools (including Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server

[TFS]), middleware and applications, as well as Microsoft’s SaaS offerings.”

Gartner’s analysts also cited Microsoft’s “deep investments” in engineering and “innovative roadmap” as crucial factors in the company’s current IaaS market standing. The report further recommends Microsoft Azure for General business applications and development environments that use Microsoft technologies; migration of virtualized workloads for Microsoft-centric organizations; cloud-native applications (including Internet of Things applications); and batch computing.