Forrester on Private Clouds: Platform Looks the Best … For Now

So many choices ...

Analyst firm Forrester published an assessment report on private cloud software this week, and Platform Computing, with its ISF software, appears to have the most-complete offering based on Forrester’s criteria. For now.

The report’s authors, James Staten and Laura E. Nelson, ranked 16 private-cloud products across 10 criteria, giving each vendor a score ranging from zero to four in each category. By my count, Platform ISF scored a total of 26 points, with VMware (s vmw), HP (s hpq) and IBM (s ibm) close on its heels with 25 points apiece. Abiquo also scored surprisingly well, while the other vendors — CA (s ca),, Dell (s dell), Enomaly, Eucalyptus, Hexagrid, Microsoft (s msft), newScale and Tibco (s tibx) — all scored from the teens into the low twenties.

Interestingly, Forrester didn’t tabulate and present these scores in the report, just the individual scores for each criterion. I’m guessing this was strategic because, as the authors note early on, “We’re just in the infancy of private cloud solutions. Many of the products now on the market are less than two years old, which means they have a ways to go on completeness, level of integration, and polish . . . .” They also point out that the private-cloud market double in size in the next year, with a number of products slated to be released by Red Hat (s rht), Nimbula, Cisco (s csco) and others.

Forrester appears to take a view of private clouds similar to one that I took earlier this week, which is that it’s just too early to call any vendor dead or to proclaim any vendor the champion. It tried to objectively gauge where the market is right now, focusing on specific capabilities, while allowing plenty of room for growth across the board. I’m not particularly surprised by Platform’s relative success (see previous reporting on ISF) or that VMware scored high, but Forrester is correct in its assessment that a lot could change in a relatively short time as products evolve and new ones hit the market.

For anyone looking at private clouds today, this report is definitely worth a look. But know that nothing is static in cloud computing, so having a grasp on what you need now, what you’d like in the future and whether any given product will get there some day is critical.  If one product doesn’t fit your needs, another might. Or just wait a few months to see what’s new.

Image courtesy of Flickr user NatalieMaynor.