Strengths: Azure's integrated IaaS and PaaS components "operate and feel like a unified whole."
And Microsoft has been busy rapidly rolling out new features and services in line with a vision of cloud that extends to on-premise Microsoft infrastructure, development tools, middleware and its SaaS application portfolio.
"Microsoft is also becoming more open and less reliant upon its Windows franchise, and Azure's support for Linux and other open-source technologies is improving quickly," the Gartner report stated.
Cautions: Building out its Azure ecosystem is still a work in progress as Microsoft aggressively recruits managed services and professional services partners.
"But many of these partners lack extensive experience with the Azure platform, which can compromise the quality of the solutions they deliver to customers," Gartner noted.
Many of its partners don't take advantage of cloud-native capabilities, reducing the value their customers receive from Azure, the report said.