Strengths and weaknesses of IBM Cloud platform

Strengths and weaknesses of IBM Cloud platform

Cloud services are already very popular today and their popularity and adoption are still growing. The demand for these services is on the rise which results in the increasing number of cloud services providers. However, the leaders of the market have already taken their positions and it doesn’t seem that they are ready to give up and lose their places on the top. In this article, we offer you to pay attention to such a strong player in the global arena as IBM Cloud. You have definitely heard about it, right? Read this post to get more information!

Brief history of IBM Cloud

Though the history of modern cloud computing began not so long ago, the first experience of IBM in this sphere dates back to the 1950s when the mainframe was invented. However, the company started its journey in modern cloud computing in 2008. It unveiled its Software as a Service (SaaS) initiative dubbed Bluehouse. Then in 2009, it was rebranded to LotusLive but later it got another name - IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.

2009 was rich in events as IBM also launched its first Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution called IBM Smart Business Storage Cloud as well as the Cloudburst that could help to set up private clouds. In 2011 a set of cloud services SmartCloud saw the light of the day.

With the acquisition of SoftLayer in 2013, IBM reached an important milestone. Having acquired this cloud computing infrastructure provider, the company got a foundation for its IaaS products. SoftLayer was a separate service but its technology was also integrated into IBM solutions.

Later, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) service dubbed Bluemix was rolled out. It provided users with access to PaaS and IaaS offerings via a single console. In 2017, the entire portfolio of cloud solutions was rebranded and united under one name - IBM Cloud.

Today it is a full-stack public cloud platform that can offer more than 170 services and products related to such spheres and aspects as AI, blockchain, Internet of Things, containers and data.

The platform offers a combination of PaaS with IaaS. It is considered to be one of the most secure and open platforms of its kind for businesses that have different goals and work in a wide range of industries. Small teams, as well as huge enterprises, can use the provided solutions with a high level of efficiency.

Though the market share of IBM Cloud is far not the largest one (around 4-6%, while AWS, for example, has won 32-33% of the market), the number of users who opt for IBM is growing as well as the quality and quantity of services offered.

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IBM Cloud products

As we have already mentioned there are over 170 products and services and, of course, we won’t describe all of them. However, let us highlight at least the core ones.

  • Computation: there are resources for any workflow. For example, with Red Hat® OpenShift® you can create and deploy container-based apps while with WebSphere® App Server it is possible to launch either already existing or new Java apps in the cloud. IBM Cloud Functions is a Functions as a Service (FaaS) platform on Apache OpenWhisk that supports multiple programming languages. And that’s only a few examples.
  • Network management: you can manage different types of networks simply and cost-effectively. For instance, IBM Cloud Content Delivery Network can help you to minimize latency and eliminate risks to face network traffic jams.
  • Storage: IBM has private, public and hybrid cloud solutions. There’s the possibility to choose from object, block and file storage services. Moreover, you can use the mass data migration tool as well as a cloud backup and recovery solution that supports 3-party integration, scaling and encryption.

This list is only a small part of all the capacities available to IBM Cloud customers. For example, IBM Watson® that is known as AI for businesses is one of the highly-demanded services. It serves for creating ML solutions and is able to process natural language as well as to recognize visual objects.

Among other options, there are monitoring and logging tools, developer tools, tools for apps and data integration, data science tools, data warehouses, SQL and NoSQL databases and many other products that can help to bring real value to your business.

There is one more very important thing to mention. IBM offers many services free of charge. If we compare the number of free services provided by different cloud product vendors, we will see that IBM Cloud is definitely among the most generous platforms.

Pricing policy

IBM Cloud is known for having a very flexible pricing policy that provides various schemes and variants for clients with different needs and possibilities. There is a row of pricing models and you are free to choose any you want. Moreover, when you see the necessity you can upgrade or downgrade your subscription plan based on the needs of your business.

  1. Lite. To create your Lite account you even do not need a credit card. With this plan, you can use over 40 services on the IBM Cloud platform for free.
  2. Pay-as-you-go. This plan is a very popular option among businesses. In this case, you have to pay only for those resources that you’ve used.
  3. Reserved instances. If you know the needs of your business quite well and can predict the amount of resources you will use within 1-year or 3-year periods, you can pay for them beforehand and get a discount.
  4. Subscription. If you choose this variant you will have fully predictable bills as well as discounted rates for the services within a long-term commitment.
  5. Payment plans. To decrease up-front cash outlays and enhance cash flow, you can opt for one of the payment plans available today.

If you want to plan your budget and to estimate the costs of IBM Cloud services for your business, you can use an online cost calculator by IBM. To calculate your expenses you can add services from the IBM Cloud catalog and the system will display your total sum. You can try out different combinations to find the most suitable and feasible configuration. The system will also show you how pricing is formed and provide you with valuable tips on how to spend less without losing the quality of services.

Pros and cons of IBM Cloud

Let’s start with the strong sides of the platform:

  • The company is actively working with 3-party vendors to offer new integrations and products.
  • That’s the only major cloud vendor that provides bare metal servers on a subscription base. These are single-tenant servers that are known for their reliability and excellent performance.
  • IBM Cloud implements a “data first” approach which is highly demanded among businesses.
  • The pricing policy is extremely flexible and there are a lot of different options for any budget.

And as it is quite clear we can’t forget about the disadvantages:

  • If you are looking for a quick and short-term solution, IBM Cloud with a bare metal server is not the best solution for you as the configuration of this server is usually a rather time-consuming process.
  • IBM is a huge company with a great number of clients which may lead to a less individual approach than you expect to get.

If you are interested in building cloud apps or migrating your existing software to the cloud, the Softacom team is at your disposal. We are always open to communication and are ready to help you to find the most suitable solution for your situation.