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IBM Cloud vs. Oracle

The Cloud is largely dominated by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google at the time of writing with Alibaba still far off but looking to make gains in the near future. That being said, even tech giants like Oracle and IBM have mostly fallen by the wayside compared to their purported contemporaries in the race to produce cloud solutions. Not that these options will outright harm an organization’s ability in the cloud, but there are some risk factors that are worth considering.

Standings in the Cloud

 

International Business Machines (IBM) is a century-old company and is probably one of the more renowned information technology companies globally, yet hasn’t invested in the cloud until much more recently.  In 2019, IBM acquired Red Hat to manage its hybrid cloud services for the foreseeable future and hopes to continuously develop its services with the intention of outsourcing the development of hybrid cloud and AI technologies going forward.  But even with all of its newly acquired assets to begin breaking into the cloud industry, IBM barely makes up 5% of the market share.  Even with tools as valuable as Turbonomic, there’s plenty of ground to close with the likes of AWS.

Oracle Corporation is a fairly big company too, coming in as the third-largest software company back in 2020, and has developed a lot of what they have to offer in-house.  Oracle’s cloud shares make up a meager 2% and while the company does see some growth year over year, it’s still leagues behind the majority of its competitors.  Generally speaking, both companies are just really far behind the curb when it comes to what they have to offer compared to other cloud services.

Services on Offer

 

In total, IBM does have one hundred and seventy four services available, covering most of what’s expected from a cloud service including AI and Machine learning, monitoring cloud activity, storage, and security.  Additionally, the tools they have do encompass the needs of both on-premises and on-cloud applications.  With some of the acquisitions IBM has made, they can extend their own containerized solutions through Kubernetes.  More importantly, IBM can still be a viable solution for legacy applications, especially ones with memory-intensive 

By comparison, Oracle has sixty five services available with industry-standard services such as Kubernetes and Terraform.  Their databases utilize machine learning to initiate repairs and optimize to ensure functionality and increased performance.  Through their partnership with Microsoft Azure, customers can also run multi-cloud applications, migrate their services to the cloud and between both cloud services, and deploy full stack apps to a multi-cloud environment without losing performance or resilience.  Additionally, Oracle does provide dedicated regions for data centers, edge computing, and more.

Availability

 

At the time of writing, IBM has over sixty data centers and nine multi-zone regions in high Internet traffic areas in at least six continents.  With at least twenty-six hundred points of presence across these data centers, they allow up to 20 TB of bandwidth.  The costs can vary for their services depending on discounts for monthly usage and the negotiated price tag with users.  There are also twenty services that are always free and eleven that do allow for a free trial.  Unfortunately, under the right circumstances, IBM’s services can be more expensive compared to its competitors.

As for Oracle, their services are available in twenty-nine cloud regions.  Each with at least three fault domains and three availability domains to protect customers from outages and data loss.  Availability zones also support Software as a Service solutions to compound existing value.  Pricing is a complex issue, as on top of the usual pricing scale for the duration of use and the type of resources used, users who have paid for licensing in the past do get additional discounts.  But even with all of those benefits, it just isn’t enough to truly stack up against AWS’ affordability.

Shortcomings

 

IBM is largely regarded as severely lagging behind everyone else in the cloud market, especially for a company with such an extensive legacy of technological ventures.  Its coverage is weaker and has fewer products on offer that customers could find elsewhere.  While Microsoft and Amazon display a 45-50% growth rate, IBM doesn’t even break half of that amount.  Furthermore, customers have complained in the past about a glitchy UI and the multi-user login is fairly complicated.

Oracle also has an unfavorably small share in database Platforms as a Service - a historically important matter to plenty of Oracle’s customers.  While Oracle has tried to provide newer services for developing and deploying applications, its customers haven’t been adopting these as fast as they were hoping.  External tools are difficult to integrate and the platform does take a considerable amount of time to get used to navigating through.  Oracle’s cloud also has poor performance for .NET based solutions.  This is all before users can begin to consider the slew of controversies that have repeatedly tarnished Oracle’s image and how it indirectly affects impressions of Oracle’s viability.

Overall, neither platform is particularly recommended to be used as the options are fewer, less elegant than others already on the market, aren’t growing as fast, aren’t as affordable as some contemporaries on the market, and aren’t as accessible across the globe.  Amazon, Microsoft, and Google - despite their own shortcomings - have already established themselves in the cloud as much more dependable services for customers to maximize the bang for their buck.

Dolan Cleary
Dolan Cleary

I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and am now working with AllCode as a web technician.

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