Cloud computing has now become the essential driving force for business in the current market on a global level. On various occasions as developers, service providers & startup founders we keep comparing between the best cloud service providers. We want to hit that perfect goal that satisfies the pocket, project requirement, and the output while harnessing the power of the cloud. It’s a small battle at some point in time. Isn’t it? When Microsoft came up with Azure it took with a nice surprise & yet, the companies like IBM Cloud or Amazon Azure have nurtured the cloud computing over the years. Concerns regarding security and data sovereignty have been addressed by the big three players in public cloud: Amazon Web service (AWS), IBM Cloud & Microsoft Azure.
Amazon was the first one who introduced ‘commoditized’ cloud computing solutions back in 2004 in the form of first AWS. Since then, they kept innovating and adding services to keep an upper-hand in the market. This also makes them expensive as compared to other cloud providers. Google, Microsoft, IBM later came into the game, bringing their own ideas and infrastructure, and quickly become up to the par with AWS.
AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud offers somewhat similar capabilities around flexible compute, storage and networking. All three provide self-service, instant provisioning, compliance, and identity management services, auto-scaling as common elements of the public cloud. All three vendors are strong in machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence, and have added machine learning tools and features targeted at latest technology such as internet of thing (IoT) and service less computing. As you can see, compute offerings of AWS, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure have a great deal in common but they also have several differentiating features that make them unique from each other on many levels such as how they name and group their services along with the pricing. Let’s take a look at some key differences among these three.
IBM Bluemix cloud is a Platform as a service (PaaS) that supports several programming languages & tons of services that help in development as well as in operations. Unlike AWS, the IBM Cloud helps run, deploy and manage applications over the cloud in few minutes. Choose any runtime language or your own & you can put your project in zero to production within minutes.
With the features like Bluemix Live Sync, we can update a running app automatically by connecting your Git repo through a simple interface, integrated source code editor, charts for projects status & much more.
A large catalog of third-party & IBM open source APIs allows developers to connect to any application with ease & fast, through IBM API connect.
IBM Cloud has three primary sections: Infrastructure, applications & services. The infrastructure is available through SoftLayer data centers which are interconnected with the unmetered private network. It has the ability to provision bare-metal servers. Applications go on CloudFoundry, Open Whisk or Docker. And, the Services has a huge portfolio such as Watson, Databases, Analytics & lots more.
From the storage perspective, Amazon simple storage service (S3) has been running the longest thus it has extensive documentation in the form of webinars, sample code and libraries, articles and tutorials. Moreover, Amazon has a very active discussion forum where Amazon developers provide useful information on regular basis. As compared to Amazon’s S3, Microsoft Azure storage and IBM Cloud storage is nowhere as sophisticated although their storage services are admittedly reliable and robust. Amazon storage service is quite expensive so those who want to have storage within a limited budget then Microsoft Azure storage or IBM Cloud storage can be considered as great options.
As far as the bandwidth is concerned, the IBM cloud charges only for the bandwidth that leaves from your account & the bandwidth used within its worldwide private network is absolutely unmetered.
With Watson on IBM Bluemix infrastructure, you get access to one of the most sophisticated cognitive technologies for building secured smart apps that can analyze & deliver text, images or video content within the app.
IBM cloud provides the foundation for enterprise apps, including those with a mobile-first approach. Push notifications, functionality, docker-based to apiconnect-based Flexible development environments, & overall security are some of the key points to pick IBM cloud.
This article is part of the series of articles that I’m writing recently on IBM Cloud (We’d decided to deploy an app on AWS, now comparing various options at hand) & hence I’ll be using that as the pivot for this comparison. Please note that the actual availability of the infrastructure or services mentioned here may differ. So, feel free to add in comments if you’ve something to add.
|IBM Cloud||Amazon AWS||Microsoft Azure|
Blockchain as a Service
|Cloud Automation Manager||X||X|
Simple Queue Service
|WebSphere Application Server||X||X|
|Cloud Foundry||Elastic Beanstalk||Web Apps Cloud Services|
|Kubernetes||EC2 Container Service||Container Service|
|OpenWhisk||Lambda||Functions / WebJobs / Logic Apps|
|App ID||Identity & Access control||Azure AD/Role-based control|
|Application security||Inspector||Security Center|
|Single Sign On||Directory Service||Azure Active Directory|
|Key Protect||Key Management Service||Key Vault|
|Dedicated virtual servers||✓|
|Bluemix private cloud||X||X|
|Bare metal servers||X||X|
VMware on AWS cloud
|Hardware security module||✓|
Azure key vault
EC2 elastic GPUs
|Block storage||Elastic block storage||Premium storage|
|File storage||Elastic file system||File storage|
|IBM cloud object storage||S3||Blob storage|
|Mass storage servers||X||X|
|Quantastor storage appliances||X||X|
|DNS||Route 53||DNS traffic manager|
|Local Load Balancing||Elastic Load Balancing||Load balancer Application Gateway|
|Dedicated Netscaler VPX/MPX||X||X|
|Vyatta gateway appliance||X||X|
|Private Network||Virtual Private Cloud||Virtual Network|
|Dedicated hardware firewall||X||X|
Network security groups
Not with EC2
|Evault||Backup & Recovery||Cloud Backup|
|Data & Analytics Services|
|BigInsights for Hadoop||X||X|
|MySQL||Amazon RDS||Azure Database for MySQL|
Simple Queue Service
|Redis||ElastiCache||Azure Redis Cache|
|dashDB||Redshift||SQL Data Warehouse|
|dashDB for Transactions||Redshift||SQL Data Warehouse|
|Data Science Experience||X||X|
Earth on AWS
|IBM DB2 CLOUD||X||X|
|IBM Master Data Management||X||X|
|IBM Watson Machine Learning||✓|
|Lift||Data Pipeline||Data Factory|
|Master Data Management||X||X|
|Streaming Analytics||Kinesis Analytics||Data Lake Analytics|
|Weather Company Data||X||X|
Bing speech API
Bing Autosuggest API
|Natural language classifier||✓|
Speech recognition API
|Retrieve & rank||X||X|
|Speech to text||✓|
Bing speech API
|Text to speech||✓|
Bing speech API
Linguistic analysis API
Computer Vision API
|Internet of Things (IoT)|
IoT (Preview) / Kinesis Firehose
IoT Hub / Event Hubs
|IoT for electronics||X||X|
|IoT for insurance||X||X|
On IBM Cloud we get a standard configuration server up & running within 20-30 mins. GPU cards, SAP certified servers, power servers built on IBM OpenPower architecture are also available for setting up under the bare metal server provisioning. Configuring the VMware servers is a matter of minutes through the IBM VMware Solution.
Of course, there’re projects when you won’t need every bit of the services. In such cases, you’re good to go even with lesser matured but reliable platforms.
With the given wide range of infrastructure, services, cognitive abilities, Blockchain & the subject matter expertise – I’m inclined to deploy the next project on IBM Cloud. I’ll keep you posted if & when I do that.
But, I won’t judge any provider here & rather, I’ll let you decide what to choose. All these three offers free trial & free tier for easy on boarding & testing before we finalize on any one of them. Let me know how it goes.