Although IBM has had a penchant for patting itself on the back regarding its cloud strategy, market watchers are beginning to give the company props for its cloud service offerings.
IBM announced that market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) named IBM as the second leading infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud provider behind Amazon Web Services (AWS).
According to IDC’s report, Worldwide Semi-Annual Public Cloud Services Tracker, 2H 2015, IBM Cloud was the second best provider of infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities including provisioning servers—both virtual and bare metal—storage and networking options.
IBM offers IaaS services along with a platform as a service and a vast array of SaaS offerings. IBM Cloud also offers a continually growing set of services supporting analytics, mobile, networking, storage, Internet of things and cognitive computing workloads backed by more than 47 global cloud data centers.
“We’re glad to see IDC recognize the momentum IBM Cloud is making as our investments in data center expansion continue to pay off,” Jim Comfort, CTO for IBM Cloud, said in a statement.
Comfort said IBM is seeing customer uptake across the board for all its IaaS capabilities to create their public, private or hybrid cloud environments. “It all comes down to enabling choice and providing the right mix of services,” he said.
In addition to the IDC recognition, just over a week ago, Technology Business Research (TBR) named IBM a market leader in public cloud IaaS adoption. In TBR’s semiannual Public Cloud Customer Research survey of 2,169 enterprises, respondents listed IBM as a leader because of its ability to provide customers with hybrid management tools while addressing data location and privacy concerns with its worldwide network of data centers.
Respondents to the TBR survey also cited IBM’s focus on attracting developers and delivering professional and managed services as reasons to rank the company among cloud leaders in the market.
“We continue to see strong enterprise adoption of public cloud services being driven by the need for hybrid management tools and solutions,” Kelsey Mason, an analyst at TBR, said in a statement. “The market is also consolidating, which leaves very few players remaining that can address customer demands around global reach and scale, as well as data security and compliance.”
In addition, TBR named IBM a market leader in cloud application development and transformation. In TBR’s recent report, Cloud Customer Research Topical Report: New vs. Legacy Applications, the firm ranked IBM as a leader in several categories, including “most widely adopted cloud platform.”
TBR also said IBM was highest in customer satisfaction and was the leader in enterprise adoption for application transformation services.
For this report, TBR surveyed users at more than 2,100 enterprises. The report also measured the results of legacy application migrations at nearly 700 enterprises.
IDC, TBR Name IBM an IaaS Cloud Leader
“TBR believes that IBM leads other vendors in application transformation because it provides customers a broad portfolio, complete with a dedicated services arm that allows it to cater to individual enterprise needs,” this TBR report said.
In the report, IBM’s cloud platform achieved high marks for providing developers with application portability, as well as enabling integration between applications from the same vendor and supporting APIs that extend to other vendors.
“IBM Cloud’s elevated position in IaaS revenues is at least partly due to the maturing of the cloud marketplace,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
Initially, cloud revenues were driven by public cloud deployments that favored AWS’ go-to-market strategy, but as that market matured and cloud services began playing increasingly important roles in mainstream IT, enterprise customers went looking for vendors that understood and were able to address their fundamental needs, King said.
“As a result, AWS, Microsoft and other IaaS contenders have spent the past 12 to 18 months stressing the ‘enterprise readiness’ of their cloud services,” King noted.
Indeed, in his firm’s report, IDC Chief Analyst Frank Gens said, “Technology and business innovators, almost daily, are creating new ways to deliver the benefits of cloud services to the market and so the territory steadily expands and definitional boundaries are repeatedly tested and sometimes shift.”
These recent reports indicate a possible resurgence for IBM Cloud, which has rarely been ranked among the top three cloud providers overall. Typically, the top three cloud providers are listed as AWS, Microsoft and Google, in that order. However, in January, two independent reports from Forrester Research and Synergy Research named IBM a leader in hybrid cloud management solutions.
Just last week, NetworkWorld reported that a recent Morgan Stanley survey showed that a number CIOs said they believe Microsoft could overtake AWS in the cloud in three years. That survey showed IBM behind AWS, Microsoft, Google and VMware in the cloud race.
However, according to King, “IBM leads that list by both reputation and design.”
King said IBM’s purchase of SoftLayer in 2013 was driven in large part by the company’s strong presence in global enterprises—SoftLayer counted more than 90 percent of the Fortune 100 as customers.
“Combined with IBM’s leading position in enterprise computing solutions, the pair forms a formidable cloud combination,” King said. “IDC’s new rankings confirm that point, and I expect future cloud market analyses will continue to place IBM at or near the top of IaaS rankings.”