Why is IBM cloud not widely used?

aarushikansal profile image Aarushi Kansal ・1 min read

I started using IBM mainly because I needed more computing power for my machine learning projects, and I actually found IBM less complicated, cheaper (for my projects not sure about other usecases) and the overall user experience was much nicer than other cloud providers....and yet I don't know anyone in my network that uses IBM for their work or side projects?


markdown guide

I believe that is the IBM part that scare people away ;)


Could you elaborate on that a bit more? I keep hearing that sentiment as I do more research about IBM's offerings, but I'm not sure exactly what is so scary about IBM. Do those concerns span both their cloud and legacy offerings?


Sure. Although sarcasm is all over my comment, from the indie perspective IBM represents the gray man, the heartless corporate without a soul, or definitive head.
That comes from the obscure history from Apple begging, when they were already this grown industry, tapping in government contracts, massive employment, policies, rules.
IBM also represent corporation culture at it's peak. Massive conglomerate monster where employees are just bare numbers, their solutions are okayish but is the legacy of their mindset what drives and paint them as the enemy.

That makes sense. I've been viewing them in a similar mindset to Microsoft... corporate roots but a slow road to becoming more relevant. (ie. Microsoft in the last 3 years). I definitely see where there is still a long way to go through. Since I've never used their legacy products, I don't have as much of a background.

Unfortunately, all the major players are somewhat conglomerates at this point. Google is probably the least so right now, by a hair, but taking Amazon as a whole into account (not just their AWS division), there are definitely some major corporate culture hangups over there.


I evaluated IBM's cloud offering a few years ago, and it felt without focus, without direction, and geared towards getting you into costly multi-year service contracts. They had a few good things (Watson and OpenSwift IIRC) but the rest was just acquire-and-try-to-paint-it-blue.

As someone else has already stated, they have a difference target market, and their message usually goes toward different ears.


I think the main reason is that their targeting enterprise deals. IBM has been working in the enterprise sales space for as long as I have been in technology (only about 8 years professionally, but it's something). My current career is in the small and medium market and I never see any IBM products anymore.


I'm also interested in this. We are doing a rewrite of the backend of our app and I'm leaning towards IBM for the easiness of their dashboard, developer experience, CLI, etc. I find it to be much easier than Google's offerings (which we're currently still relying on primarily). My background is in design thinking and IBM has been a leader in the design thinking arena for a long time. I think it shows through in the experience they provide.

We also have used IBM's sentiment and personality analysis tools for well over a year and they are phenomenal compared to Google's (and I haven't found anything comparable from AWS).

I also feel they do a better job of supporting the open source community than Amazon does. The stink of Amazon's controversy last year really left a bad taste in my mouth. Meanwhile, it seems like IBM does more to bolster large open-source projects (such as Openwhisk). Many of their services seem to be more of a marketplace model than Amazon's "copy, privatize, and market" strategy. With IBM, marketplace offerings are first-class citizens.

The biggest concern I have is the lack of community. For example, the last release of the Openwhisk package for the Serverless framework was over a year ago and there is much less focus on CI/CD tools and plugins for IBM's services compared to AWS.

With all that said, I've only used their functions and sentiment offerings, so I don't know about the rest of their services. I'm coming away very impressed though!


The main reason is like that IBM just has a different business model.

A perceived lack of marketing isn't a weakness. You just likely aren't their target audience. IBM, and other companies in a similar space (like Oracle) don't deal in commercial and consumer applications.

IBM is a "big fish" contractor. Think education, government and the enormous faceless corporations you've never heard of. Their model goes against the idea of "a-la-carte, pay as you use" subscriptions.

They're focused on locking in multi-million dollar deals spanning multiple years.

This may change eventually, but it's just not their target right now. It's an entirely different market and business spsce that requires different business investments in things like support, whereas their existing client base is more easily translated to cloud using everything they already have in place.


I wasn't even aware they offered it.