Thursday, October 6, 2022

IBM Cloud Foundry Review

IBM’s Cloud Foundry solution provides a cloud-native platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to help developers deploy quickly, scale effortlessly, and avoid managing infrastructure.

Customers don’t need to worry about deploying and managing servers, virtual machines (VMs), or Kubernetes — Cloud Foundry provides a full-service experience.

See below to learn all about IBM Cloud Foundry and where it stands in the compute sector:

IBM Cloud Foundry and the compute market

IBM’s Cloud Foundry competes in the cloud computing market. In 2019, Allied Market Research estimated revenues for this market to be $325 billion and growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8%, with projections to reach $1.6 trillion by 2030.

As of 2021, Markets and Markets foresaw a market CAGR of 16.3% that will grow the $445.3 billion market to $947 billion by 2026. However, Grand View Research estimates a smaller market size of $369 billion growing with a slightly smaller CAGR of 15.7%.

IBM lags behind market leaders AWS, Microsoft, and Google in the cloud services market; however, its cloud revenue still grows at a robust 16% from quarter to quarter and is estimated to exceed $6 billion every three months.

The major competitors in the cloud computing market include: Alibaba Group; Amazon Web Services (AWS); Google Cloud; Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE); Microsoft; and Oracle.

IBM Cloud Foundry key features

  • Cloud Foundry is a serverless PaaS.
  • Customers pay only for running workloads.
  • The platform is available in five IBM Cloud regions.
  • Access Control by Role limits authorized actions and enforces security.
  • Automatic health monitoring will restart crashing applications manually.
  • Applications can be automatically placed across multiple data centers.
  • Cloud Foundry provides automatic routing for applications and establishment of internet-reachable routes.
  • Flexible polyglot support is available for deploying a variety of programming languages and applications.
  • Native integration is available with other IBM tools for blockchain, data tools, Internet of Things (IoT), and Watson: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
  • Cloud Foundry deploys on either on IBM’s Diego and Garden platform or on Kubernetes.

IBM Cloud Foundry key benefits

Customers that select tools such as Cloud Foundry often seek key benefits such as:

Flexible deployment

Cloud Foundry supports a huge variety of applications and programming languages through its containerized deployment on the Cloud Foundry platform. Developers obtain interoperable tools that can easily be moved or scaled through the IBM store or through the open-source Cloud Foundry ecosystem.

Turnkey deployment

Developers want to write code and make sure it works. They don’t want to be slowed down by the need to manage infrastructure such as servers, virtual machines, or containers.

Customers select IBM Cloud Foundry to develop cloud-native applications and skip all of the infrastructure headaches. IBM handles the security, the connections, and the operational optimization automatically until the customer chooses to take more control.

Vendor lock-in avoidance

IBM provides support for the open-source Cloud Foundry project, which provides the infrastructure underlying IBM’s PaaS. With open-source infrastructure that is used by other vendors, customers can enjoy the freedom to change vendors and avoid vendor lock-in.

Customers may select to use IBM because it provides support and access to the latest tools, but customers also know that if they are ever disappointed, they have the flexibility to change.

IBM Cloud Foundry use cases

Mawson’s Huts Foundation

Australia’s Mawson’s Huts Foundation preserves the legacy of Antarctic Exploration through education.

“[We…] educate schoolchildren and others about the continent itself and the importance of sustaining its pristine environment,” explained Greg Carter, chief executive officer at Mawson’s Huts Foundation. “[T]hat’s a big, big part of the mission: to inspire that next generation of scientists and people who want to change the world.”

To accomplish this mission Mawson’s Huts worked with ISW, an IBM Business Partner, to create a learning platform on the IBM Cloud Foundry that could tap into IBM Watson Assistant natural language processing (NLP) to process and answer questions from school children.

Initial results have been so promising that Mawson’s Huts may soon develop similar programs incorporating the United Kingdom and New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trusts.

ISW may roll out the process with other customers as well.

“We see an opportunity to use the same methodologies to develop learning platforms for other museums and organizations,” said Ian Warner, managing director at ISW. “And obviously IBM AI tools would be the logical choice for helping us reach those markets.”

Mueller

Mueller manufactures and retails steel products for use in building construction. Even though builders buy standardized products, Mueller’s customized quotation process required to cover the product variety and order specifications took so much time that the process sometimes led to expensive construction delays for its customers.

Mueller worked with IBM Garage support to design a flexible mobile app enabled by the IBM Cloud Foundry to deploy at scale without any infrastructure requirements. Together the IBM team shortened the app development from nine to 18 months to nine weeks, and it only takes 90 seconds to onboard a new customer.

“The mobile app we’ve built for our contractors eliminates countless hours of low-value work for our sales team,” said Mark Lack, manager of strategy analytics and business intelligence at Mueller. “That means each seller can handle a larger volume of business, so our business can scale much more easily.

“At the same time, customers and contractors can get their projects started faster, which boosts satisfaction and loyalty.”

Nextbridge

Pakistan’s Nextbridge Ltd. provides customers with customized software and mobile app development. Its development team uses IBM Cloud Foundry to host client projects efficiently and effectively, and its team posted a review on TrustRadius to explain why.

“IBM Cloud Foundry is one of the most powerful, highly scalable, and widely used platforms that not only offers IaaS and PaaS cloud services but also helps us in building new apps or migrating old ones,” explained Amir Yaqoob, software quality assurance engineer at Nextbridge Ltd. “It helps us in on-prem and off-prem deployments as well as bringing all of these elements together in the cloud for our ease and to help us solve real-world, difficult business challenges on this single platform effectively.

“IBM Cloud Foundry ensures that the build and deploy elements of coding are meticulously coordinated with any attached services, [ensuring] application iteration is swift, consistent, and dependable.”

IBM Cloud Foundry differentiators

Customers that select Cloud Foundry do so because of the following key differentiators:

Corporate reputation

Although the saying “You don’t get fired for buying IBM” may not be said quite as often as it used to be, no other cloud technology company can claim to have delivered technology improvements over a century. IBM remains a powerful and recognizable brand in the industry and companies know they can rely upon support for many years to come.

IBM partner support

As a development team looks to scale and support an application, it may need to start integrating additional tools, features, or even start developing infrastructure for support. Fortunately, IBM’s world-wide network of support and resale partners can provide additional expertise and guidance to help with both application development and deployment.

Integrated tools

IBM Cloud Foundry natively integrates with many IBM services such as IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service, IBM Cloud Code Engine, IBM Watson, and more. IBM also maintains a marketplace of third-party tools developed to support IBM customers and supports a variety of APIs for even more integration options.

Quick deployment

With no infrastructure to set up, developers can create cloud-native applications efficiently and skip many headaches. While they do give up some controls for security or operational efficiency, developers instead gain speed and freedom.

IBM Cloud Foundry user reviews

Review site Rating
Gartner Peer Insights 3.5 out of 5
TrustRadius 8.8 out of 10
G2 4 out of 5

IBM Cloud Foundry pricing

IBM offers a free trial and cost can be estimated through the IBM Cloud Code Engine pricing. Pricing is based on:

  • $0.000032 per virtual CPU (vCPU) second
  • $0.0000033 per GB per second
  • $0.5 per 1 million HTTP requests

Customers can deploy quickly through IBM’s website and create an IBM Cloud Pay-As-You-Go account for billing. All customers receive $200 in credits upon setting up the account.

Customers can also choose to work through IBM partners to obtain potential price discounts and more robust support and services. Integrations with other IBM tools such as IBM Watson or natural language processing usually require additional fees.

Conclusions

Many cloud environments require customers to consume time and money to deploy and manage computing resources such as servers, virtual machines, and kubernetes platforms. IBM Cloud Foundry instead provides a PaaS in which most of the infrastructure needs automatically deploy and the customer only needs to worry about the application containers.

With a free trial and a $200 credit available, performing a test evaluation will be very cost effective and relatively simple. Customers that do not want to use resources managing cloud security, servers, and networking should definitely consider adopting the much simpler PaaS Cloud Foundry solution offered by IBM.

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