When an enterprise moves computing workloads to the cloud, both Google Cloud and IBM Cloud offer reasonable alternatives. However, each system’s history and strengths are different.
The central concept of cloud computing remains relatively simple: Distribute and access applications and data over the internet without having to worry about the details of managing on-premises servers, firewalls, networks, storage or software. Cloud computing shifts responsibility for many routine tasks from an enterprise administrator to a cloud service provider.
As a technology decision maker considers cloud migration options, the options are narrowing rapidly. While AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud all feature in enterprise IT cloud lists (the first two often lead by some market share metrics), each of the latter two competitors deserves serious consideration. While a few key differences between Google Cloud and IBM Cloud are discussed below, be sure to contact each vendor for the latest changes as both vendors continue to expand and evolve.
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What is Google Cloud?
Since 2008, Google Cloud has provided a wide range of services to help customers develop, run, manage, and analyze high-performance cloud applications, databases, storage, and analytics. Google Cloud solutions also offer connectivity to various artificial intelligence and machine learning-based systems that perform various image, text, and speech services. A few prominent clients include Major League Baseball, Snap, and Twitter.
What is IBM Cloud?
IBM aggressively entered the cloud market with the acquisition of SoftLayer in 2013 and embraced open source technologies by acquiring Red Hat in 2019. The company’s diverse cloud offerings include Kubernetes service managed on bare hardware and Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud. The 2015 acquisition of The Weather Company not only helps the company showcase its diverse machine learning capabilities, but also provides actionable big data-based forecasts to retailers and other customers. Other notable IBM Cloud clients include American Airlines, ExxonMobile and the US Open.
Google Cloud and IBM Cloud: Feature comparison
Google Cloud provides solutions to help organizations migrate or modernize as customers move to the cloud. A standard migration can migrate VMs from on-premises systems or other cloud solutions to Google Compute Engine.
A Google Cloud modernization can migrate applications to containers so they can run on Anthos clusters, Cloud Run, or Google Kubernetes Engine. The Migration Center, announced by Google at the Google Cloud Next ’22 event, aims to help people with both of these transitions. Dual Run allows an organization to run existing mainframe systems together with a Google Cloud solution to ensure a smooth migration for cautious mainframe customers looking for high reliability.
Anthos is Google’s managed platform that aims to help administrators more easily control different applications deployed to Google Cloud, other cloud solutions, edge and on-premises systems. Anthos aims to simplify and automate many tasks in a hybrid or multicloud environment to provide appropriate access, policies and performance to systems no matter where the workloads are.
IBM Cloud supports two broad approaches to cloud migration. First, lift and slide lets you move existing applications, workloads, and data to the IBM Cloud. Given the company’s long history of relationships with many organizations, this approach is likely to meet the needs of a significant number of large enterprise and government clients of IBM. Second, application modernization moves applications from standard server or mainframe-centric architectures to contemporary containers or serverless computing structures.
IBM supports four sets of solutions and tools to move workloads to the cloud.
- IBM Cloud Classic to ClassicIt helps you migrate from one full hardware server to another full hardware server in IBM Cloud classic environment.
- From IBM Cloud Classic to IBM Cloudwhich helps you move from bare hardware server to virtual server instance environment.
- Virtualized workloads to IBM Cloudhelps you move workloads from a VMware virtual machine to a virtual server on IBM Cloud.
- DIY automationHelps you migrate Intel x86 virtual machines to an IBM Cloud virtual server instance.
A cloud vendor’s data center locations can significantly affect a customer’s perception of performance. Applications and data delivered from a location close to a customer will likely result in lower latency, while longer distances can cause delays. Not every cloud service available for either company is available in every cloud data center location specified.
Google Cloud is available in 35 regions, 106 subregions, and 173 network end locations (Figure A). The company states that Google Cloud is available in more than 200 countries and regions. More importantly, Google claims to be carbon neutral for operations today and has a goal of running carbon-neutral energy in all data centers at all times by 2030.
Similarly, IBM Cloud delivers workloads across nine regions and 46 data centers (Figure B). IBM serves customers in more than 175 countries. According to the IBM 2021 environmental, social and corporate governance report, IBM aims to source 90% of all the electricity the company uses worldwide from renewable sources by 2030.
Google Cloud and IBM Cloud: Which should you choose?
Both Google Cloud and IBM Cloud can be a smart choice for an enterprise client. However, the benefits and challenges of working with each vendor are different.
Google Cloud customers have access to Google’s cloud-first approach since enterprise and enterprise cloud offerings were created in the modern cloud era. The company’s widely accepted advances in AI and machine learning will likely also interest many customers. While Google technologies are generally excellent, only in recent years has the organization moved aggressively to gather more people and partners with deep, industry-specific expertise to engage with enterprise customers.
IBM Cloud clients benefit from IBM’s enterprise-centric approach, as the company and its offerings provide solutions spanning the ages of computing, from mainframes to client-server to cloud. IBM Cloud means a lot to customers who depend on high reliability, high volume, or high security enterprise or government systems that want to shift certain tasks to a modern cloud architecture. IBM Cloud technologies represent a capable and diverse set of solutions paired with consulting expertise. As acquisitions form a significant part of its cloud initiatives, the company had to work on integrating the offerings into a consistent and consistent cloud solution.
What is your cloud experience?
Has your organization chosen to use Google Cloud or IBM Cloud? Which key differentiator(s) made this decision? Did the capabilities of any of these vendors cause your organization to move more workloads from on-premises systems to the cloud? Message me or mention me on Twitter (@woolber) to let me know how your Google Cloud or IBM Cloud experience is.