IBM has announced businesses across the US have ranked IBM the #1 cloud computing provider, according to an IDC survey of US market preferences for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Enterprises ranked Amazon 7th, behind Google (5th) and Microsoft (6th).  The rankings are based on responses from more than 400 US-based companies with more than 1,000 employees. 

Cloud providers were also rated on their quality of service for availability, speed of provisioning, simplicity and overall cost. IBM's IaaS platforms include SoftLayer, an IBM Company, acquired in July 2013 and IBM Cloud Managed Services.

According to the study, "IDC: U.S. Buyers Rank IBM, Cisco, HP, AT&T, and Google as Likely Most Effective Top 5 Providers in Delivering IaaS, Doc # 248127 May 2014," buyers selected IBM as their top overall preference among providers they believe can most effectively provide IaaS, whether private or public. IBM was the leading cloud vendor with 35% of first place votes. By comparison, Amazon carried 13%, Microsoft and Google came in around 16%.

"We believe this new IDC report, based on actual client preferences, underscores IBM's overall leadership in cloud computing," said Jim Comfort, General Manager Cloud Services, GTS. "IBM is investing billions in cloud to serve clients with the most comprehensive portfolio in the industry across infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service. We are expanding our global datacenter footprint, opening our software to the cloud for developers and making cloud services easily accessible through an online cloud marketplace. Enterprises trust IBM to manage their business transformation, operations and processes as they move into the future -- hybrid cloud era."

In addition to overall top ranking, IBM was also rated the leader in six of eight major industries covered in the study including Financial Services, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Professional Services, Wholesale and Retail and Public Sector (government). IBM also finished in the top three in Transportation and Telecommunications, the only vendor to lead in as many industries and rank no lower than third in any industry.IBM has deep industry expertise helping client tackle industry-specific issues as they move to the cloud era. In fact, IBM has more than 40,000 industry experts dedicated to this effort.

The majority of respondents (52%) indicated a strong preference for full-service providers such as IBM for their broad capabilities — professional services, consulting systems integration, custom software development and testing — needed to support buyers moving to cloud services. Less than 5% of respondents preferred their vendor to be an online service provider such as Amazon or Google.

Survey respondents were evenly divided among companies in three size categories: 1,000-4,999 employees, 5,000-9,999 employees and 10,000+ employees. Interestingly, the report stated, companies under 5,000 employees showed the highest share of respondents ranking full-service providers such as IBM as their top selection of business model options from which to procure cloud services.

Overall, US buyers gave cloud service providers considerably strong ratings, according to the IDC study. This applies to providing cloud services most cost-effectively and meeting quality of service expectations involving availability, speed of provisioning, and simplicity of service provisioning. 

Another key finding of the study is IDC's finding that to be successful in the future, cloud service providers must build to where the "puck will be." Ultimately, the report states, players competing in the cloud services market will need to build to the end-state structure of a cloud service provider business model that resembles the automotive factory model of services delivery involving a robust ecosystem, localized app store, integrated digital services supply chain and a "cloud factory" consisting of PaaS, TaaS, IaaS and SaaS.  

In the first four months of 2014, IBM has announced three major cloud initiatives:

  • An investment of $1.2 billion to grow its global cloud footprint to 40 data centers in every major financial center.
  • A $1 billion investment to open its enterprise software to the cloud to allow developers to create new applications for the hybrid cloud era on IBM's BlueMix platform-as-a-service.
  • The launch of an IBM Cloud marketplace to provide easy access to IBM's cloud services for individuals across the enterprise from IT operations, line of business and application development.

IBM reported record annual revenue of $4.4 billion for cloud computing in 2013 and most recently, a 50% growth rate for cloud in the first quarter of 2014. Most telling of all, enterprises have rated IBM their top choice to provide cloud infrastructure services and guide them into a new era.


This article was originally posted “Report: IBM Named #1 Preferred Provider of IaaS Cloud” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.