Comparison of IBM and Oracle public cloud offerings (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS)

In my earlier post I have compared IBM and Oracle tools for creating and managing private clouds. In this article I would like to review and compare public cloud capabilities from IBM and Oracle.

Software as a service (SaaS)
For several years IBM has provided wide variety of SaaS cloud offerings, including IBM LotusLive, IBM Blueworks Live for BPM, several Web analytics offerings, B2B and SCM Sterling clouds, CastIron cloud integration solution, several Rational offerings, etc. These are mature offerings with significant customer base that are strategic to IBM. Some of these clouds came with acquisitions. IBM has spent $3B on cloud acquisitions within the last few years.

Oracle SaaS offerings are limited to their Oracle CRM on Demand and Procurement On Demand. There has been a number of “future looking statements” recently with plans of applications targeted for cloud deployment, such as Oracle Fusion HCM and CRM on Oracle Public Cloud, but these are not yet available as of December 2011.

Platform as a service (PaaS)
IBM also has a solid track record with its PaaS cloud offerings, including IBM Smart Analytics, IBM Hosted Application Security Management, IBM Systems Director, Rational Solutions for cloud development and test, integration and workload services.

Oracle does not have PaaS offerings at the time of this writing. Oracle Database, Exalogic and other products have been “pre-announced” for public cloud, but none of it is available as of December 2011.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for development and pre-production environments
For test and development environments IBM provides SmartCloud Enterprise – a public cloud IaaS designed to provide virtual server environments for development and test activities and other dynamic workloads. This has been made available in 2010 and currently supports Red Hat Linux, SuSe Linux, Windows operating systems with support for high availability and a selection of different virtual machine sizes and pricing models ranging from few cents per hour up to few dollars per hour. You can estimate your costs using this calculator.


In October 2011 Oracle pre-announced their intent to build a public cloud offering, but no commercial offering is available as of December 2011. Oracle Java Cloud Service is not yet generally available. The only useful function provided by the Oracle Java cloud Service is the “Notify me of updates” button. I also have a strong feeling that whenever this service does become available, Oracle is likely to limit it to only Oracle Linux virtual machines on their Exalogic boxes, but time will show.

IaaS for mission critical production environments
This is not a new area for IBM. For the past decade IBM has provided hosted and cloud services to a number of enterprise clients. However IBM has not offered cloud IaaS services to small and medium businesses. This is all changing. For production mission critical workloads IBM will offer SmartCloud Enterprise+ IaaS. Multiple pricing options and types of environments, operating systems, Power7 and x86 chips support, SLA levels, high availability options mean you can deploy critical workloads with more confidence. This offering is not available to general public at this time, but will be open in early 2012.

Oracle does not offer IaaS at this time per my description above.

Support for 3rd party clouds
Both IBM and Oracle provide special pricing options to run their application servers on 3rd party clouds, including IBM on Amazon EC2 and Oracle on Amazon EC2. For instance, IBM products available for use on Amazon EC2, provide options to pay for the software license as you go (hourly usage) or bringing your own existing license into EC2 environment. Other cloud providers also provide support for IBM and Oracle products.

I think the facts above show that IBM has a long history and diverse and mature SaaS, PaaS and IaaS cloud offerings with exciting new capabilities being announced often. Oracle has finally stopped making jokes about the cloud and is catching up to the rest of the industry. Has the train already left the station? Only time will tell. For now IBM Forecasts $7 Billion In Cloud Revenue by 2015.

Categories: Technology

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