What is our primary use case?
We are using IBM Cloud as our main infrastructure for a SaaS solution my company is commercializing. We developed it for a first customer and now we are reselling it to a lot of customers as a multitenant solution.
We do all the solution lifecycle.For example, we have mobile apps for condominium owners and another for gatekeepers, a web portal for the administration staff.
The core of the solution has its backend is on IBM Cloud.
How has it helped my organization?
My organization has concentrated in the solution functionality and doesn't care much about the complexity of the infrastructure as it runs on IBM Public Cloud. The customers we are serving don't need to care about investing in infrastructure neither, so deployment of the solution is quicker.
What is most valuable?
It's easy to deploy. You trust in the platform. Its reliability is good.
Support is also good. If you have an issue with the infrasutructure, you can chat with someone, they will try to convince you that they will do something. It offers 24/7 chat support.
The platform has everything that I need - or 99% of the requirements we need. I can find everything on this platform.
It's easy to set up.
The solution is stable.
It is a scalable product. You can scale it up and down.
Both scaling and backup is automatic. You can assign your resources for doing development instead of thinking in administering the platform.
What needs improvement?
While they have about 99% of what we need, the only exception, perhaps, was the push notification feature that was discontinued. They delayed the replacement product. In the meantime, I decided to go to FCM on Google, for doing this part.
The push notification functionality has ben reintroduced now with the Event Notifications service, I took a quick look at it but it doesn't seem the same .
There are some things that I haven't investigated because of time, however, I know they have the features.
The support and most communication is only english speaking. With Google, I can receive notes in Spanish, for example. My developers are not well versed in English. Right now, I am the one that does the escalation of problems. For me, it's not a problem, however, my developers don't have direct contact with IBM since they don't speak English.
IBM is pushing a lot Kubernetes as runtime infrastructure. There is another alternative which is Cloud Foundry, which is much easier than Kubernetes. I had been using it a lot but it is now being deprecated by IBM. The alternative they are suggesting is called Code Engine, however, it's not as mature as the easy Cloud Foundry.
I was using a demo version of MySQL. They announced, very loudly, that they had already a full production MySQL version so I tried to migrate to the full-blown and it didn't have all the features. I found an issue with the new product but they took about three months to resolve it.
The mobile dashboard could be better. They don't have a responsive solution. For example, sometimes I get a note, "Okay. You are above the limit of usage of this service." I would like to go into my cell phone and not have a screen where I see just one-quarter of the screen. Their mobile front end needs improvement. This is something that they lack right now.
IBM Public Cloud
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For how long have I used the solution?
I've been working with IBM Cloud for 8 years since Bluemix was announced. At that time I was an software architect in IBM and primarily used it for experimenting. Now I have a startup and am using it fulltime since 3 years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution was stable.
One time I was not able to enter the system because of a problem. I received once a week a message that there is a severity of one problem with some feature, however, I really haven't noticed. Perhaps, just one time in one year I got affected by one of the problems. Right now, I don't care about having higher availability in my solution.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It is scalable. I don't have a million users, however, I know it's scalable. I use a small percentage of the CPU. It's not that I need to pay a lot for the service. I am using just a micro percentage.
How are customer service and support?
Support was very, very good. We are quite satisfied with the support. The chat support is always available.
How would you rate customer service and support?
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I used standalone server. but it was much simple and safer to run in a cloud environment.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is easy.
If you do everything on a panel, in a dashboard, they have also a command-line interface, however, you don't need it, to begin with. The documentation is in different languages, so other people should understand it. Everything is on the cloud. Basically, you install a command-line interface. It's the only thing you need to install on your machine. There's no problem with the rest.
My project is small. I can say it's one or two administrators that I need for deployment and maintenance. The people that deploy the solution are checking that it's running. A lot of the administration can be automated.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I constantly are increasing and decreasing the resources. It's auto-scalable. If one day, I have more resources and more people entering, it automatically increases the number of resources available. I pay for what I use.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
DigitalOcean is very cheap. Google is in fashion. Everybody wants Azure. I sometimes think, "Should I migrate or not?" Of course, I am not doing it as it takes time. It's time and resources. I don't need to migrate. I don't know if they are cheaper or not, however, i don't care much. I don't think that they will be cheaper. Perhaps one feature is cheaper than the other, however, in the end, you pay for what you use. If you migrate to another one, you pay almost the same.
What other advice do I have?
The solution updates automatically. On the cloud, you have different products. You have the database, the run-time for the business logic, and so on. Each feature upgrades independently. For example, right now, I need to migrate my database version. For the run-times, the Cloud Foundry run-time that I was using will be deprecated in one year. Therefore, I need also to start migrating to the latest version.
I am a first-level partner. I am treated as any customer. I was planning to become an ESA (Embedded Software Agreement) Partner. However, I needed to commit some amount of money with this agreement. Right now, my solution is not big enough to commit something. We have a solution that is software a service solution, that uses IBM on the core. Still, we are just start-up so we haven't committed to anything yet.
You have a large number of functions that you need to try and that are available there. I'd advise new users to just look in another platform if you don't find in this catalog. Try everything from the catalog. There are a lot of features, and so on.
When assigning security to each service, for example, it has its own security administration. You need to take care of the priviledges that you give to your people. Some people can define resources, others can't. That happened to me. I had a developer that configured an artificial intelligence service and at the end of the month, I got a big bill as he was using a service that was not free.
One developer developed a program that was using a service in a loop. And for this service came another big bill again. For that reason, I always advise companies to check how people are using the platform.
You can define alarms. If you're consuming $100, $200, you can get the notice that someone is consuming something. In the cloud, this is the problem. You don't have your machine in your house and if it's full, nothing can get done. The cloud can expand and expand. So take care of what you are spending on the platform.
I'd rate a solution eight out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner