IBM announced launch of a range of new cloud services designed for the enterprise and based on its SoftLayer network infrastructure. The new services, available starting June 15, also provide connections between IBM points of presence and allow access to SoftLayer data centers that customers can use to create private, dedicated connections -- something that could spread as more SoftLayer data centers are built.
IBM has pledged a $1.2 billion investment to expand SoftLayer's global roster of data centers, saying that it will have 40 such centers by 2015. It will open SoftLayer facilities in Melbourne, Toronto and Washington, D.C., in the third quarter of this year.
The new solutions aim to meet the needs of enterprises seeking to more quickly integrate their existing services with new services, and to more easily control, manage and secure their data and business applications.
Hybrid Cloud Environment
SoftLayer, which IBM acquired a year ago for $2 billion, has attracted about 6,000 clients since then, including Macy’s department stores and appliance-maker Whirlpool.
In addition to new clients, IBM says SoftLayer has attracted more than 1,000 business partners. That list includes Avnet, Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro, along with cloud-based services and solution providers such as Mirantis, Assimil8, Silverstring, Clipcard, SilverSky, and Cnetric Enterprise Solutions.
Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, stated: "SoftLayer has quickly become the foundation of IBM's cloud portfolio, anchoring our infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service offerings." He said that SoftLayer is being used by a wide range of organizations, "from Web start-ups to established enterprises looking for the speed, flexibility and security that hybrid cloud environments provide."
We reached out to Dan Kusnetzky, analyst and founder of the Kusnetzky Group in Osprey, Fla., for his analysis of IBM's new offerings. He predicts they could be a boon for developers as IBM tries to establish itself as a top source for data centers.
"IBM's SoftLayer is trying to provide a complete API-driven environment in which developers can easily implement their applications," said Kusnetzky.
By making it easier for developers to produce hybrid cloud solutions based on SoftLayer for their enterprise customers, IBM seems to be well positioned for a win-win.
A Big Investment
IBM’s heavy investment in SoftLayer represents its faith in the future of hybrid cloud computing, which links traditional IT systems to the cloud. Via hybrid cloud computing, clients can control key applications and data where they’re located, while moving other workloads to the cloud. IBM says that combination will lead to quicker access to data, expanded services and lower prices.
According to Gartner, nearly half of all large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
In preparation, Big Blue is trying to position the IBM cloud, in Clementi's words, as the "logical choice for a world where the volume and complexity of data-rich workloads grows exponentially every day."
Whether IBM’s investment in SoftLayer and its data center expansion initiative pay the dividends the company hopes for, it’s a sensible move for the company, according to Kusnetzky.
"I think adding a cloud storage tool to the company's portfolio is a logical next step for SoftLayer," he says.