IBM's Cloud to Support Hybrid Growth w/ Softlayer

In an announcement made on Monday, IBM has added a slew of cloud services for their Softlayer infrastructure (video below). IBM has been experiencing growth of hybrid-cloud clientele since acquiring Softlayer last year. IBM launched the new cloud services to support this growth.

Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services explained, “In its first year, SoftLayer has proven to be a pivotal acquisition for IBM Cloud.” He continued, “SoftLayer has quickly become the foundation of IBM’s cloud portfolio anchoring our infrastructure, platform and software-as-a-service offerings and transforming the fortunes of many industry companies from Web startups to established enterprises looking for the speed, flexibility and security that hybrid cloud environments provide. Of all the options for public or private clouds in the market, IBM Cloud with all of its resources, assets and expertise is the logical choice for a world where the volume and complexity of data-rich workloads grows exponentially every day.”

IBM acquired Softlayer in July 2013 for $2 billion. Since then, they have invested heavily to provide more cloud services through Softlayer infrastructure. They claim to have signed up clients in the thousands including large enterprises like Macy’s, Whirlpool, Daimler subsidiary moovel, Sicoss Group and Generali. As such, it is not surprising to see IBM increasing cloud services designed for data centers.

Even with the ongoing debates between proponents and opponents of cloud and hybrid cloud computing, IBM is not ready to go fully cloud yet. In fact, they want to be the leading cloud computing company that offers big data and analytics capabilities for enterprises moving to a hybrid cloud model. This will see IBM compete directly with Google, Microsoft, EMC, and Red Hat.

Furthermore, they have seen an increase in business partners too. According to IBM, more than 1,000 organizations will be offering their services on Softlayer infrastructure. These include international corporations like Avnet, Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro as well as cloud-based services and solution providers like Mirantis, Assimil8, Silverstring, Clipcard, SilverSky, and Cnetric Enterprise Solutions.

IBM’s new range of services built on Softlayer includes:

  • Watson Engagement Advisor: Will store big data and provide speedy insights through a natural conversational manner to improve interaction with the system.
  • Watson Developer Cloud will allow third party developers to utilize the platform’s cognitive capabilities in their products and services.
  • Aspera high-speed transfer technology allows organizations to transfer data quickly via a secure platform.
  • Elastic Storage, an enterprise software-defined storage, will allow organizations to access and manage large amount of data easily and flawlessly between their on premise and cloud storage facilities. However, it will require a high-speed connection.
  • IBM Cloud modular management, a fully automated service management system, will allow organizations to control – either fully or partially – management of their services.
  • Jumpgate is a platform that will allow organizations to build their own hybrid cloud environments autonomously through OpenStack API or provider’s proprietary API.

In addition to launching these services, IBM extended hourly billing to its virtualization service, bare-metal servers. This will allow their current, and potential, clients to pay for the service based on usage.

As more and more business turn towards cloud computing, majority still prefer to have some level of control of their data management. Hybrid cloud computing gives businesses the flexibility to control management and access of data while the cloud storage part, in particular, improves their efficiency and reduces the cost of data management. This is the focus of IBM.

IBM is using Softlayer as its platform to accelerate hybrid cloud services dominance. To meet this demand, they have more than 300 services available for their clients. These services include data and analytics as well as SoftLayer products like IBM multi-enterprise Relationship Management SaaS (connects and manages shared business processes across a variety of communities), Time Series Database (connects applications to the Internet of Things) and Analytics Warehouse (provides an agile platform for data warehousing and analytics).