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SDN Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Juha Holkkola, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White

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Cloud Expo: Article

SoftLayer Fuels Hybrid Cloud Growth for IBM with New Clients and Services

Cloud Expo Sponsor SoftLayer has become the galvanizing force behind IBM's rapid acceleration to cloud leadership

On Monday IBM stated that SoftLayer is fueling hybrid cloud adoption by attracting thousands of new clients including leading enterprises. To support this ongoing growth, IBM is also launching a range of new cloud services designed for the enterprise that are based on SoftLayer infrastructure.

Just one year after its acquisition, SoftLayer has become the galvanizing force behind IBM's rapid acceleration to cloud leadership. IBM bought SoftLayer for $2 billion in July 2013 and has continued to invest significantly in its cloud portfolio.

Clients all over the world are moving to the IBM Cloud, with thousands migrating to SoftLayer in the past year alone. New enterprise customers including Macy's, Whirlpool, Daimler subsidiary moovel Gmbh, Sicoss Group and many others are transforming their operations for the emerging hybrid cloud era. Hybrid cloud computing represents the best of both worlds, as it links traditional IT systems to the cloud. Clients can maintain on-premise control of key applications and data while moving other workloads - so-called systems of engagement with customers and partners -- to the cloud for quick access to data, expansion of new services and cost reductions. In fact, nearly half of IBM's top 100 strategic outsourcing clients who are among the world's largest enterprises are already implementing cloud solutions with IBM as they transition to a hybrid cloud model.

As data becomes the next great natural resource, clients are looking for the means to efficiently store and mine their data, while protecting its privacy and security. By taking advantage of IBM Cloud, companies now have the ability to more quickly integrate existing and new services and data to drive new innovations and more easily control, manage and secure data and business applications.

In addition to new clients, more than 1,000 business partners have signed on to offer their services on SoftLayer. Firms embracing SoftLayer range from leading global players such as Avnet, Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro, to cloud-based services and solution providers like Mirantis, Assimil8, Silverstring, Clipcard, SilverSky, and Cnetric Enterprise Solutions. Large U.S. enterprise buyers, those with 1,000+ employees, ranked IBM as their top selection of service providers that they believe would be most effective in providing IaaS for private and/or public clouds [1].

"In its first year, SoftLayer has proven to be a pivotal acquisition for IBM Cloud," said Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Technology Services. "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 Offers new Cloud Services for the Enterprise; Designed to Tackle Big Data
With big data creating demand for cloud, SoftLayer will play a pivotal role in delivering IBM's rich data and analytics portfolio to clients faster, more effectively and efficiently. Among the offerings, IBM will make available via the Bluemix developer platform and IBM marketplace:

  • Watson Engagement Advisor on SoftLayer which allows organizations to gain timely and actionable insights from big data, transforming the client experience through natural conversational interactions with system that get smarter with use. Running on IBM's POWER8 processor, IBM Power Systems integrated into SoftLayer's infrastructure will handle big data, analytics and cognitive requirements in the cloud with unprecedented speed.
  • Watson Developer Cloud on Softlayer allows unprecedented access for third party developers, entrepreneurs, academics, and system integrators looking to harness Watson's cognitive capabilities in the products and services they bring to market.
  • IBM is now offering more than 300 services within the IBM cloud marketplace that is based on SoftLayer. This includes data and analytics and SoftLayer offerings such as the IBM multi-enterprise Relationship Management SaaS that connects and manages shared business processes across a variety of communities, Time Series Database that connects applications to the Internet of Things and Analytics Warehouse which provides an agile platform for data warehousing and analytics.
  • Aspera high-speed transfer technology is now also available on SoftLayer enabling users to move large unstructured and structured data with maximum speed and security, regardless of data size, distance or network conditions.
  • Code name Elastic Storage is a new software-defined storage-as-a-service offering built on SoftLayer. It provides organizations with high-speed access to large volumes of data and seamless data management between their on-premises infrastructure and the cloud.
  • SoftLayer expands hourly billing for bare-metal servers bringing the key pay-as-you-go benefits of virtual server consumption to dedicated resources. Bare metal servers provide the increased performance and privacy that many enterprises desire.
  • IBM Cloud modular management is a fully automated service management system to help companies to more easily govern new cloud application environments. IBM Cloud Modular management enables companies with the choice and flexibility to pick the services they want to manage on their own or have IBM manage for them.
  • Jumpgate is another innovation from SoftLayer that will play a key role in helping businesses build their own hybrid cloud environments. Jumpgate allows for interoperability between clouds by providing compatibility between the OpenStack API and a provider's proprietary API.

Enterprises Moving Core Operations to IBM Cloud and SoftLayer
Nearly half of all large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017, according to Gartner, Inc.[2]. As IBM accelerates its cloud leadership delivering big data and analytics capabilities for enterprises moving to a hybrid cloud model, today IBM also announced a number of clients across major industries that are moving core operations onto SoftLayer.

Daimler subsidiary moovel is now using IBM's SoftLayer cloud infrastructure to develop and distribute mobile apps for its car2go ride sharing service. moovel's smartphone apps offer a range of mobility services such as train, bicycle, taxis and car sharing to help the customer determine the fastest or least expensive way to travel from A to B. Using SoftLayer guarantees the high performance needed to develop the moovel smartphone app for use around the world.

Whirlpool, the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, is taking advantage of IBM Cloud, including Softlayer, to transition from an on-premise environment to a globally integrated hybrid cloud model to drive ecommerce sales, streamline orders, reduce costs, improve flexibility and speed processing time. Whirlpool needed a flexible and scalable environment to host its ecommerce platform while storing and deploying large amounts of customer and product data. The manufacturer needed a globally integrated and regionally executed ecommerce platform with massive capacity to support its existing product lifecycle management system.

Macy's, a North America based retailer, is leveraging SoftLayer for a comprehensive mix of bare metal and shared cloud infrastructure to provide a new operating model that supports the retailers need for scalability and long term business goal of continuous availability.

Sicoss Group, the company that processes Social Security, and payroll calculations for customers across Mexico under the auspices of the Mexican Social Security Authority, is evolving to deliver new services including salary and profit-sharing calculation simulators, as well as online training and education to businesses. Sicoss Group has used SoftLayer infrastructure to enable its customers to launch services in less than 48 hours through SoftLayer's virtual storage and dedicated Cloud servers. Sicoss Group also relies on IBM Cloud for its enterprise class security, and backup and its experience in IBM's IT services. With the new cloud-based payroll and HR processing model, Sicoss Group is able to improve agility for companies of all sizes and help its customers to remain compliant more easily and efficiently.

Since the $2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer a year ago, IBM has continued to invest in making SoftLayer the foundation of its cloud portfolio. These investments include:

  1. $1.2 billion investment to expand SoftLayer's global data center footprint to 40 locations globally covering every major geography and financial center by 2015 and opening additional SoftLayer facilities in Melbourne, Toronto and Washington, D.C., in the third quarter of 2014.
  2. $1 billion to launch a Watson business unit, with Watson running on SoftLayer
  3. $1 billion investment to establish a cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Bluemix to help millions of developers build cloud applications running on SoftLayer. IBM is extending its Bluemix developer platform on SoftLayer to more than 50 services including several big data and analytics technologies and is now the largest deployment of the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
  4. The launch of the IBM Cloud marketplace and cloud acquisitions including Cloudant, Silverpop and Aspera validating IBM's commitment to SoftLayer

More Stories By Liz McMillan

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