MSP Today Expert Feature
August 13, 2014

IBM Continues Global Cloud Infrastructure Push with New Toronto SoftLayer Data Center

IBM took another step toward becoming a global IaaS cloud force, opening a new SoftLayer (News - Alert) data center in Toronto geared toward hybrid cloud solutions. The move adds to the company’s growing worldwide presence, with recent SoftLayer data center launches in London and Hong Kong for a total of 14 locations throughout the world.  

Last month IBM (News - Alert) announced a $2.1 billion investment in IBM Cloud, including an extension of its services as well as the geographic expansion. That includes cloud services partnerships with companies like Mirantis, Silverstring and Cnetric along with channel alliances with Arrow Electronics (News - Alert) and Ingram Micro. And IBM has also been building up its homegrown cloud offerings as well, including its Watson Engagement Advisor solution for big data analytics.

The new Toronto location is key for IBM as the company already has a large customer base in the region. The data center will deliver bare metal as well as virtual servers along with storage and networking, all through the integrated SoftLayer platform. IBM is also layering its new cloud services on top of the platform to give customers a complete package with a variety of solutions.

"Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America, and a vital financial and technological hub -- not only for the province of Ontario but for all of Canada," said Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer. "We have hundreds of existing Canadian customers that can now have SoftLayer services deployed closer to home, and thousands of customers that will take advantage of the facility to get closer to end users in this market."

In fact, IBM has a huge list of Canadian startup companies participating in its SoftLayer Catalyst startup program. The program provides credits for SoftLayer cloud infrastructure along with mentoring and engineering resources to promising startup companies.

IBM has contended that SoftLayer is significantly different than reigning public cloud leader AWS. The company claims that SoftLayer’s hybrid cloud approach sets it apart from Amazon’s IaaS approach since they are also delivering PaaS, SaaS (News - Alert) and Process-as-a-Service. Their aggressive advertising campaigns tell a different story, however, with the company taking on AWS directly in a series of ads late last year in which IBM claimed it was hosting more than 270,000 more websites than Amazon. It will be interesting to see what IBM’s approach will be moving forward as they find their niche in the cloud space and become an increasing threat to AWS marketshare.

Edited by Adam Brandt