IBM Expanding Cloud Ecosystem One Year After SoftLayer Acquisition

By Laura Stotler

When IBM acquired SoftLayer one year ago, it marked a massive shift in the company’s strategy, with the goal of becoming a cloud infrastructure powerhouse. That $2 billion investment is paying off for the company, as IBM has become a force to be reckoned with in the cloud computing arena, posing competition to Amazon, Rackspace, Google and Microsoft.

According to Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant report for cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), AWS and Microsoft Azure are at the top of the market. However, five companies were singled out as visionary cloud providers, and IBM was one of them. And IBM shows no sign of losing steam, reporting that thousands of new clients have migrated to the SoftLayer infrastructure within the past year, including big names like Macy’s and Whirlpool.

As part of its growth strategy, IBM has been working to build its portfolio of cloud services, partnering with solution providers like Mirantis, Silverstring and Cnetric Enterprise Solutions. They’ve also been building up their channel, teaming up with bigwigs like Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro to market and deliver SoftLayer to the masses.

Now IBM has announced a new range of cloud services geared toward managing and analyzing big data. The company is offering its Watson Engagement Advisor solution, which enables users to glean actionable insights from big data via the cloud. The Watson Developer Cloud on SoftLayer is also available to give third-party developers and system integrators access to Watson’s analytics capabilities.

Additional new offerings include an IBM multi-enterprise Relationship Management SaaS for managing shared business processes, and a Time Series Database for connecting apps to the Internet, as well as an Analytics Warehouse. The company has also made Aspera high-speed transfer technology available on SoftLayer, and is offering a new software-defined storage-as-a-service solution, code-named Elastic Storage.

"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 start ups to established enterprises looking for the speed, flexibility and security that hybrid cloud environments provide,” said Erich Clementi, senior vice president, IBM Global Technology Services. “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."

With more than 100 cloud SaaS solutions being offered through its marketplace and 1,560 cloud patents, the IBM Cloud shows no sign of slowing down its growth. Additional new enhancements include hourly billing for bare-metal servers to expand the pay-as-you-go model to dedicated resources as well as virtual servers. IBM is also offering a fully automated modular management service to govern new cloud application environments. And the Jumpgate solution enables businesses to build their own hybrid cloud environments by facilitating interoperability between OpenStack APIs and proprietary APIs.

Edited by Adam Brandt

MSPToday Contributing Editor

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