A year after IBM purchased SoftLayer for $USD 2 billion, they are launching a new Big Data-focused cloud service for the enterprise that is based on SoftLayer infrastructure. Big Blue also sees a strong channel opportunity in the new offering.
The new announcement is really a followup to the IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service which IBM launched in February.
“IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service is a turnkey offering that provides everything clients need to run their applications,” said Louise Westoby, Product Marketing Director at IBM. “It is a very high-performance offering designed for technical computing analytics, because it had been prohibitive to run those in the cloud.”
Westoby said that while IBM was developing this first service, they realized that clients needed a high performance data management solution to go with it, particularly since NFS deployments typically only scale up to 10 TB.
“This announcement now is part of a complete solution,” she said. “February was the compute portion of the solution. This is the high performance scalable data portion.”
The new offering, Elastic Storage, is a 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. It can be implemented 100% in the cloud, or on a hybrid cloud model.
“Making Elastic Storage on Cloud available with SoftLayer provides very scalable, high performance storage with integrated data management, optimal IO performance and security,” Westoby said. In addition, all Elastic Storage is isolated in each organization’s own network or VLAN.
“It’s very important to have this highly secure environment,” she said. “That’s a big deal, both for corporate security and in some cases, national security issues.”
While most of the market for this type of application is among very large organizations, IBM sees it as a good channel play regardless.
“IBM doesn’t take responsibility for the client application, and that’s where we see the opportunity for our partners,” said Terry Fisher, Global Sales Leader, HPC Cloud Initiatives, Platform Computing, IBM. “We are the middleware layer. Our partners manage the application layer on top. Cloud-savvy channel partners see the opportunity on top of this, particularly among some smaller customers who don’t wish to become infrastructure experts. We are really looking to partners to help us here, especially with these smaller customers we don’t know by name.”
IBM now offers more than 300 services within the IBM cloud marketplace that are based on SoftLayer, which are made available through the Bluemix developer platform and IBM marketplace. 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. SoftLayer also expands hourly billing for bare-metal servers bringing the key pay-as-you-go benefits of virtual server consumption to dedicated resources while providing increased performance and privacy. 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.