The Need For Speed: IBM Picks Up Cloud Provider SoftLayer

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IBM's SmartCloud portfolio includes technology for public, private and hybrid cloud systems. The SoftLayer acquisition "will accelerate the buildout of our public cloud infrastructure," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, in a statement.

One of SoftLayer's value propositions is that it offers customers the choice of running cloud applications on either dedicated or shared servers. The company has been particularly successful serving online gaming companies -- more than 60 have begun using SofLayer in just the last two quarters, according to the companies.

"We're seeing an increased need from our clients for help with how best to leverage cloud computing technologies whether public, private or a hybrid approach," said Ruth Minj, general manager of IBM industry solutions at Perficient, an IBM premier business partner, in an email to CRN.

The SoftLayer acquisition "further strengthens our ability as [an IBM partner] to offer our clients with solution offerings that are cloud-based, lower upfront IT investments, and gain faster returns on investment," Minj said.

SoftLayer operates 13 data centers in the U.S., Asia and Europe that serve 21,000 customers. IBM operates 10 cloud computing centers on five continents.

The new Cloud Services division will combine SoftLayer's operations with IBM's SmartCloud product and services portfolio and "provide a broad range of choices to both IBM and SoftLayer clients, ISVs, channel partners and technology partners," IBM said. "SoftLayer's services will complement the existing portfolio with its focus, simplicity and speed."

The division will be part of IBM Technology Services, reporting to Clementi. IBM said that over time it plans to offer many of its own cloud applications, including Smarter Cities and Smarter Commerce, through SoftLayer.

Cloud computing is one of IBM's key initiatives and the company expects its cloud-related revenue to reach $7 billion by the end of 2015.



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