IBM's cloud move: New unified platform buries SoftLayer under Bluemix brand

IBM is killing the SoftLayer cloud infrastructure brand and merging it with its home Bluemix service under a single cloud platform.

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IBM users will now be able to manage all their Bluemix and SoftLayer assets from a single console, with a single ID, and billed with a single invoice.

Image: IBM

IBM is shedding the SoftLayer brand and moving its virtual and bare-metal server business to Bluemix, which until now has been known as IBM's software-development platform for the cloud.

Much has changed since IBM paid $2bn for SoftLayer in 2013 in a late bid to catch up with public cloud offerings from AWS and Google. IBM then spent a billion dollars building its Cloud Foundry-based Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

The two were separate but related initiatives. However, going forward, SoftLayer's products and tools will be merged under the Bluemix brand.

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As part of that shift, IBM today also announced its unified cloud platform, allowing customers to manage all Bluemix and SoftLayer assets from a single console using an IBM ID.

IBM isn't planning on changing the substance of SoftLayer's systems, products, services, and support, but it will phase the name out as it moves everything, including the SoftLayer blog over to Bluemix domains.

"In the coming days, weeks, and months, you'll start seeing 'Bluemix' more and more where you're used to seeing 'SoftLayer'. Because the legacy SoftLayer offerings and legacy Bluemix offerings will be available from a unified cloud platform, we're bringing them all under the Bluemix brand," SoftLayer's digital content director Kevin Hazard said.

SoftLayer customers will need to make a few adjustments to move with the merger of the brands, such as linking SoftLayer accounts to a Bluemix account to receive a single invoice for infrastructure and services.

Customers will also need to familiarize themselves with the Bluemix site and how SoftLayer is integrated with Bluemix and IBM's Watson-based products. The new single Bluemix console offers infrastructure, apps, and services categories, moving the brand beyond its Paps roots.

According to Hazard, SoftLayer products will be available on both SoftLayer.com and IBM.com/Bluemix for the next few months. IBM has also integrated the SoftLayer control portal with the Bluemix console to manage infrastructure and cloud services.

The brand shift comes as IBM moves to become a 'cloud broker' and sell not just its own SoftLayer infrastructure, but also Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Compute Engine.

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