IBM PartnerWorld: SoftLayer looks to simplify IT

IBM PartnerWorld: SoftLayer looks to simplify IT

Summary: Softlayer CEO Lance Crosby presented a clear, persuasive view of the company, its products and his vision for the future.


Softlayer CEO Lance Crosby spent some time with a room full of industry analysts, survived the encounter, and made great strides presenting a clear, persuasive view of the company, its products and his vision for the future. Here's a quick summary of what Crosby had to say:

  • Simplify IT — SoftlLyer is doing its best to create a simple, but powerful, environment to develop and host applications.

  • Make the cloud extremely reliable — SoftLayer has developed a robust set of APIs, a reliable network and highly expansible storage infrastructure. It is designed to automatically deal with common issues so that applications will remain available, even if there is a failure somewhere.

  • Transparent infrastructure — The goal is making the underlying systems, network topology, storage architecture and the like totally invisible so developers can focus on what they're trying to accomplish. Developers shouldn't have to worry about what systems are being used, what network topology is in place, where the data center is located or how data is being stored. SoftLayer wants to make sure that what's needed is there to be used. The discussion of how large blocks of data can be moved from data center to data center quickly and easily really caught my attention because it addresses one of the bigger issues with moving a Big Data application into the cloud.

  • Easy expansion — Crosby discussed a few customer stories that showed how a company can start very small and then expand to very large to meet workload demands without having to worry about either purchasing new systems, memory or storage or negotiating with power and communications services suppliers along the way. Some really big workloads are hosted in a Softlayer data center today.

  • Make hybrid clouds easy —Crosby discussed how workloads could start off premise in a SoftLayer data center and move on-premise with a simple drag-and-drop operation. The reverse, of course, can be done as well.

I was impressed with Crosby's level of comfort dealing with edgy analysts, how clear his vision of cloud computing is and the general plans for the future.

Topics: Cloud, IBM


Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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  • Isn't this what every company is promising ?

    More details on how they are actually differentiating themselves would be helpful. I know you said it was a summary, but hard to tell from this IF they are actually doing all these things or saying that they WILL be able to do these things (i.e. drag and drop move to on-premise ?).
    • With IBM, SoftLayer is executing this vision

      Lance is discussing the IBM vision for SoftLayer. This is building on the solid foundations of the SoftLayer technology for public cloud infrastructure provision and marrying it with technologies from the wider IBM portfolio. Only in December IBM acquired Aspera for its rapid data transfer technology for large data files over the net. Over the next weeks and months we will see many new services and capabilities launched on the SoftLayer platform.
    • That's one of the challenges of buzzword marketing

      Jkohut, That's one of the challenges companies face when just using industry catch phrases or buzzwords in their marketing efforts. It becomes very difficult to distinguish well thought out and implemented solutions and those that just wrap themselves in the right words and then go to the market to sell products.

      Although I didn't include all of the customer references in the post, Crosby was able to cite an impressive list of large and very large companies that had built and offer cloud-based solutions that live on SoftLayer. Since I'm not using SoftLayer to support my Web presence, I can't offer my own personal experiences. I can say that Crosby is a passionate, reasonable presenter. He clearly believes in the company's vision.

      Dan K