IBM PartnerWorld: SoftLayer looks to simplify IT

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.