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June 4, 2013

IBM Acquires SoftLayer

Ian Armas Foster

IBM hopes to continue being a player in the cloud enterprise business, making a significant stride toward that end today. As announced in a press conference, IBM is looking to expand their cloud portfolio in their acquisition of Dallas-based SoftLayer.

This is part of an IBM initiative to attract $7 billion per year in cloud revenue by the end of 2015. They’re adding SoftLayer to a portfolio that includes the cloud-based, Watson-inspired Client Engagement Advisor along with platforms like IBM PureSystems and SmartCloud Enterprise+ in their over 100 SaaS systems.

According to IBM, SoftLayer has 21,000 customers using their cloud services based around 13 data centers across the United States, Asia, and Europe.

“With SoftLayer, IBM will accelerate the build-out of our public cloud infrastructure to give clients the broadest choice of cloud offerings to drive business innovation,” said Erich Clementi, Senior Vice President of IBM Global Technology Services, on what IBM hopes to accomplish through this acquisition.

SoftLayer is notable for enticing consumers away from commodity cloud systems, having, for example reportedly signed away 60 gaming companies over the last two quarters. SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby hopes this move will further his company’s reach on that front. “SoftLayer has a strong track record with born-on-the-cloud companies, and our move today with IBM will rapidly expand that footprint globally as well as allow us to go deep into the large enterprise market,” Crosby said.

Helping that expansion will be the integration of OpenStack into SoftLayer, an integration to be overseen by IBM. The idea here from IBM is to allow their clientele to mix public and private cloud services across the Linux-based system and to introduce uniformity across the entire IBM SmartCloud setup.

As a result of acquiring SoftLayer, a measure which will reportedly go into effect in Q3 of this year, IBM also announced the creation and development of a Cloud Services division that will incorporate SoftLayer into the existing IBM SmartCloud foundation. The notion will be to utilize SoftLayer’s global presence to expand and transition their clients worldwide into the cloud.

“SoftLayer is a perfect fit for IBM. It will help us smooth the transition of our global clients to the cloud faster, while enabling IBM to more efficiently offer them its broad portfolio of open IT infrastructure and software services,” Clementi said on the new Cloud Services division that he will reportedly lead.

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