IBM’s decision to buy out SoftLayer brings a lot of interesting intersections to light when it comes to traditional enterprise level computing, merging with the fairly new business model of automated infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) computing.
SoftLayer’s business model centers on two products: dedicated servers and cloud computing. From there, we add managed services and various levels of cloud ranging from public to private to hybrid deployments. This is not unique in the industry. There are many companies who offer these two products and accompanying services together under one roof. The foundation of the service is where SoftLayer differs from almost every other competitor.
• They offer a highly automated platform, with total control, to their clients.
• They use enterprise level hardware (even though the common practice in our industry is to use desktop hardware).
• They pursued a global hosting initiative
• They are willing to create highly customized infrastructures for their clients. Using hardware that suits the customer.
• They are an agile provider with a strong portfolio of SMBs and enterprise clients.
If this sounds familiar to you then you have probably looked at what SingleHop has to offer. Interestingly enough, SingleHop and SoftLayer have an awful lot in common and also have a fairly common beginning in that both SoftLayer and SingleHop are 2nd generation web hosts who decided to base their new venture on a fully automated platform to reduce error and increase efficiency. Having been a journalist when both SoftLayer and SingleHop got their start, I may blog about these and other web host histories at a later date.
After a few decades of finding its path, IBM is now firmly entrenched in the services industry, namely providing IT services to enterprise level clientele. IBM was looking for a cloud company to broaden their service portfolio, and after looking at the business model of SoftLayer, found a winning combination.
For all of its faults, IBM is one of the forefathers of the hosting industry. The development of the personal computer moved us away from mainframes and created a technological explosion that moved faster than anyone had ever thought possible. IBM is also very successful when it comes to servicing enterprise level clients, and the fact that they selected a web host who built their bare metal and cloud products on automation and user control, says a lot about the business model.
The SoftLayer buyout is validation of this business model. IBM’s purchase sends a clear signal that automation is the method of choice to bring infrastructure to their own enterprise clients. The fact that IBM is willing to use SoftLayer as a whole new business division takes that validation further.
Congratulations SoftLayer and thank you for proving to the world what we all knew in our hearts, automation, user control, quality hardware, and highly customizable solutions are keys to infrastructure success.