Jun 16, 2013
David Dunlap
Merger Ahead

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.


    I’m not sure about anyone else, but I plan on avoiding IBM like the plague. Heck it was bad enough when those GI docs came in. Just years before that they were the very reason we all ejected ourselves from orbiting around the planet and were left holding our heads when everyone sold us out. I guess Shrek said it best… He had layers like an onion. We all enjoyed watching Shrek and Donkey on whirlwind adventures, but only a few years later, a wife and three kids that onion with layers ended up too big for his britches and had some really smelly breath to boot. Don’t be an onion with layers be a donkey.

    How about some free first month coupons on a cheap server or ten? :).

    Posted by Mark Laudenbach on June 23, 2013 Reply

    “You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, ‘Let’s get some parfait,’ they say, ‘Hell no, I don’t like no parfait?’ Parfaits are delicious! Parfait’s gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!”

    Good analogy Mark, made me laugh. The other take away from this is ogres and onions are not what everyone likes.

    I am not sure if they provide free servers, but they do have a few deals on their coupon page:


    Also I found this by googling their coupons, a good 40% off the first month ain’t too bad:


    Posted by Sam Casean on June 24, 2013 Reply

Leave a Comment