IBM has announced that SoftLayer is integrating IBM Power Systems into its cloud infrastructure that is expected to deliver a level and breadth of services beyond what has traditionally been available over the cloud. IBM also announced new services and tools that will help organizations deploy hybrid and private cloud environments.
Taking advantage of IBM's Power Systems line of servers built for Big Data demands, SoftLayer can help clients seeking cutting-edge technologies and tools to help them better capture, understand and leverage increasing volumes of data.
Additionally, the IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service will deliver a simplified management and a seamless user experience for hybrid cloud deployments
Further bolstering the IBM cloud portfolio, IBM Wave for z/VM will provide rapid insight into an organization’s virtualized infrastructure with intelligent visualization, simplified monitoring and unified management.
Power brings SoftLayer to Watson
Last month IBM publicly committed $1.2 billion to expand IBM's global cloud footprint. In particular, IBM plans to deliver cloud services from 40 data centers worldwide in 15 countries and five continents globally, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Beginning next quarter and continuing over time, SoftLayer's first service built on Power Systems will be IBM Watson solutions followed by additional offerings leveraging Power Systems' advantages of optimization for data and analytics performance. The preliminary set of planned offerings includes:
- Watson solutions include Watson Discovery Advisor, Watson Engagement Advisor and The Watson Development Cloud, a platform as a service that contains the technology, tools, SDKs and APIs that enable third parties to design, develop and deploy cognitive applications;
- Software as a Service includes a wide range of data services optimized on Power Systems including IBM's DB2 BLU with Acceleration and IBM Cognos analytics solutions; and
- Infrastructure as a Service bare metal Power Systems will be offered to clients as an on-demand infrastructure platform.
This news comes less than a year after IBM acquired SoftLayer. Shortly after the acquisition was complete, the IBM Power Systems and SoftLayer development teams came together to rapidly design and test Power Systems optimized for the SoftLayer environment.
"Once our development teams began testing Power Systems in the SoftLayer environment, Power's competitive advantage immediately became clear," said Lance Crosby, IBM SoftLayer CEO. "The performance and efficiencies inherent in Power Systems are a real game-changer — particularly when it comes to building out modern, adaptable cloud environments that can handle the next level of Big Data coming our way. The combination of SoftLayer and Power Systems will allow us to take cloud computing to a new level, providing customers with services they hadn't thought were possible."
Hybrid Clouds for Compute Intensive Environments
The second element of today’s announcement is the new IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service, a ready-to-run cluster in the cloud — complete with workload management, SoftLayer infrastructure and the support of a dedicated cloud operations team. With IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service organizations can rapidly extend resources to physical, non-shared infrastructure in the SoftLayer cloud to quickly accommodate peaks in demand without being concerned about performance.
Advances in high performance applications are enabling analysts, researchers, scientists, and engineers to run more complex and detailed simulations and analyses in a bid to gather game-changing insights and deliver new products to market. This is placing greater demand on existing IT infrastructures, driving a need for instant access to resources — compute, storage, and network — as well as high performing workload and resource management. With IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service, organizations can access SoftLayer’s cloud resources on a temporary basis without the need to acquire, install and configure the infrastructure in-house. IBM Platform LSF or Platform Symphony software is provisioned on SoftLayer and the on-premise infrastructure, expanding capacity as needed by seamlessly bursting jobs from on-premise to secure off-premise resources. With on-demand access to additional resources, organizations are able to quickly adapt to changing business needs and get their products or research out of the door faster.
IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service will be provide an end-to-end hybrid cloud environment to organizations running compute-intensive analytics and technical computing applications. With the acquisition of SoftLayer and Platform Computing, IBM offers clients the benefit of providing both in one complete solution, with the addition of industry expertise to provide support.
Virtual Clouds for the Mainframe
IBM is also introducing IBM Wave for z/VM, a virtualization management tool for managing IBM z/VM and Linux virtual servers, which makes first-time private cloud deployments easier. IBM acquired the technology with the purchase of Israeli-based virtualization company CSL International. IBM Wave makes tasks in Linux on System z environments easier with automation, intelligent visualization, simplified monitoring and unified management.
IBM Wave can help improve productivity and operational efficiency of managing complex server environments. It offers policy-based virtual server provisioning and scaling to handle the most complex installations. Internal tests conducted with IBM Wave demonstrated that it reduced time needed to conduct common and administrative tasks by more than 50 percent.
 Statistic based on client implementations as of 4Q 2013
 Statements regarding future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice.