IBM Expands Scope of SoftLayer Cloud Platform

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Three months after IBM acquired SoftLayer for $2 billion, the company is aggressively transitioning all of its cloud computing services to the SoftLayer platform.

IBM announced that it is moving the IBM Social Learning Platform and the recently acquired Xtify mobile messaging software to the Softlayer cloud platform. The company also reported that it has signed up 1,100 additional customers since acquiring SoftLayer.

Dennis Quan, IBM vice president of cloud infrastructure services, says the total base of customers using the SoftLayer platform is more than 22,000, and IBM now has over 100 software as a service (SaaS) applications.

To add to its portfolio, IBM also launched an IBM Mobile Feedback application delivered via the cloud that makes it easier to gather employee feedback and an IBM Survey Analytics application that uses text and visual analytics to extract and display over one million pieces of anonymous, unstructured data garnered from employee surveys.

IBM also announced that the IBM PureFlex family of integrated servers is now available as a platform option in the IBM SoftLayer cloud.

In general, Quan says IBM is moving forward on two critical initiatives. The first is reliance on an emerging OpenStack standard to drive the development of hybrid cloud computing adoption in the enterprise. The second is support for the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service environment that will be the primary vehicle through which IBM will encourage customers to build applications that span hybrid cloud computing environments.

With every major vendor in the enterprise racing toward the cloud, IBM is betting that a combination of SaaS applications and managed services that can be viewed as a natural extension of IBM’s portfolio of on-premise systems is going to be a winning combination—especially against rivals that don’t have as broad a cloud portfolio or enterprise management expertise.

The degree to which IBM can execute on that strategy remains to be seen, but if IBM continues to gain traction in the cloud, you can pretty much bet that there will be a wave of mergers and acquisitions across the cloud as rivals move to deliver a similar range of capabilities.