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IBM Buys Into Cloud IaaS With SoftLayer Acquisition

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

After plenty of speculation, SoftLayer is snapped up by IBM in what will be one of the biggest cloud deals of the year

After months of rumour and speculation, IBM confirmed today it has bought cloud infrastructure heavyweight SoftLayer.

It was believed in March IBM was lining up a bid of $2 billion (£1.3bn) or more for SoftLayer, the world’s largest privately-held Infrastructure-as-a-Service player. EMC had also been cited as a suitor.

The terms of the IBM SoftLayer deal were not disclosed.

SoftLayer between cloudy worlds

Ethernet cloud rental network © Brian A Jackson ShutterstockBig Blue has not just bought itself 21,000 extra customers and some snazzy technology, designed to make cloud easy with one API and one portal for IT to manage, it has acquired 13 data centres covering the US, Asia and Europe.

SoftLayer lets customers choose what kind of clouds they want to use and then move workloads easily across them. It allows the cross-use of bare metal and hosted hypervisors, so IT can be flexible in deciding whether it wants to use the company’s resources or SoftLayer’s CPU.

The overall aim is to let public and private clouds hook up easily. IBM believes it can now be a serious contender to Amazon’s dominance in the public cloud space, whilst enjoying the benefits of the private world too.

Cloud is one of IBM’s core strategy pillars and it hopes to reach $7 billion annually in cloud revenue by the end of 2015. The SoftLayer hosting capabilities could prove useful for hosting its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, of which there are over 100, to let customers use them flexibly.

“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.

Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer, added: “The compelling opportunity is connecting IBM’s geographic reach, industry expertise and IBM’s SmartCloud breadth with our innovative technology. Together SoftLayer and IBM expand their reach to new clients – both born-on-the-cloud and born-in-the-enterprise.”

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