IBM To Add InfiniBand Option To SoftLayer Cloud

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Big Blue adds some go-faster communications tech to its SoftLayer Cloud platform for speedy data transfers

IBM has added the high performance InfiniBand communications technology to its SoftLayer cloud platform as an optional extra.

The company hopes the move will encourage organisations to experiment with the Big Data capabilities of its enterprise cloud offering.

Big Data Cloud

IBM’s decision to add InfiniBand support to its SoftLayer servers gives customers a cloud-based solution that can potentially deliver very high network throughput and low latency. This could, for example, allow the transfer of huge amounts of data – equivalent to more than 3,000 Blu-ray discs – in a single day, thanks to InfiniBand’s transfer speeds of up to 56Gbps.

IBM said the option would be ideally suited to to those customers operating in data-heavy industries such as oil and gas, energy and media.

ibm-cloud-l“As more and more companies migrate their toughest workloads to the cloud, many are now demanding that vendors provide high speed networking performance to keep up,” said SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby. “Our InfiniBand support is helping to push the technological envelope on what can be done on the cloud today. It showcases our innovation when collaborating with customers to help them solve complex business issues.”

“Bringing InfiniBand capability to the cloud is driven by the growing need for extremely high levels of speed and performance for scenarios such as HPC and big data,” commented Philbert Shih, managing director for Structure Research.

“This type of offering will help enable engineers and scientists to build, compute, and analyse simulations in real time leveraging hundreds of compute nodes. Being able to share and analyse data at this speed will only accelerate cloud adoption from this use case, while making HPC performance more accessible across a wide variety of industries.”

The InfiniBand option on SoftLayer will be available in the third quarter of 2014, but IBM has already begun signing up customers.

SoftLayer Expansion

Last month, IBM announced the London data centre it promised as part of a $1.2 billion (£707m) cloud expansion plan centred on its SoftLayer subsidiary, to be built in Chessington.

That data centre is one of fifteen being constructed around the world, to offer SoftLayer customers local data services. These data centres will be linked to a network Point of Presence (PoP) in London, and to SoftLayer’s Amsterdam data centre.

IBM bought SoftLayer in June 2013, and very quickly made it the centre of IBM’s cloud services offering.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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