SoftLayer Launches CloudLayer

When Gray Hall and I launched this blog, our first entry included this statement:

“…this phenomenon called cloud computing represents both an exciting opportunity and a significant threat to the IT service provider industry.”

Not all service providers possess the in house capability, or desire, to build the raw infrastructure to deliver a cloud computing service. Almost all of them do, however, know they need to deploy an advanced cloud computing solution, and are looking for partners and solutions to speed their offerings to market. They are doing what they do best, integrating offerings into a cohesive service delivery stack, based on their vision for their current and future customers use of cloud computing. Many do the real customization in the integration of the various infrastructures, designed to meet specific needs.

While we started a couple of months ago, this story began in April 2008, when we coalesced our ideas on the need for deployable cloud computing infrastructure for the IT service provider industry, and started Mezeo (a platform for the deployment of cloud storage). With the launch of CloudLayer, our vision of the marketplace requirements for the delivery of cloud computing by IT service providers goes from theory to fact.

CloudLayer from Softlayer provides a new, significant, differentiated offering in the cloud computing service provider market space, one that will gain consideration versus Amazon Web Services and Rackspace Mosso, as well as others.

Mezeo provides the cloud storage infrastructure that is utilized by SoftLayer as part of the CloudLayer offering. Other suppliers, as well as SoftLayer’s automation and integration, yield the competitive offering.

Everybody wins! Customers have additional choices. Service providers will differentiate with service level, features, and price. Many new infrastructure offerings will race to the market, enabling clouds to be built by many service providers.

Two things I believe we can be sure about are as follows:

First, we still have a lot of sorting out to do on the subject of standards, and how the infrastructure offerings will integrate. This is significant work, and it will enable cloud service offerings to be easily deployed and customized.

Next week, SNIA is hosting a meeting about standards and APIs associated with cloud storage. The SNIA has created the Cloud Storage Technical Work Group (TWG) – the primary technical entity for the Association to identify, develop, and coordinate system standards and interfaces for cloud storage. Read more about the SNIA Cloud Storage TWG, and join a SNIA Cloud Storage Group today!

Unlike the manifesto, this is an open forum, with proven processes from which serious and helpful guidance will likely emerge.

Second, suppliers are readying offerings that range from integration of virtualized processing to file storage, database, billing and provisioning. Many IT service providers are in different stages of deploying their competitive cloud computing service offerings. Competition will increase, and opportunity will accrue to those who quickly and effectively master the deployment and management of these offerings.

In a conversation last week, I was asked a reasonable question: Why did I think IT Service providers of many sizes and skills can take on Amazon Web Services and Rackspace? Why wouldn’t these two large companies just take over the market for cloud computing services?

I have seen the answer, and it is CloudLayer. Today, people are looking at CloudLayer as a new option in the cloud computing service provider space. They’re checking it out, considering it for new solutions. You should check it out to!

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