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MANAGED SERVICES hybrid cloud


In partnering with IBM, the two companies can build on Docker’s open platform including the new APIs to orchestrate applications from development through deployment. Companies will have a more efficient and effective way to build, ship and run Docker multi-container, multi-host applications in the cloud.


Additionally, this partnership will assist in increasing developer productivity and accelerate time to market for smarter applications, which are coupled with IBM’s strong security and integration with key existing enterprise systems, including service management and DevOps.


As part of this partnership, IBM is also announcing the beta of IBM Containers that is a Docker-based container service that will include open Docker-native features and interfaces, including the new Docker orchestration services. Delivered as part of Bluemix, IBM’s open cloud platform for


Equinix and SoftLayer previously partnered to offer customers direct cloud connection inside Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers via SoftLayer’s Direct Link service, a dedicated network connection. By extending the partnership to include additional secure and dynamic connections through Cloud Exchange, SoftLayer provides its customers with the ability to easily move production workloads in and out of the cloud, thus better enabling them to fully realise their hybrid cloud strategies.


The SoftLayer platform is designed to give customers complete access and control over the infrastructure that they need to build in the cloud. By offering a connection to SoftLayer’s cloud services via the Equinix Cloud Exchange, SoftLayer provides its customers additional choices, a global network that extends beyond the 40 cloud centers that IBM has committed to establishing, and peace of mind through a


knows what the future holds?” He continues: “Initially, people are dipping their toe in the water, but we are starting to see a significant wave of organisations commit to the Cloud strategically. These companies are already benefiting from significant commercial advantages over their rivals.”


So, it seems to be more of a case of ‘Can anyone afford not to be in the Cloud?’ rather than the reverse. However, Clark is keen to emphasise that IBM’s starting point with clients is not a brainwashing ‘Cloud at any cost’ message, rather a conversation. Clark explains: “The opportunity to sit down with a client allows us to understand what it is their trying to do. Once we have this knowledge we can come up with the appropriate solution. It might be something as simple as connection as a service or a managed service for an HR department, all the way to something rather more complicated and individual – as with National Express, for example.”


The SoftLayer platform is designed to give customers complete access and control over the infrastructure that they need to build in the cloud. By offering a connection to SoftLayer’s cloud services via the Equinix Cloud Exchange, SoftLayer provides its customers additional choices, a global network that extends beyond the 40 cloud centers that IBM has committed to establishing, and peace of mind through a secure, low latency connection to the cloud


application development, the IBM Containers service will enable enterprises to launch Docker containers directly onto the IBM Cloud on bare metal servers from SoftLayer, an IBM company. By leveraging Docker container technology, this will provide companies an environment that is simpler to manage and offers increased utilisation and performance in a more flexible execution model, expanding the types of applications that can be supported on the IBM Cloud.


And, in another example, IBM and Equinix have announced an agreement to provide enterprises direct access to the full portfolio of cloud services from SoftLayer, via the Equinix Cloud Exchange™ in nine markets worldwide spanning the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. Equinix also announced Cloud Exchange enhancements, including API functionality that makes it easier for service providers to use a single interface to the Cloud Exchange, resulting in scalable, private and secure connections to their cloud services with near real-time provisioning.


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secure, low latency connection to the cloud. Clark summarises: “We’ve got a lot of partners in our ecosystem – companies who’ve very quickly understood the Cloud story and who work closely with us and who embrace what we’re doing, recognising how they can add value to their own core businesses. In basic terms, IBM SoftLayer is a foundation cloud layer for IBM’s expansive cloud portfolio, and almost anyone can then wrap around their own software and services. It’s a challenging and exciting time for all those involved.”


Looking ahead


Clark is understandably reluctant to make any headline-grabbing predictions as to how the Cloud market might develop over time, but he’s prepared to be surprised at just how quickly it could become the norm in terms of the IT resource on which most enterprises come to rely. “Paradigms are there to be broken,” says Clark. “Ten years ago, could I have imagined the IaaS model we have now? Absolutely not. So, who


In talking to Doug Clark, and studying IBM’s Cloud strategy in some detail, it’s hard not to conclude that here’s one organisation that has fully understood where the market is heading and that has a clear focus on what will be important to its customers into the future. Whether there is an IT organisation with such a rich legacy better able to deliver on the promise of the Cloud than IBM seems unlikely.


Right now, the Cloud and Cloud Managed Services market is relatively immature, with many vendor organisations of all shapes and sizes trying to work out just how they can stay relevant to their customers as the emphasis switches from the commodity hardware items to the ‘clever software stuff’. IT hardware isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, but it’s become much more of a commodity item in recent times, and the intelligence and the value now lies higher up the stack, in the software applications that are the real business drivers.


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