Man starring at clouds

Moving to the Cloud: What you need to know

8 Oct 2014

IT professionals and CIOs readily testify there are many factors driving IT demand. The most influential factors are cyber security, real-time sensor data, advanced predictive analytics, growth of social media, explosion of mobile devices, and infrastructure optimization. And being that new applications are driving such an enormous amount of data into IT departments, IT professionals and CIOs are trying to figure out how to work with their Big Data. 

Understanding the Problem and Recognizing the Solution

The main problem falls back on the fact that traditional ways to deal with the data are starting to break down. These methods simply can’t handle such massive amounts of data, and we’re not talking about GB; we’re talking about ZB of data. Being that traditional methods no longer work, businesses, both large and small, are turning to the cloud. 

What is the Cloud? [2:18]

Taking a device and connecting it to the Internet doesn’t make it a cloud device, nor does it mean that it’s automatically connected to the cloud. On a side note, however, any type of device that can connect to the Internet/network does have the potential to be connected to the cloud if proper credentials and permissions are granted to the device. 

When it comes to connecting to the cloud, businesses need to look for the following:

  • Capacity on demand: anything in the cloud should be instantly available.
  • Consumption-based usage pricing: only pay for the services that are actually being utilized.
  • Self-service provisioning: a user should be able to provision applications without having to jump through numerous hoops.
  • Accessible via API: users should be able to access the cloud through an API.

The Beginning of the Cloud [4:27]

When the cloud first started out, some people thought it would solve all IT problems. Then they noticed there were security issues, and it wasn’t the magical solution they thought it was going to be. Now, we’ve gotten to the point that even though it’s not perfect, there is no denying that the cloud can solve a wide range of IT problems. 

Understanding Cloud Fundamentals [5:00]

No matter the enterprise, there are certain fundamentals that should always be established in the cloud:

  • On-demand
  • Consumptive billing
  • Automated
  • Scalable
  • Real-time: no downtime
  • Flexible
  • API driven
  • Global

Additionally, the cloud needs to be capable of Internet Scale, meaning it can handle:

  • Unpredictable traffic patterns
  • Unconstrained user base
  • Global potential
  • Network-sensitive
  • Leading-edge technology stack

Benefits of the Cloud for Businesses and IT Departments

  • Has integration tools
  • Time to market
  • Access to technology and innovation
  • Contract and cost
  • Enterprise and Internet scale
  • Control and transparency

Creating the Cloud [18:00]

Softlayer was founded in 2005 and has since grown exponentially, and was even recently acquired and purchased by IBM. It’s 10 founders previously worked together and discovered that many of the customers they were assisting were asking for the same thing (the cloud); however, the founders could see the clouds these customers were trying to build was only going to work on a short-term basis; it wasn’t going to scale. As a result, Softlayer was founded, providing everything that these customers were asking for in a scalable manner. . 

There are many services and products offered by IBM/Softlayer, including :

  • Bare metal server, great for big data
  • CCI, helps to take advantage of virtualization
  • Public CCI
  • Private clouds
  • IMS
  • API

And best of all, customers don’t have to pick one type of compute technology; they can mix and match. Everything offered through IBM/Softlayer is connected through triple-network architecture (22:41). Softlayer API provides 1,600 function calls to over 200 services (24:00). Over the next 12 to 18 months, IBM is investing more than $1b into establishing more data centers so that the offerings available through IBM/Softlayer can be enhanced. 

Advantages of IBM/Softlayer [25:39]

  • Complete control, access, and transparency
  • Seamless fault-tolerant multi-site topography
  • Single-tenant and multi-tenant environments
  • Complete portfolio available on-demand in all data centers

Case Studies [28:00]

DataZu and Struqare both companies that need to be able to carry out transactions in the fraction of a second, sort through extremely large amounts of data and much more. By leveraging the cloud, they can take advantage of scalability as well as rest assured latency issues won’t be a problem with the workloads they are trying to handle. 

Repsol is an oil and gas company out of Spain. The finance department was tired of having a data center that sat empty 75 percent of the year. They came to Softlayer and asked if there was a solution that came in the form of being able to access and use a server only when needed, instead of paying for one when they absolutely had no use for it. Softlayer was happy to tell them that they had the perfect solution. 

Going Forward

IBM has already announced that Softlayer will be the core infrastructure of the cloud provided by IBM. As a result, IT professionals and CIOs will be able to come to IBM and buy Softlayer as an infrastructure service, or they can buy other services offered through IBM, but even then, Softlayer will most likely be the underlying foundation of all IBM services.