IBM is folding SoftLayer into its Bluemix cloud services portfolio

My brand is disappearing, IBM's SoftLayer object storage leader tells OpenStack conference

OpenStack users running their workloads on IBM's SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure took it calmly when the company's object storage development lead, Brian Cline, announced that SoftLayer is going away.

Cline opened his presentation with the news at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona on Tuesday.

But it's not as bad as it sounds. The same services will still be available from the same servers, managed through the same SoftLayer control portal: Only the brand is going away.

IBM is going to replace the SoftLayer name with Bluemix, its broader cloud platform, making SoftLayer services just another page in the Bluemix catalog of infrastructure, platform and application services.

As IBM's digital content director for SoftLayer, Kevin Hazard, put it in a blog post announcing the move, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

It's been a little over three years since IBM bought SoftLayer, seeking to provide its customers with an in-house alternative to running workloads on Amazon Web Services.

At the time, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (then just Hewlett-Packard) was following a similar course, but a year ago it announced plans to pull the plug on its own public cloud, Helion, to concentrate on hybrid and private cloud infrastructure.

IBM, though, is doubling down: After spending US$2 billion to buy SoftLayer, it's invested another $1 billion in its cloud services infrastructure since, according to a Deutsche Bank research report.

The changes to SoftLayer could be seen as further evidence of that commitment: You don't spend money integrating something you're about to switch off.

In the future, customers wanting to order further SoftLayer services will have to go to IBM.com/Bluemix, although for the next few months they will still be available at SoftLayer.com, the company said.

While the SoftLayer control portal will keep running, IBM has integrated it into the Bluemix console too. Customers can also get a single invoice for Bluemix and SoftLayer services by linking their accounts. Single sign-on is now also possible with IBMid.

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