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Summary:

You might have heard of SoftLayer, but if you’re like me, you probably didn’t know the cloud provider is hosting operations for some of the web’s hottest apps. Among them are Tumblr, OMGPOP, SendGrid and even Heroku. You learn something new every day.

softlayer

You might have heard of SoftLayer, but if you’re like me, you probably didn’t know the cloud provider is hosting operations for some of the web’s hottest apps. I assumed SoftLayer is more like enterprise cloud provider Terremark than it is like developer favorite Amazon Web Services — at least in its customer base if not in its technology — but I might have been wrong.

Here’s a list of services that run at least partially on the SoftLayer platform and that helped show me just how wrong I was:

  • Tumblr
  • OMGPOP
  • SendGrid
  • SlideShare
  • Struq
  • Cloudant
  • Host Gator
  • Modx
  • Citrix
  • ZipServers

Even Heroku, the platform-as-a-service provider famously built atop AWS, is a SoftLayer customer, although Heroku CEO Byron Sebastian declined to comment on how it’s using SoftLayer (or that it’s using it at all). That these companies use SoftLayer doesn’t mean they don’t also use AWS or another cloud, but the fact that they’ve all chosen to use SoftLayer says a lot about the experience of hosting with it.

Chief Marketing Officer Simon West, who worked at Terremark prior to joining SoftLayer, says the company owes a lot to its focus on automation from the start. The provisioning system was built before anything else, he said, and the APIs are very comprehensive. They cover everything SoftLayer offers, including bare metal servers, and customers use the same APIs SoftLayer uses internally.

If you want to use dedicated servers in one location and cloud servers in another, they all run and are managed across the same platform. And it offers a lot — cloud computing, dedicated servers and managed hosting across 13 data centers and more than 100,000 servers.

In traditional IT shops, West joked, “your worst nightmare is waking up Monday morning and finding your infrastructure has scaled itself by 300 percent over the weekend.” You’ll get fired.

But companies operating at Internet scale know “there ought to be a correlation between infrastructure and revenue.” You’ll get the Ferrari and parking spot if you build atop a platform that allows that type of scalability, he said.  I’m sure OMGPOP would vouch for SoftLayer’s ability to make that happen.

  1. Reblogged this on wwwdotalexadotme.

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  2. First I’ve heard of them and a pretty impressive customer list. I wonder if Tumblr is using them as their primary provider or if they just use them for surge.

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  3. They used to have excellent dedicated server platform and nice automation tools for the cloud. As for the cloud services, they are cheaper than AWS but they have had serious perfomance issues with their storage layer in the past. They probably have a biggest setup of Dell’s Equalogic devices but took them a while to figure out the way all it works. I know few clients left them due these issues in the past. Their current perfomance for the cloud is not in the top list if to beleive to external reports. We used to work with their platform in the past but perfomance wise I would avoid them for more optimized cloud providers.

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  4. Soufiane Abbad Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    OMG! CLOUD AGAIN

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  5. Large dedicated server shops like this are indeed a common part of the Internet ecosystem, and home to many large websites. It’s a bit odd that the author picked up on only SoftLayer, but others in their league include ServerBeach, Choopa, GoGrid/ServePath, LayeredTech, Internap/Voxel, and Rackspace, just to name a few.

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  6. jasonjwwilliams Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Dropbox is also at Softlayer.

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