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Summary:

Softlayer may be in the cross hairs of not one but two legacy IT giants, according to a Reuters report. Even the idea that EMC or IBM would consider a buyout is interesting.

It is certainly interesting times in the cloud computing world. Not one, but two IT behemoths — IBM and EMC — are reportedly considering a buyout of SoftLayer, the Dallas-based cloud services provider. Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported that any deal could be worth $2 billion. All three of the companies issued their standard “no comment” when contacted.

softlayerIf IBM and EMC are pursuing SoftLayer, it’s interesting for a few reasons. First, IBM has spent billions building its own cloud computing business cobbling together technologies from Tivoli, WebSphere and other sources from the last decade. Last week, it just started rolling out pieces of its OpenStack-based cloud. If it’s really going all out to buy a cloud provider of Softlayer’s size, it shows that time is of the essence for big blue.

As forEMC, the storage giant owns about 80 percent of VMware, which yesterday confirmed that it is building its own public Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud to take on Amazon Web Services. SoftLayer competes with AWS for many workloads.

SoftLayer is a big cloud services provider with a flair for innovation and choice. It offers managed services, private and public cloud infrastructure as needed. It has lots of startup and enterprise customers including Path, SendGrid, SlideShare, Cloudant, Citrix, ZipServers and AT&T.

If IBM and EMC are considering this deal it means they see the need to buy a fully established cloud player with real customers and not a ton of reliance on older technologies. And that is the name of the game as legacy tech players see that they need to compete better with Amazon, and increasingly Google and Microsoft which are all building out massive scale-out cloud infrastructure for enterprise as well as startup workloads. Enterprise customers, as we know, are the lifeblood of IBM and EMC alike.

Because of its cloud experience, its customer list, and its size, SoftLayer could make an attractive target for an older, bigger company wanting to boast of a state-of-the-art, modern cloud. To put things in context, Rackspace, based in San Antonio, Texas, is also a rumored buyout target every month or so.

  1. Dissonance alert!! IBM has just doubled down on OpenStack for all of its cloudy stuff; meanwhile, SoftLayer’s cloud is built (very elegantly) on Apache CloudStack.

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  2. Apparently this is just a rumour and it’s business as usual at Softlayer, as far as customers are concerned. We’ve been using Softlayer at Server Density for just under a year now and the experience is excellent – the only good hosting provider to provide cloud and physical servers in the same environment, worldwide. Would be a great acquisition for anyone!

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