What’s behind SoftLayer’s cloud infrastructure?

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SoftLayer infrastructureSince IBM acquired SoftLayer last summer, I’ve been asked many questions about its cloud infrastructure. Most of these questions refer to what they have and how they achieved this massive growth.

SoftLayer has more than 100,000 servers used by more than 21,000 customers and over 22,000,000 domains. This chart from illustrates the top 15 most popular hosting companies. SoftLayer chartWe can observe from this chart that SoftLayer is one of the top five host providers for web pages.

So, what is SoftLayer’s secret?

The company deployed a very complex global network infrastructure, with more than 30 data centers and Network PoP (Point of Presence) to support their infrastructure.

They also developed a good interface with application programming interfaces (APIs) to support their business on cloud and their entire hardware infrastructure.

SoftLayer selected a good cost-benefit server infrastructure, using:
• Server Platform: x86 Supermicro
• Virtualization: Xen (Citrix)
• Monitoring software: NinSoft (CA)
• Backup: Evault (Seagate)
• Application Acceleration Security, Load Balancing, Cloud Integration: Netscaler (Citrix)
• Security: Fortigate (Fortinet)

In addition, they developed a large portfolio, including:

Compute and storage
• Public cloud instances
• Bare metal servers
• Private cloud instances
• Storage, SAN, NAS
• Backup and restore

Network and security
• CDN (content delivery network)
• Load balancing (local and global)
• Firewalls (shared and dedicated)
• Application acceleration
• DNS (local and global) services
• IDS protection and assessment
• SSL certificate management
• Antivirus and malware protection

Platform management

• System administration

o Monitoring packages
o Managed hosting (infrastructure)
o Managed database services

• Software

o Library of OS, database, virtualization and administration software

• Message queue

o Message and notification service for intra-application and inter-system communications

These great features ally with a very big services portfolio and standardized, reliable server infrastructure. Together with a great support model, SoftLayer has become one of the best cloud solutions on the market.

If you need more information about SoftLayer, you can check out these websites: and You can also connect with me on Twitter @odilon_goulart and LinkedIn or post your comments below. I will be glad to answer your questions.

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