IBM is moving quickly to integrate technology from the recently acquired Blue Box cloud into its Softlayer cloud services. IBM announced the acquisition of Blue Box on June 3.
IBM's Softlayer historically was not an OpenStack-based service; rather, it was based largely on the rival CloudStack platform, but that is changing. Jesse Proudman, CTO of Blue Box, an IBM company, told ServerWatch that Blue Box is the second official IBM OpenStack deployment on SoftLayer. He explained that IBM has a product called ICOS that provided a similar hosted private cloud offering to Blue Box.
"Post acquisition, we're integrating the ICOS and Blue Box code bases and taking the best of both offerings to market," Proudman said. "Think about this as a product running on top of SoftLayer vs. being part of the SoftLayer product set."
Blue Box's core technology is managed private OpenStack technology. Blue Box has both an on-premises version as well as hosted version, which is what is coming to SoftLayer.
Proudman explained that the way Blue Box on SoftLayer works is there's a proprietary Blue Box Site Controller in each SoftLayer data center, which then runs each individual OpenStack environment in that site.
"We're utilizing SoftLayer for 'ping and pipe' - hardware and network - then our bits sit on top," Proudman said. "Site Controller provides all the orchestration that facilitates the on-going operations of each cloud."
x86 Now and Power8 in the Future for Blue Box?
As a company, IBM's server hardware business has moved away from x86 technology after IBM sold its x86 server business to Lenovo. IBM has been pushing its Power8 and SystemZ mainframe technologies to enterprises, though that push hasn't been reflected at SoftLayer all that much so far.
For the Blue Box announcement, Proudman commented that the news is focused solely on the Intel x86 offering. That said, he noted that Blue Box is evaluating Power8 from a customer demand perspective.
Overall, by becoming part of IBM, Proudman sees huge gains for Blue Box, most notably in terms of increased geographic footprint.
"The SoftLayer data center footprint gets us access to countries and points of presence we've never had access to as an independent company," Proudman said. "Customers can order Blue Box Cloud globally and have a fully managed production OpenStack environment much easier than any self service or software-based distribution can provide."