IBM to go live with SoftLayer in Sydney and Melbourne

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IBM to go live with SoftLayer in Sydney and Melbourne

IBM today confirmed the industry's worst-kept secret with the news it will offer its first SoftLayer cloud services to the Australian market by the end of the year.

The services will be offered via two data centres in Sydney and Melbourne. The company today announced its $35 million investment to build racks inside a Digital Realty-owned facility in Deer Park, Melbourne, from which it will offer infrastructure-as-a-service under the Softlayer brand from next month.

The same services will be available from a Sydney data centre within two months, IBM also announced.

IBM has partnered with Avnet Technology Solutions to build out the partner network for SoftLayer.

The two facilities are expected to ease privacy and regulatory concerns for organisations considering use of public clouds. The two data centres will also work together to provide active-active and active-passive disaster recovery.

The facilities form part of IBM’s global plan to launch 15 new data centres under a $1.2 billion global investment in cloud services.

The Melbourne facility is 10,000 square feet and will replicate the design of SoftLayer data centres around the globe. It will have capacity for more than 15,000 physical servers.

To ensure uptime, SoftLayer manages its own fibre optic backbone, which is a mix of owned and leased networks.

“Latency is important to us,” said SoftLayer chief executive Lance Crosby. "We want to be no more than 20 milliseconds from our customers otherwise we see degradation in services such as VoIP and social gaming.”

Crosby said that SoftLayer was looking to gain a foothold in the growing cloud services market in Australia. Prior to SoftLayer’s acquisition [by IBM], five percent of the company's revenues were from Australia, he said.

IBM purchased SoftLayer last year in a bid to fast track IBM's cloud services portfolio to compete with more established rivals. 

In 2011 Crosby visited Australia with an eye to provide a local data centre in the market, but was unable at the time to fund the expansion without additional backing. 

“We just didn’t have the capital resources," Crosby said. "But since the IBM acquisition, we are now in a position to expand where we see the opportunity, and I see a lot of opportunity in Australia.” 

Australian customers of SoftLayer include Westfield, Hotels Combined and Digital Market Square.

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