IBM Launches Blue Box Private OpenStack Cloud Services on SoftLayer

Exec says quick port to SoftLayer demonstrates flexibility of the Blue Box technology

Michael Vizard

August 26, 2015

2 Min Read
IBM 2009 CeBIT
A young woman walks past the IBM logo at the 2009 CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Less than three months since buying the private cloud company Blue Box, IBM announced today that it has ported the private cloud software it gained via the acquisition to the IBM SoftLayer cloud.

“Blue Box is now available in 40 plus data centers around the world,” Angel Diaz, VP of cloud architecture and technology at IBM, said. “We think the fact that it took us less than 90 days to make the port shows how flexible Blue Box really is.”

Based on an implementation of OpenStack, the managed hosted service removes all the complexity associated with deploying, updating, and managing an instance of OpenStack from the internal IT organization, he explained.

As an open source framework, OpenStack has the potential to reduce licensing costs associated with commercial IT management software. But as technology, OpenStack is still relatively immature.

Most IT organizations don’t have the engineering resources to deploy it, much less manage it on their own. For that reason, Diaz said, some organizations will take advantage of the shift to OpenStack to rely more on external IT service providers.

Nevertheless, organizations have the option of deploying the Blue Box private cloud on-premise or in the Softlayer cloud, and development work surrounding OpenStack is clearly ongoing. As such, OpenStack this time next year should be simpler to master as both the modules that make up OpenStack become more robust, and the automation frameworks surrounding it become more sophisticated.

In the case of IBM, Diaz said, the company is squarely focused on not only expanding the number of use cases for OpenStack, but also improving overall scalability and interoperability. IBM is specifically focused on improving the robustness of the Neutron networking software that comes with OpenStack and concretely demonstrating the level of interoperability that needs to exist between various implementations of the open source framework.

After all, without that interoperability, OpenStack becomes more of a joint research and development project that does more to benefit vendors than it does an IT organization.

Obviously, OpenStack has a ways to go before achieving mass adoption. IT organizations, said Diaz, have made it clear they don’t want all their workloads running in a multi-tenant public cloud. As for any of the gaps that currently exist between OpenStack and rival commercial software platforms, Diaz said, with over 500 IBM developers working on OpenStack those gaps will be closed very quickly.

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