Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IBM buys SoftLayer. Yeah, that's a concern for us.


IBM to Acquire SoftLayer to Accelerate Adoption of Cloud Computing in the Enterprise


Never really cared much for the business side of software licensing and infrastructure when I was doing straight corporate development and administration.  Once I started hosting applications that all changed.   Why?  Because I became a paying customer.  I expect things and my vendors' decisions impact my business.

We've been using SoftLayer since 2007.  We chose them after a careful analysis of the other vendors available for hosting Domino servers "in the cloud."  When IBM started really pushing their cloud initiatives, we took another good look at what was out there.  Talked to all of the vendors again: IBM, Connectria, Prominic, Grouplive, Rackspace, Amazon, etc.  Decided SoftLayer was still the best fit for our business.

I did a trial of the IBM offering and found it to be by far the least responsive, most cumbersome, most expensive and least functionally mature option.

SoftLayer has great support, good pricing, great speed of deployment.  In other words, the very things IBM has traditionally, if anecdotally, been dinged for lacking.

I really love IBM Domino and Notes technology and I truly believe it is the best thing going.  Hands down.  That being said I'm pretty sure you'll find nobody out there who will say with a straight face that after IBM bought Lotus Development back in 1995 that things got easier for customers or partners.

So yeah, this is a concern for our business.  We figure the deal is supposed to close in Q3 (which means typically middle to end of Q3) and then there will be another 12 months for IBM to really sink its teeth into SoftLayer so we have some time to react to the "progress" but we will be watching very closely and at the same time keeping closer tabs on what Rackspace is doing.

99% sure our costs will go up and 85% sure that IBM, like banks and airlines, will start changing things  "for your convenience" and that usually doesn't end well.

We charge customers reasonable prices to give them what they want.  As a paying customer we won't be staying in any situation where our costs go up AND we no longer get what we want.  Not gonna' happen.  The fact is we don't need the Big Data, Analytics and OpenStack functions IBM says it will be bringing to SoftLayer and we're certainly not interested in subsidizing other customers who do.

On the other hand, this could totally be a good thing, too.  Absolutely.

I'll keep you posted.