SoftLayer’s Nathan Day Talks Bare Metal & Virtual Compute

I met up with SoftLayer Chief Scientist Nathan Day a few weeks ago, while attending VMworld in San Francisco. The Dallas-based company was founded in 2005 and provides hosted and cloud-computing services to a wide variety of 25,000+ customers. It employs Citrix CloudPlatform (powered by Apache CloudStack) as part of its services.
SoftLayer wasn’t exhibiting at VMworld, which was no surprise and which made for an obvious question…
Roger: What do you think of the event?
Nathan: “VMworld is a great event. It includes more than just the VMware community, but also is applicable to the IT delivery ecosystem. I found it a great place to meet vendors, partners, and customers.”
Roger: So give us an update on SoftLayer’s activities.
Nathan: “SoftLayer continues to innovate by releasing new products each month. This year we introduced Object Storage, which is a redundant and highly scalable cloud storage service that allows users to easily store, search and retrieve data.  Another example is our new Message Queue Service to give our customers the a scalable and reliable message queue and notification service.”
“Perhaps the most significant is our turnkey Private Clouds offering. This is a breakthrough offering allows users to easily deploy fully configured, single tenant private clouds based on Citrix CloudPlatform.”
Roger: So what has SoftLayer already found to be advantageous about integrating (Citrix) XenServer rather than VMware. Is there an open-source philosophy behind how you build your infrastructure to serve your clients?
Nathan: “We use XenServer for our public, virtual machine cloud offering. Its attraction was as a affordable, enterprise-grade hypervisor with a great API that we could integrate to our own orchestration engine.”
Roger: How has your customer base changed over the past year or so, specifically, are customers asking different questions now? On the other hand, are you still looking at vast untapped opportunities from customers who are only now thinking about cloud computing?
Nathan: “We still see plenty of untapped opportunities. Some customers are still looking for raw infrastructure, but the vast majority are looking to run more complex solutions. We are seeing more examples of scalable architectures being built out that take advantage of our ability to rapidly provision both bare metal and virtual compute capability.”
“On the international front, we opened up two major data centers late last year – one in Amsterdam and another in Singapore. Both are fully staffed and offer customers our complete portfolio of services. We’re also seeing customers manage larger, more complex and distributed environments. They are turning to SoftLayer to help support their Internet-scale applications and architectures.”

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