IBM hedges bets, will keep CloudStack offerings from SoftLayer

It will offer both OpenStack and CloudStack services

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After exuberantly throwing its weight behind OpenStack, IBM now says it will offer cloud services based on CloudStack too, through its SoftLayer acquisition.

News broke this morning that IBM plans to buy SoftLayer, which it calls the largest privately held cloud computing infrastructure provider. SoftLayer is known for offering hosting and infrastructure-as-a-service, primarily to small and medium size businesses.

Source: r3beccaf, via Flickr

SoftLayer also is known primarily as a Citrix house, including a private cloud product based on CloudStack (formerly owned by Citrix). It also uses OpenStack for its object storage service.

Given IBM’s stated support of OpenStack, I was curious about the future of CloudStack at SoftLayer and asked IBM what the acquisition means for the CloudStack products. An IBM spokeswoman said that the deal won’t impact the CloudStack offerings at SoftLayer.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Either IBM will eventually phase out CloudStack or it has indeed decided to hedge its bets and offer both OpenStack and CloudStack services.

In its statement, IBM implied the latter. “With SoftLayer, IBM will accelerate the build-out of our public cloud infrastructure to give clients the broadest choice of cloud offerings to drive business innovation," Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, said in the statement.

Some people might look at this as the second blow to OpenStack in as many weeks, given Dell’s decision to dump its plans for an OpenStack public cloud.

One thing’s certain: it’s still anybody’s game. OpenStack and CloudStack are viable open source options for public clouds, also playing alongside proprietary public offerings from Microsoft, VMware, Amazon Web Service and Google Compute Engine. OpenStack, CloudStack, Eucalyptus, Microsoft and VMware are all vying for the private cloud market.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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