SoftLayer is a cloud infrastructure provider that offers global, on-demand datacenter and hosting services empowering enterprises with complete access, control, security and scalability for their computing resources. With datacenters strategically located in the United States, Asia and Europe, SoftLayer provides a worldwide network that delivers unparalleled reliability and performance. SoftLayer is the largest privately held Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider in the world, with 100,000 servers under management and 25,000 leading-edge customers ranging from technology startups to global enterprises.
Traditionally, most private cloud solutions offered by service providers have been comprised of a portion of their public cloud that was carved out for dedicated use. Virtual machines, storage and networking options made available by the service provider typically limited the customer’s overall architecture choice. This meant that customers had to work within the boundaries set by the service provider.
In addition, management of cloud resources — compute, storage, databases and networks — was challenging. “We have customers with fairly large server deployments, hundreds or even thousands of physical servers or virtual machines and they were creating their own management tools, because they lacked an efficient method for managing their cloud,” said Nathan Day, Chief Scientist at SoftLayer. Because of the demand for more choice, flexibility and improved cloud management, SoftLayer set out to build a flexible private cloud solution.
SoftLayer looked at a variety of different cloud orchestration platforms for the foundation of their private cloud, and ultimately selected Citrix CloudPlatform, powered by Apache CloudStack. “The combination of product maturity, industry adoption, an open source solution and feature richness made going to market with Citrix quick and easy,” explained Day. The open source nature of CloudPlatform also provides proven scalability for SoftLayer, and the confidence that the solution will continue to evolve.
It was critical that existing automation systems and infrastructure investments could be integrated into the solution. The automated virtual server infrastructure for SoftLayer is built on Citrix XenServer and Citrix NetScaler and is used for load balancing and acceleration. “We’ve automated the deployment of the Citrix solutions with our APIs and definitely wanted them to be part of the private cloud solution,” says Day.
The result was that CloudPlatform seamlessly connected into the existing SoftLayer architecture. Instead of starting at square one, CloudPlatform gave SoftLayer a simple way to easily offer a turnkey cloud, ready for whatever their customers wanted to do.
With CloudPlatform, customers can design a cloud that’s exactly right for them, including custom configurations that span everything from servers, storage and network to geographic location. This degree of control and choice helps customers deliver their applications and manage workloads for maximum efficiency, user experience and elasticity.
SoftLayer is also providing cloud mobility, making it easy to move between an on-premises cloud and SoftLayer private cloud. “Instead of designing apps for a particular service provider’s proprietary cloud, customers can design and deliver apps via any number of clouds that run on CloudPlatform,” explains Day.
“With CloudPlatform powering SoftLayer private clouds, we’re essentially giving someone their own Amazon- style private cloud. At the push of a button our customers can connect their datacenter to ours or build whatever type of cloud they want in a matter of hours, with the scale, choice and control they demand,” says Nathan Day.
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the company transforming how people, businesses and IT work and collaborate in the cloud era. With market-leading cloud, collaboration, networking and virtualization technologies, Citrix powers mobile workstyles and cloud services, making complex enterprise IT simpler and more accessible for 260,000 enterprises. Citrix touches 75 percent of Internet users each day and partners with more than 10,000 companies in 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2011 was $2.21 billion. Learn more at www.citrix.com.