IBM to nix SmartCloud Enterprise, migrate customers to newly acquired SoftLayer cloud

IBM is offering free migration to customers off its SmartCloud platform

IBM has informed its customers that it will be phasing out its SmartCloud Enterprise cloud computing platform and is offering free migration of workloads to SoftLayer's cloud, which IBM recently purchased.  

Two analysts who track the cloud computing industry first broke the news late Wednesday evening that IBM had informed its customers that SmartCloud Enterprise (SCE) is shutting down by Jan. 31, 2014. Cloud consultancy CohensiveFT posted on its blog a letter that appears to be from IBM to customers.

An IBM spokesperson confirmed the news Thursday and said that it has been part of the plan since IBM acquired SoftLayer to migrate customers over to that platform. But today is the first time IBM has acknowledged that publicly.

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[CLOUD CHRONICLES BLOG: Why IBM is phasing out SmartCloud Enterprise in favor of SoftLayer]

IBM’s SCE service has been met with lackluster reviews. In Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant report for IaaS, authored by Lydia Leong, IBM placed in the least favorable position out of more than a dozen companies analyzed. In that report, Leong noted that SCE features lagged “significantly behind” its competitors, that it has weak security capabilities that make it difficult for customers to meet regulatory compliances, and that its service-level agreement (SLA) did not cover basic provisions such as when the service was unavailable for maintenance.

IBM added a company with a good reputation in the cloud industry when it closed its acquisition of SoftLayer in July. SoftLayer offers traditional pay-per-use virtual machines and storage, but also an array of bare-metal servers for rent as well. Those non-virtualized machines can provide higher compute performance for workloads that need it. SoftLayer has been focused on servicing the small and midsized business market and has based its platform on open source CloudStack. After being acquired by IBM, the company has been serving large enterprise customers more, and has begun exploring how it can integrate OpenStack into its offering. IBM has made public commitments to use OpenStack.

In a letter posted by CohesiveFT, IBM offers to migrate customers from SCE to SoftLayer for free, which it says should happen before Jan. 31 of next year, “at which time access to SmartCloud Enterprise will no longer be available.” IBM says that SmartCloud Enterprise+, which is another product in IBM’s cloud portfolio, is unaffected by this news.

Just a few weeks ago the cloud market reacted to the news of another cloud platform shuttering: Cloud storage provider Nirvanix announced it would be going out of business.

Check back to Network World later today for more information on the IBM news.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here.  

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