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Guiding your enterprise to the SoftLayer cloud platform

With a range of service offerings, the SoftLayer cloud platform is central to IBM's cloud strategy. But what options are under the SoftLayer umbrella?

The highly competitive cloud market can be a daunting, and even humbling, space. While IBM is a major name in any corner of the IT world, even Big Blue had to adjust its cloud strategy. SoftLayer cloud platform is an essential cog in IBM's cloud wheel.

SoftLayer Technologies is an IBM company that provides cloud infrastructure services that range from bare-metal servers to turnkey managed services. With a variety of services falling under the SoftLayer cloud umbrella, it's crucial for enterprises to know all their options before venturing to the cloud platform.

The SoftLayer cloud platform open API is the company's foundation. It offers system-to-system access with more than 3,000 documented methods spread over 180 discrete services. According to SoftLayer, every customer has full access to its automated portfolio of services -- from accounting to DNS systems.

SoftLayer's philosophy is to automate every service or not offer it at all. Users can deploy and control every service -- including virtual servers, storage devices, account management and security infrastructure -- through a single management system via its own API, Web portal or remotely with a mobile application.

The SoftLayer cloud platform services include:

Storage: Customers can choose from a range of scalable storage options on a secure private network with available replication. Storage options are fully customizable and include object, SAN, NAS, CDN and QuantaStor.

Networking: Users can update, provision or configure network resources as demands dictate. Customers can access the SoftLayer VPN using DirectLink or through physical connections in 24 data center locations around the world.

Security: The platform has a range of options for physical and operational security, including on-demand hardware-assisted security offerings.

Development: SoftLayer's development options include messaging and notification to make scalability and automation more straightforward, audio and video conversion for content delivery, and a scalable email relay service.

Management: Customers can use all SoftLayer management tools on physical and virtual servers. The server imaging, testing and recovery tools are all automated. Monitoring and reporting is built into the SoftLayer cloud platform, as well as a customer portal with access to more than 200 services.

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SoftLayer cloud platform support is available 24/7 with 100% uptime guarantees, and the company claims to answer support tickets within 20 minutes.

SoftLayer is sold through a network of IBM Business Partners and service providers. Its pricing varies depending on many factors, including location, storage and computing instances. However, the base price for a single virtual server located in the central part of the United States is $.40 per hour.

SoftLayer's startup incubator program, Catalyst, provides free cloud platform and consulting. The program is open to startups or early-stage companies looking to create an Internet-dependent product or service. An application and recommendations are required.

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