IBM launches on-shore SoftLayer cloud services in Australia

SoftLayer data centre launched in Melbourne; second data centre to open in Sydney later this year

SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby

SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby

SoftLayer will launch its Australian first data centre next month in Melbourne, the cloud provider and its parent IBM have announced.

A second Australian data centre will be launched in Sydney in 60 days later, according to SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby.

The data centres are being built as part of a $1.2 billion global investment by IBM to build 15 new data centres around the world.

The data centres in Sydney and Melbourne will be identically equipped, providing redundancy in the case of disaster. They will provide all of SoftLayer's cloud services including bare metal and virtual servers, storage and networking in one integrated platform.

Like other SoftLayer data centres, the Australian facilities will be about 10,000 square feet and each will have capacity for more than 15,000 physical services at launch. In the future, each site could expand to include 100,000 servers, said Crosby.

At today's launch in Melbourne, Crosby said SoftLayer had seen significant demand in Australia, with 5 per cent of its revenue coming from the country before the launch.

"It's always been a key part of the world for us from a customer perspective," he said.

"There's lots of high-end enterprise application and there's also a lots of new innovation and new startups in this area. If I go around the globe and talk about pockets of innovation and startups, Australia is probably one of the top five or 10 locations in the world."

In addition, it has been SoftLayer's strategy to have a presence in individual countries rather than larger regions, said Crosby.

"It's all about data residency," he said. "Our competitors built giant facilities and try to service regions, and we knew we would have to be literally in every major country in the world."

This is in part due to privacy laws around the world, he said. "You're just bound by law. There's certain data you cannot take offshore."

Sydney and Melbourne were chosen to host the data centres because they are Australia's two largest cities, said Crosby.

Scentre Group, the owner of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand, is one of IBM's enterprise customers developing a hybrid cloud strategy.

The Group's IT director, Peter Bourke, said SoftLayer allows the organisation to take a hybrid cloud approach, choosing which data and applications go to the cloud and which stay on-premise.

Peter Bourke, IT director for Scentre Group, which operates Westfield in Australia.
Peter Bourke, IT director for Scentre Group, which operates Westfield in Australia.

"Within our environment, we have something like 280 workloads. We're going through each of those to determine where they best fit in the evolution of our strategy and the evolution of our use of the cloud," he said.

"Some can transition immediately. Some need to go through a staging environment. Some need to stay to a more traditional managed services environment and some of them we still work with in a co-location environment."

All of the above are "different variations of the cloud," he said. "It's working out where the workloads fit to get the best advantage."

Other big IBM SoftLayer customers in the region include Rightship, Loft Group and HotelsCombined. Tech startup customers include Digital Market Square, Bugwolf, Cartesian and Portland Software.

Amazon launched a Sydney region for its public cloud services in November 2012. Microsoft announced in 2013 a local region for Azure with sub-regions in NSW and Victoria, but it is not yet available to customers. Rackspace launched its first Australian data centre in August 2012.

Adam Bender travelled to Melbourne as a guest of IBM.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags data centresMelbourneSydneyVictoriaSoftLayerWestfieldNew South Wales (NSW)Scentre Group

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