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IBM to shutter SmartCloud, move customers to SoftLayer

Migrations due by January 31st, 2014, in-territory clouds to stay

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IBM will close its SmartCloud Enterprise service and force customers to migrate to its recently-acquired SoftLayer cloud.

News of the migration leaked today when Gartner veep Lydia Leong emitted the following Tweet:

Another analyst, Constellation Research's Holger Mueller, has told The Reg IBM briefed him on the closure, but first popped out this Tweet.

We naturally felt those emissions worthy of followup and made IBM aware of our desire for a swift comment.

IBM's acceded to our request, offering the following statement it is graciously allowing us to attribute to "An IBM spokesperson":

“IBM can confirm that clients using its public cloud platform will be transitioned to the Softlayer (an IBM company) public cloud platform, providing clients with a higher performing public cloud solution with advanced functionality.

IBM will continue to provide clients with an onshore, managed private cloud platform serviced out of Sydney, Australia.”

The Australia reference is there because this story was written in The Reg's Sydney office. But as the original tweets came from US-based folks we'll take it to mean all locales that have an IBM cloud will keep it.

SmartCloud Enterprise (SCE) is IBM's elastic infrastructure-as-a service offering. Introduced in 2012, SCE looked certain for change when IBM acquired bare metal cloudifier SoftLayer earlier this year. The nature of that change was flagged couple of weeks back when Big Blue announced it would cross-pollinate SoftLayer with its existing cloud kit. That position wobbled a bit: in this September yarn IBM told us SoftLayer would be front and centre in its future cloudy efforts.

That's clearly now come to pass, with IBM deciding to junk its own cloudy efforts and run with SoftLayer instead.

The decision could well be tied to Big Blue's failure to secure a contract with the CIA. Without a colossal customer, it may have made little sense to keep going with its own offering. Consolidating to a single cloud doubtless means lower spending, always a good thing.

Saving cash will be important if SoftLayer is to succeed: as we noted in June, the service is yet to scale out massively and lacks the support of a consumer cloud offering that makes that easier and more affordable.

Mueller, however, feels the move won't be bad for SmartCloud customers, according to this Tweet.

Whatever you think of Mueller's opinion, the closure is embarrassing for IBM and scary for others. Cloud is supposedly today's hottest enterprise IT market. That even mighty IBM can't make a go of it bespeaks stormy weather on the horizon. ®

Thanks to Jack Clark for helping out with this story.

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