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IBM adds block and file cloud storage options to SoftLayer

Big Blue adds iSCSI block and file access to SoftLayer cloud storage services

IBM has added block and file storage to its SoftLayer cloud storage services with the ability for customers to choose capacity or performance options.

SoftLayer customers can now choose block storage and file storage for bare metal or virtual servers with a performance option, which is based on flash drives and charged by input/outputs per second (IOPS), and an endurance option, which is charged by gigabyte.

Block storage is based on iSCSI storage area network (SAN) infrastructure and configurable in volumes of up to 12TB.

File storage allows the creation of file shares from 20GB to 12TB and is network file system-based network-attached storage (NAS).

On both platforms customers can allocate pre-set IOPS levels to volumes to ensure performance for the intended workload. Snapshots and replication are available but only for the endurance option.

The performance option is for transactional applications, while endurance is aimed at read-heavy workloads, plus backup and archiving.

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SoftLayer CTO Marc Jones said when an application or dataset is mission-critical, it is important to be able to control as many dimensions of its storage as possible.

“So as we created our new block storage and file storage, we engineered them with endurance and performance options so that customers can fine-tune their environment by whichever attribute is their highest priority,” he said.

Endurance pricing ranges from $0.15 for 0.25 IOPS per GB, through $0.35 for 2 IOPS per GB to $0.58 for 4GB of storage. Performance options range from 100 IOPS to 6,000 IOPS. These start at $0.10 per GB and 0.12 IOPS per GB.

The new access methods are added to SoftLayer’s existing storage platforms: Object Storage, based on OpenStack Swift; configurable SAN or NAS bare metal storage based on OS Nexus QuantStor software-defined storage; and EVault and Idera-based cloud backup services.

SoftLayer – which was acquired by IBM in 2013 for its cloud-scale technology – can be managed and controlled using a number of access technologies. Developer access is via a representational state transfer application programming interface, while customer access is via a web portal or mobile application.

SoftLayer is seen as IBM’s attempt to retain market share against existing cloud giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, and is part of a wider strategy to transform Big Blue into a business based on cloud, analytics, mobile, and social aspects of IT. 

SoftLayer has around 30,000 customers and had plans to expand to 40 datacentres in 15 countries by the end of 2014.

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