Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

IBM Transitions SmartCloud Users to SoftLayer 

Last week, IBM notified customers of its SmartCloud Enterprise infrastructure cloud that on January 31, 2014, their accounts would no longer be available and that customers would have to move over to SoftLayer, another public cloud that IBM acquired this past summer.

From the IBM statement:

“SoftLayer will be the foundation of IBM’s cloud portfolio and clients will have access to SoftLayer capabilities delivering higher performance and vastly enhanced functionality…As part of this effort, IBM has requested that clients migrate eligible IBM SmartCloud Enterprise (SCE) workloads to the SoftLayer cloud environment. IBM is offering at no charge, use of a fast and easy migration tool to streamline the migration. Migration to the SoftLayer environment must be complete for IBM SmartCloud Enterprise customers no later than 31 January 2014, at which time access to SmartCloud Enterprise will no longer be available.”

IBM has selected cloud migration software provider Racemi to help SCE customers move their virtual servers to SoftLayer. Racemi, which bills itself the moving company for the cloud, offers a migration software package, called Cloud Path, that it says can automatically migrate existing physical or virtual servers into the cloud, or move virtual servers between cloud providers.

While IBM will be footing the Racemi bill for users making the transition, the process will still largely be a manual one for the former customers of the SCE service. The company has released a ten step migration primer that outlays everything needed for users to make the switch. Included in these migration instructions are such items as follows:

  • Analyze your current SCE usage, including items such as operating systems, VM sizes, persistent storage requirements, reserved IP addresses, applications and services used. You will need this information to make your migration decisions.
  • Read Migrating VM instances from SCE to SoftLayer using Racemi Cloud Path service. This article describes how to set up your accounts and prepare for migration, and includes known issues and limitations.
  • Read Mapping SCE VM sizes to equivalent configurations in SoftLayer and Mapping IBM SmartCloud Enterprise service names, terms, and concepts to SoftLayer to help you understand differences between SCE and SoftLayer.

The forced migration is instructive, even for those who are not SCE users. The industry is sure to see more of this as clouds collapse, or vendors snap up smaller clouds to pump up their own businesses. This is precisely why IBM acquired SoftLayer, in fact. It needs to have a $7 billion cloud business by 2015 to keep its promises to Wall Street.

For its part, IBM has tried to sweeten up the process for existing SCE customers by making special offers that they say represent significant price and performance benefits, including the ability to waive up to one month of billing during the migration period. While efforts like these may take some of the sting out of the headaches switching services, ultimately a hassle is still a hassle.

Currently, IBM says that only its SmartCloud Enterprise service is affected. “SmartCloud Enterprise+ will continue for clients’ managed cloud workloads and is unaffected by this announcement,” the company said. SmartCloud Enterprise+ is the higher-end infrastructure cloud that has a mix of X86, Power, and System z mainframe capacity that is aimed at its key large accounts.

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