Since it launched in January 2006, Softlayer Technologies
has been focused on one thing: speed to market. Profitable
since their eighth month of operations, the combined
companies of Softlayer have tripled in size over the last
four years, through 22 quarters of non-stop growth.
Currently, Softlayer provides cloud computing capacity on-demand
to 25,000 customers in 140 countries. In doing so,
the company has consistently remained two quarters ahead
of its competition by taking an innovative, automated
approach to building the technology infrastructure that
supports its customers and its customers' customers.
"Our differentiators are ease of use and time to market,"
explains Sean Charnock, VP of business development.
"Our customers don't care how it works." Softlayer's
philosophy is that they shouldn't have to. The company's
objective is to put its infrastructure at its customers'
fingertips, anytime, anywhere.
In technical terms, this translates to 2.6 million lines
of code, 13 data centers, and a standardized, automated
process for deploying additional compute resources in each
of these data centers. Softlayer relies on an operationally
efficient approach to building the IT infrastructure running
its applications. This requires finding technology partners
that can keep up with, and even ahead of, its needs.
In 2006, Softlayer turned to Forsythe for assistance
with the day-to-day details, working directly with
Softlayer's vendors. Forsythe also handles logistics,
technology selection and procurement, from
forecasting capital expense purchases to providing
information on technologies under consideration.
When Softlayer's customers demand specific feature
set requirements, the company looks to Forsythe to
validate the capabilities of the different products.
Forsythe team members are on-site at Softlayer almost
every day to ensure that questions are answered and
decisions can be made without delay.
The Forsythe Integration & Configuration Center team
helps manage product inventory, enabling Softlayer to
have products ordered, staged and housed in advance
for quick deployment without having to warehouse
them on-site. Softlayer uses Forsythe's multi-vendor
portal, an order tracking tool, to see open orders,
confirm when product will arrive at the warehouse,
review lease schedules and export all the information
for asset management.
For Softlayer's Amsterdam and Singapore data center
launches, Forsythe's international team worked with its
local vendor partners in Europe and Asia to handle all
the details from order to delivery, in compliance with
local, international and U.S. regulations.
And when Softlayer needed to slow things down,
in order to conduct extensive testing to evaluate a
new storage platform, Forsythe drew on its strong
partnerships to arrange a custom, long-term proof
of concept that allowed Softlayer to fully validate
By providing operational efficiencies for massive
infrastructure implementations, Forsythe enables
Softlayer to move swiftly and focus on its customers'
needs rather than on the infrastructure supporting
them. That means that Softlayer can get a new
customer up and running in 15 minutes, or turn
on thousands of servers in a week. This is how
Softlayer consistently stays two quarters ahead of
Forsythe's international capabilities enabled Softlayer
to launch its Amsterdam and Singapore data centers,
start to finish, in under six months.
Thanks to Forsythe's assistance with its storage
proof of concept, Softlayer is now implementing a
new storage platform across all its data centers that
reduces storage costs, simplifies management and
As Bill McEvoy, Forsythe senior account manager,
explains, "Softlayer is always looking to bridge the
gap between providing new capacity and capabilities
to customers very fast and keeping its infrastructure
stable. The company accomplishes this through highly
standardized infrastructure that simplifies operational
processes and management. This enables Softlayer
to be tremendously dynamic and responsive to their
customers' enormous, ever-changing needs."
"In our world, it's either execute or get 'executed'. Customers panic, call
us and say, 'I'm sure this isn't possible, but can we get 500 servers in two
hours?' We smile and say yes. Forsythe has been with us since the beginning,
handling major complexity in a top notch way so we can focus on our core
competencies—our services for our customers."