Building on SoftLayer’s cloud (while flying through one)


I’m part of a Cloud infrastructure Team that has deployed multiple IBM software as a service (SaaS) offerings leveraging the cost effectiveness, flexibility and power of cloud computing.  What is particularly unique about this new breed of offerings is that they are powered by the incredibly versatile SoftLayer cloud.

SoftLayer cloudWith an accelerated timeline and a focus on an agile development continuous delivery (CD) pipeline, we aggressively prepared our SaaS infrastructure for the expected surge of customer interest in the new offerings.  We were heavily reliant on the SoftLayer portal, application programming interfaces (APIs) and SoftLayer virtual private network (VPN) to manage the configuration of these complex SaaS environments.

The ease of use of the SoftLayer tools made a huge impact in simplifying our infrastructure management tasks. It enabled us to optimize building clouds “on the go” and I wanted to share a personal story that truly highlighted what I would term the SoftLayer difference.

7:28 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST): The call

As I was in the airport heading out to IBM Pulse 2014, I received a phone call from my teammate while in the TSA security line.  As I am one of the 90 percent of smartphone users that have their phone in arm’s reach 100 percent of the time, I instinctively answered my Jimi Hendrix “Purple Haze” ringtone. My teammate urgently needed additional capacity on another SoftLayer data center; in this case, it was Washington, DC (WDC01).  While we had the network capacity carved out for this data center, the network firewalls needed to be configured for end–to-end connectivity.

Knowing that I probably had less than 45 minutes on the ground before my flight took off for Las Vegas and realizing that my teammate had an early morning flight to Las Vegas the next day, I determined that if we didn’t enable this added capacity tonight, we’d likely lose more than half a day of provisioning time.  This set the wheels in motion for a sky adventure that I had not expected when I had left my house that afternoon!

9:42 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST): WiFi in the sky (with diamonds)

“Climb in the back with your head in the clouds, and you’re gone

- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (The Beatles)

Within an hour of that fateful call, my head along with the rest of my body was in the clouds. Thanks to the in-flight WiFi on the airline, I quickly logged into SoftLayer’s Portal and VPN and was off to the races configuring our virtual machine (VM) environment in the SoftLayer Washington, DC Data Center.

In a matter of minutes, I was able to purchase the in-flight WiFi and begin the configuration of the high availability firewalls and routing to the environment using the SoftLayer Portal— all of it through secure web connectivity (SSL).  I was even able to successfully test the instantiation of a small group of VMs in the WDC01 data center.  All this was completed before the flight crew had time to serve the usual beverages and peanuts!

Building on a better cloud

SoftLayer cloud2With the emails confirming the readiness of the new data center having been sent to my teammate, I shut down my notebook and put it away.  Then I turned to my trusty Android smartphone and reviewed all my environmental settings on SoftLayer’s Portal.   All looked well  and when the email came back confirming successful VM deployments, I was done and could enjoy my glass of apple juice.

I took a quick minute to mull over what my team had just done.  We had literally built a portion of a cloud environment while one member was on Solid ground the other was hurtling through the relatively cloudless skies over West Texas and New Mexico.

With the SoftLayer Portal and tools, gravity is no barrier to your productivity and you can build a cloud while cruising through the stratosphere.  To me, that’s the pinnacle of being exhilaratingly cool!

What’s the oddest physical location from where you have connected to, built or re-floated (repaired) a cloud? Tweet me @GigaManz or here in the comments section below to share your wildest cloud connection story!

Comments: 1
Manzoor Farid

About Manzoor Farid

Manzoor is an IT infrastructure strategy and architecture professional at IBM. He is based in Austin, Texas.
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One Response to Building on SoftLayer’s cloud (while flying through one)

  1. Delicious story, Manzoor :) I don't think people realize enough that, once you Think IT and Build IT properly, Cloud really opens you the door to the sky so widely that you just need to Tap Into IT and fly…

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