February 27, 2009

Different Views for the Same Event

Here at SoftLayer, we try to address customer issues as quickly as possible. Recently, I have been faced with a few more support tickets than usual, which got me thinking about an experience in my younger life. Back in the 90’s in South Korea, my buddies and I were in our early 20’s and it felt like we owned the world. We were full of energy and everything was fun. As Korea is a peninsula, the ocean was a big part of our lives. Every summer, we went to the beach together. There are many beaches as you can imagine, and they get pretty crowded during the summer.

Who wants to work or study during the hot summer days? Come on! Heading out for a day at the beach was a lot more fun.

It was one summer that we went to a nice beach (see picture). Some of us brought our girlfriends and some did not. On the way to the beach, one of my friends, Park, who was single and a decent looking young man, told us about his dream that he hoped would come true that summer. His idea was to rescue a girl from drowning and develop this coincidence into a romantic relationship. Yeah, right. The rest of us had trouble taking his dream seriously. Party’s on!

When we got to the beach, he was busy swimming right away. I suppose he should have been. His chances of being the first person to rescue a drowning woman were about as good as winning the lottery. Look at the picture. You get the idea.

We lost track of him for the most of the day and this is the story he later told us. He was chilling out in the water, on the lookout for damsels in distress. While he was dreaming about his coincidental rescue and romance, he heard a desperate woman’s voice just behind him.

“Help! I got a cramp in my leg.”

Instantly, he was in heart-pounding, breathtaking euphoria; thinking: “Wow, today is the day. Heck, yeah. I swam all day. God helps those who help themselves.”

So, off he goes. He turned himself toward the voice with his eyes strained, willing to risk anything to rescue that woman.

It immediately became apparent the girl was not quite his type at all. He muttered under his breath: “God is busy helping other people as usual”. He shouted loudly so she could hear him with no mistake.

“Sorry, I can’t swim very well!”

And he turned and began swimming back in the opposite direction.

He felt pretty bad after he got away from her; so, he looked back. Surprisingly, the lady had managed to swim to shore by herself. He had mixed emotions after swimming back to shore. I told him, “Don’t feel too bad. I think you helped her build up the mental strength and she found the inner strength to overcome the cramp.”

Clocking back to present, I’ve had quite a few support tickets over the past several days here at SoftLayer. It is not at all as bad as the girl’s situation but I’ve felt a little pressure since it isn’t normal and I’ve got other stuff to do.

Looking back on past experiences, I realize I can view the same event in two different ways, just like flipping a coin. It was a lot of pressure in the beginning to deal with the extra support issues; but, now I’ve learned so many things within such a short period of time. Not only have I learned more about our products, like CDNLayer, but I got a better idea of what customers want. So, drawing in tickets isn’t all bad; it strengthens me after all.

Hey, young single guys out there don’t just walk away from a girl in danger because she is not your type. I guess that’s my point, because I can tell you that my friend remains single to this day.

February 25, 2009

Greed is Good

I have always had a fascination with economics going back to my college days. Some of my classmates and I used to spend hours discussing economic theory and poking holes in our professors’ beliefs, particularly those who followed John Maynard Keynes (insert your own political commentary/sarcasm here). It was a fun time and formed the basis for many of my beliefs about how business and the economy should be run. I even passed some of that passion on to my daughter who has a degree in economics.

As a student of economics, I try to read articles from as many of great economists of the past and present as I can given the constraints of having to work, raise a family, etc. One of my favorites is Walter Williams, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia and frequent contributor to blogs and various network broadcasts. In one of his recent articles, he used the example of a supermarket and the miracle that 60,000 items can come together under one roof and operate smoothly without Congressional meddling (again, insert your own political commentary/sarcasm here). It got me to thinking about SoftLayer and what goes in to provisioning one server in our datacenter. Think about all the manufacturers building the component parts, assembling those parts and shipping those parts via a truck which has its own component parts, assembling etc. to be able to transport those servers. Add to that all the networking gear, software, bandwidth etc and I would be willing to bet that thousands, maybe even millions of inputs and people are required to bring one server up and keep it running in a datacenter. And the whole process runs relatively smoothly and efficiently from start to finish.

How does that happen? In his article, Williams quoted Adam Smith, the acknowledged father of modern economics who said:

"He (the businessman) generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. ... He intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain."…"He is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. ... By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." …"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

From my perspective what Smith is saying is that more often than not, by pursuing our own goals and being greedy, we end up creating more value to society than when we actually try to do something good. Those motivated by profit tend to produce more value than those in the non-profit world (i.e., academia and government). Before you attack me, with what parts of your own life are you most satisfied? As Williams asked at the end of his article, are you more satisfied with the profit-motivated Wal-Marts, ebays, and Amazons of the world or the non-profit motivated schools, postal service, social security or motor vehicle registration? Who would you rather have in charge of your datacenter, the government or SoftLayer?

While we may not say it out loud, we are all greedy. And contrary to what certain segments of today’s society will have you believe, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

February 23, 2009

Shouldn’t Service Industries Be About Service?

It’s a pretty fundamental idea that I am finding gets overlooked more and more these days. I recently ordered DirecTV for my home, and I haven’t had any real problems with it. After all, it’s just programming. It’s the same programming that we’ve had for years and take for granted all the time and just expect it to work, but thankfully it does work. If you have ever been a customer of the numerous companies that treat customers like cattle, then you may share my point of view and frustration in dealing with them.

I have spent hours on phone calls trying to sort out many different aspects of my services, but normally wind up being told that the issue is not part of my contract and that they cannot help me further. In most situations, I know that the person on the other end of the phone is simply doing their job. But, as a customer, any small effort and willingness to look at alternatives would go a long way towards eliminating a lot of the frustration. It is all too common that customer services reps work almost exclusively from a set of scripted answers as opposed to actually looking at the reason that one of their customers is calling in the first place. With the cynicism that gets built up, one begins to think if these companies care at all about their individual customers.

Ok, so enough for the doom-and-gloom about how many companies operate today and take advantage of these situations. It is time to stop focusing on the negative and start working positively on a sensible solution. One thing we can always control is our own actions, and I have vowed to never let a SoftLayer customer feel like we were unwilling to work with them in order to put their goals within reach. Think of the “golden rule” and make sure I am treating anyone I work with the same way that I wish companies I called would treat me.

It seems that in the global economy that we live and work in, you would expect many companies to strive for differentiation by not only providing a great product/service that people want, but also compliment their offerings by providing a high level of customer service that leaves the customer feeling fortunate to do business with them. If this were the case more often, contracts would not be necessary because the company would be able to count on its superior offerings and customers would not have any reason to leave based on the customer service.

In the vast world of IT and the seemingly limitless options our network infrastructure brings it can be nearly impossible to fit a standard model for everyone and their specific needs. Being flexible, understanding, and willing to work with our customers is what allows us to build better business relationships which promote more success for both our customers and us.

Simply put, the number one thing that any service industry business relies on most is its customers, and we must never forget that.

February 19, 2009

Virtualized Datacenters

It shouldn’t be any surprise to people who know SoftLayer that we follow the "Virtual Datacenter" discussions quite closely. In fact, it is awesome to see people discussing what sounds a lot like what SoftLayer already is.

The concept of Virtual Datacenter is that you have all the power of a datacenter at your command without having to worry about the details of actually running a datacenter. Chad Sakac from EMC wrote an excellent post in his personal blog about the transformation to a Virtual Datacenter.

One of the points Chad makes is the abstraction of the physical infrastructure. Quoting Chad:

"Every Layer of the physical infrastructure (CPU, Memory, Network, Storage) need to be transparent. Transparency means 'invisible'. This implies a lot, and implies that the glue in the middle, like a general purpose OS, needs to provide the "API models" for those hardware elements to be transparent. "

I latched on to this point because that is what we have been building at SoftLayer for the last few years. We realize that the abstraction of the physical infrastructure not only means that end-users don’t need to know how to manage the physical infrastructure, but that the abstraction can make more efficient use of resources (= money!).

Let’s talk about the advantages of virtualized infrastructure. Without virtualization, provisioning a web-facing server on the network would involve obtaining rack space, a server, licensing and loading an OS, finding a switch port, physically connecting a cable or three, setting up the switch port (I hope you know IOS), getting IP Addresses (hopefully you don’t have to go get more from ARIN), and adding a firewall and/or load balancer (more procurement, cabling, and configuration). Adding storage could be just as complex – also involving procurement, racking, cabling, and configuration. This doesn’t sound very efficient. In fact, it sounds a lot like creating a “circular device that is capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation whilst supporting a load”. It's been done before and I'll bet it’s been done better by people other than you.

Using virtualized infrastructure you should be able to perform the task with a few clicks of a mouse or a few API calls and have the functionality you need set up in a few minutes instead of days, weeks, or months. No worrying about procurement, physical constraints, or learning the specifics of network and storage devices from different vendors. All you should have to focus on is the running of your particular application. You shouldn’t have to worry about configuring servers, networking, and storage any more than you should have to worry about chillers, HVAC, generators, and UPS batteries.


February 13, 2009


Do you remember that song from Sesame Street? The lyrics were so catchy that very few people who grew up watching it have forgotten the song. You don’t even need to look up the lyrics, everyone knows them even if they’ve never watched the show.

1,2,3,4,5… 6,7,8,9,10… 11,12!

If you’re not aware, all UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems keep their time in a format known as “epoch time”. This is the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 00:00:00 GMT. Regardless of your timezone, your UNIX machine should show the same number of seconds as every other UNIX machine in the world. This clock is based off of GMT, and your local timezone settings simply interpret this epoch time based on your local timezone.

So what’s that have to do with the price of beans?

Well, today is an interesting day for the epoch timestamp. Friday, February 13 2009 at 23:31:30 GMT, the epoch timestamp will read 1234567890.

So how can you be sure that your UNIX (or windows machine) has accurate time? Well, if you have a SoftLayer server, you can simply point your ntp client to “”. This traffic then passes over the back-end private network, which has unlimited bandwidth, and you won’t consume your precious public-facing bandwidth to keep your server’s time accurate to within milliseconds. Just like every other NTP server on the internet, ours sync up constantly throughout the day with various atomic clocks around the world. You can’t get much more accurate than that, at least without having your own little chunk of the radioactive element cesium inside your computer. Incidentally, this is the same thing that makes your GPS system work. Hundreds of satellites overhead, which are basically nothing more than cesium clocks with transmitters that constantly broadcast the current time.

It’s just another one of those cool things that we do for our customers to help them get the most out of their server without having all the bare essentials stack up against their monthly bandwidth allocation.


February 11, 2009

Road Trip to Austin (or D.C.) Anyone?

Other than following our CFO around with the metaphorical shovel (just kidding, Mr. Jones, just kidding), some of you may wonder what your legal counsel does in her office all day. (Actually, I often wonder that myself). Well, here’s a little matter that has been sucking an inordinate amount of time out of my day – SoftLayer received a letter from a solicitor in England accusing us of defamation related to a consumer protection website hosted by one of our U.S. clients. Apparently, some posters were indicating something to the effect that a certain company in England was made up of a bunch of con artists, blah, blah, blah.

In the U.S., we as the host are not liable for defamatory postings by third parties pursuant to the Communications Decency Act (the CDA, if you will, since we know lawyers and techies love their acronyms). But in the U.K., they have their own laws and they have no CDA immunity law. There, it is claimed, service providers may be liable if they are provided with notice of the alleged defamatory statement and fail to take it down or remove it. Arrrgh, what to do? U.K. company wants to sue us, client does not want to take it down (understandably so), because it is not violating any U.S. laws or regulations or our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). “Free speech, free speech,” the client cries. What is SL going to do? Throw another Boston tea party. We are going to let the British company either sue us or not in England and then dare them to try and enforce a judgment here in the U.S. A nice attorney, Mr. Paul Levy, at Public Citizen Litigation Group ( has agreed to represent us here pro bono if that happens. Here’s his letter to the English solicitor on our behalf:

It turns out that the U.K. company’s strategy of trying to snag and sue us there has a name – “libel tourism.” This term refers to a plaintiff who “tours” or shops around for the most convenient forum to bring a libel or defamation claim. As you can see above, the U.K. is much more defamation friendly and free speech unfriendly than the U.S. So rather than bring an action in the U.S. where we and our client are located, let’s just sue in Britain.

To combat this unfairness New York State has passed a law called the “Libel Terrorism Protection Act” (not sure if the term “tourism” got lost in that bill somewhere, or if because it was based on an action brought by a Saudi businessman that it turned into “terrorism”). Basically this Act says that a foreign judgment related to defamation won’t be honored unless a New York court first determines that that country’s freedom of speech and press rights are at least as expansive as those allowed by the U.S. and NY state constitutions. Get it – New York would never allow a defamation action brought in the U.K. to be enforced. Victory for the service provider, victory for free speech and the American way of life!!!!

So why a road trip to Austin and/or D.C.? My students are so sharp today! Let’s get some state and national legislation that protects us from the harshness of other countries’ laws related to defamation which expose us to litigation or at least protects us from that proverbial rock and the hard place. Everyone asleep yet?

No. of times acronyms used: 19
No. of attorneys referenced: 3

February 4, 2009

Brought to You by the Number “6”

Most of us may not realize, but over a decade ago, the Postal Service determined they are unable to assign addresses for every home and business anymore. You may not have even noticed that they began revoking unique addresses for individual postal customers. They replaced your address with a shared address, one that changes periodically and limits your ability to interact with postal customers all over the world.

Today, unbeknownst to you, when you send a package to your favorite receiver, they no longer receive it at their unique delivery location. It is first sent to a location that is shared by them and dozens (even hundreds) of nearby businesses, where someone reads the recipient’s name and delivers the package to the right location. In fact, because of a similar process in your neighborhood, that shipper couldn’t send you a package until after you sent one to them first. Even though their package has your name on it, the postal service just throws it in the trash because it has no record of you ever sending them something first.

Ok, enough of the fuzzy convoluted metaphor… I’m not talking about the postal service, rather the Internet.

Today there is a high probability that when you request a website from your browser, you are actually sending a request to a shared IP on a server that hosts several websites. The server must then look to see which site your request was for, and behave accordingly. Likewise, on your end of the connection, you are probably using a Network Address Translation (NAT) gateway, which permits you to have multiple computers on your network which all share one IP address on the Internet. This gateway won’t let anyone contact you unless you’ve contacted them first. On top of that, your IP address probably changes every few hours or days, and this makes it difficult to contact your computer remotely, even if you’ve set everything up to accept certain types of unsolicited connections.

Today’s Internet as we know it, has 4,294,967,296 IP addresses. This is called IPv4. This is not enough to populate everyone’s PDA telephone, computers in the home and office, every website and every network device with a unique and unchanging permanent address. Imagine, if you will, that your mobile phone number changed every few hours, and you could not receive a call without making one first.

As early as 1993, the engineers who are responsible for all the “magic arrows” under the hood of the Internet began discussing and constructing a plan to save ourselves from running out of internet addresses. They wanted to get this in place, of course, before we started putting IPs on everything such as our televisions, DVRs, refrigerators, toasters, cars, phones, etc. As of January 21st, SoftLayer made an important announcement. We are now delivering our customers the result over more than a decade of engineering work. Welcome to the “New Internet”, IPv6.

Why is IPv6 so much better? At the risk of sounding like I’m making a gross overstatement, we will never have to worry about IP address space again. Recall I told you that the Internet as we know it today has “only” 4,294,967,296 unique addresses. IPv6 has 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 (2^128) unique addresses. If you want to sound smart and confuse your colleagues, you can tell them that there are more than 340 undecillion IP addresses in IPv6. That’s a just a tiny bit more than 4 billion.

It’s been said there are enough bits in IPv6 that we could assign a unique IP address to every atom covering the surface of the earth, and still have enough left over to address every surface atom of 100+ more earths.

The default IP allocation for IPv6 users is a “/64” subnet. There are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 IPs in a subnet this size. Yes, it’s a larger number… but it’s more complex than that. That number is equivalent to as many IPv4 networks as there are unique IPs in the IPv4 specification. That’s right. 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 / 4,294,967,296 = 4,294,967,296. Your default allocation is equivalent to 4 billion times the entire IP space of today’s IPv4 Internet.

Some readers may think, “That’s fine, but there have been IPv6 addresses in use for years, what makes SoftLayer’s offering so remarkable?” Well I’m glad you asked. Unlike traditional IPv6 allocations, which tunnel the IPv6 protocol over IPv4 to a location that can actually use IPv6, SoftLayer provides native IPv6 support to the Internet. There is no middle man. Your IPv6 traffic passes to the end user over the same superior network as any IPv4 packet in our datacenters.

Looks like a challenge to me. Who can be first to host 18 quintillion websites on their server?

February 2, 2009

It’s OK to Let Go

There are a lot of companies that think they couldn’t possibly outsource their hosting needs to a third party. They make all kinds of excuses about why their particular organization cannot possibly move the servers more than 6ft from the sysadmin’s desk. I wanted to attempt to catalog the reasons most companies have, and explain why they’re just plain wrong.

We need direct access to the servers.

Why? So you can power cycle them in case they’re completely frozen? So you can re-install an OS on your own terms? So you can walk over to the rack and log in using a mouse and keyboard plugged directly into the machine? We can do all those things for you. Our power strip control and IPMI reboot can restart a server even if it’s completely locked up. Our standard KVM over IP means you can always have direct mouse and keyboard access to your system, and our automatic operating system installs mean you can switch from Windows to Unix at 4am on Christmas Eve and have your server ready to go before breakfast.

We need to be there in case something breaks.

Our datacenter techs will be there, 24/7, in case anything goes wrong. It’s infeasible to hire someone to sit in a server room with only 15 servers in it waiting for an alarm to go off. With the money you’re spending on 24/7 technicians to sit and do nothing, you could have multiple dedicated racks at SoftLayer with an entire team of specialists on the edges of their seats, waiting for something to go wrong so they can spring into action. In addition to just the human resources cost, you also have the spare parts cost. We have entire spare servers that we can use in the event of a complete and catastrophic meltdown. Some companies would have a hard time finding an extra SCSI controller or IPMI card; I doubt many medium-sized companies have the resources to keep spare machines handy.

It’s too expensive to outsource.

If this were true, this entire industry wouldn’t exist. I know it seems that the purchase price for your server is less over the course of a few years, when compared to the monthly rent of a similar SoftLayer server, but you’re forgetting the incidental charges. The amount of money you’re putting into your small datacenter every day in terms of cooling, electricity, and bandwidth has to add up. The cost of upgrades, repairs, and outages sneak up on you also. You also need to remember that you’re paying for the real-estate that your servers are in. Some companies can fit upwards of 100 people in the space their servers are taking up. Figure out how much you pay per month per square foot of office space, I bet the results will shock you.

You also have to put into the equation the cost of the firewalls, back-end networking, hardware monitoring, intrusion detection hardware, network storage, and all the other great features that come standard on SoftLayer servers. Not to mention the possibility of utilizing our CDN service, Load Balancers, virtual servers, transcoding services, and many more services we offer here. If you attempt to build yourself a world-class data center for just your servers, your costs will be far higher than if you had just let the experts handle it from the start.

We like having all the control.

Everyone likes control, which is why you rarely have to open a ticket to have work done on a SoftLayer machine. Unless your request involves a human being physically opening the case, most of what you want to do can be done through the portal. You can reconfigure any of our services through the portal. You can purchase and allocate additional IP addresses, and you can even purchase entire servers and add them to existing load balancers or virtual dedicated racks without contacting anyone. The control is still in your hands, it just reaches across the country.

Our data is too sensitive to be in a shared location.

The SoftLayer private network is just that, private. Not private as in “members only” but private as in “you and only you.” When a SoftLayer customer VPNs to the private network, he or she is actually logging in to a private set of network routes dedicated to their account. Only servers on their account are accessible from their VPN entry point. Their servers, likewise, can only see the other servers on that same account. Your servers can never get to the servers on another account through the private network. The only access between servers on different accounts is through the public internet, which is true regardless of where the servers are.

We’re too large for outsourcing.

Our CEO, Lance, may answer this with a simple “oh yeah? Bring it!” However, a more verbose rebuttal is probably needed. We have the infrastructure to handle whatever you can throw at us. We handled streaming video of the presidential inauguration, and we have tens of thousands of servers in multiple data centers in multiple cities. If you need 500 servers spread across the United States, place your order on and they will be ready within 4 hours.

We’re comfortable with the way things are.

You may be comfortable now, but are you sure you have every disaster plan covered? Why not allow us to worry about the hardware, power, network, bandwidth, cooling, spare parts, floor space, expandability, and availability requirements, you focus just on keeping the software running and keeping your data safe. Once you have your servers comfortably in our state of the art datacenter, you can start thinking about global expansion. Why not put a web server in all 3 of our locations? You can use geographically-sensitive DNS or global load balancing to serve customers using the closest physical server, all while maintaining a virtual rack of servers across datacenters. All the benefits of keeping your racks in the next office can be yours, with the addition of all our services and geographic diversity.

Our system administrator won’t let us.

I’ve actually heard this more than once. System administrators don’t actually have mystical powers. They work for you, and they enjoy having enough money to pay their bills. They’ll survive the transition.

No matter what size your company is, we have the know-how and the equipment to give you the data center of your dreams. Your servers will be safe, secure, and isolated just like in a private data center, but you will have access to all our additional features as well as having our highly skilled team of round-the-clock technicians to assist you at any time, day or night. Plus, you will probably get more service for less money, and free up significant floorspace in your office. It’s a win-win scenario, and you should jump on it, especially in the current economy. Reducing your IT budget to a set monthly bill instead of a yearly or multi-yearly mega-account will make things easier to budget as well as justify. The outsourcing of IT these days is as common as the outsourcing of power or water a hundred years ago. IT has become a commodity, and all you have to do is call or go to our website and tell us how much of it you’d like.

January 31, 2009

IPV6 for Dummies (or Biz Dev Guys)

“Dummy” is definitely referring to any guy in the internet industry that has business in his/her title and also refers to other functional areas without core technology functions, like accounting (sorry Mike Jones!!). Softlayer has recently made a tremendous splash in the IPV6 world with our recent announcement to natively support IPV6 across all platforms within our environment. As a simple Biz Dev guy who usually gets introduced as the least technical in the room, here is my over-written, non-technical view of what the hype is all about.

What does IPV6 stand for?

Internet Protocol Version 6

So what the problem with IPv4?

As I see it there are about 4.5 billion IP addresses that can be utilized. In practice, after all of the wasted IP’s make their way through the world, there are more like 3,000,000,000 (that’s Billion) useful IP’s useable in version 4 (IPV4). Definitely seems like a lot, but it’s pretty well said throughout the internet that about 85% of these have been assigned and the unassigned are predicted to be at capacity in early 2011. Apparently this internet thing is not a fad and may be around for a bit longer. Assuming that the internet continues on its rapid growth pace, we are going to hit a wall.

How will IPV6 solve the problem and how robust is it?

So, obviously when there are limited amounts of available numbers, the logical step is to add numbers. Seems simple, but it’s a little more than just moving a decimal point. It’s a serious undertaking that has some major ramifications when talking about IP, including product and service delivery from the manufacturer to the service provider and everything in between. Due to the fact that I cannot figure out what this means “about 3.4×1038” I don’t know the exact numbers of IP addresses that Ipv6 will scale to, but I do know that it’s a lot more than Ipv4 (I did mention that this is IPV6 for dummies, didn’t I?). Basic gist is it’s a lot. Look for use cases across industry, but a leading driver has been the “on-demand” television industry, which indicates that over 500 channels of on-demand video is not that far off. Other indications can be seen here.

How long will this take and what does it affect?

In almost everything I have read it looks like a 3-7 year deployment timeframe to get Ipv6 implemented on a major scale. The deployment will effect almost everything internet, including bandwidth providers, manufacturers of network devices, software companies deploying in an IP environment, data center operators and everything in between. It will definitely be ‘of topic’ throughout the industry going forward.

So what does this mean to the common guy (aka Dummy) and the Technical guy?
In short, the non-technical guy will continue to surf and communicate uninterrupted as the change occurs. I look at the switch like my experience with local phone numbers. Growing up in a small town I used a seven digit system for local phone service (xxx-xxxx). The area code was for long distance only. Moving to Dallas, I realized the limitations of the seven digit phone number as the area code became part of the local dialing and we moved to a 10 digit system (xxx-xxx-xxxx). To me there was no real difference, but understanding the law of numbers, I got that the space was needed.

For the technical crowd the transition will start dictating decisions in their usage of IP based products, services, etc. Terms like “Dual-Stacked” and “IPv6 Compliant” will be often heard (or not) terms by the internet decision-makers in the future. The importance of a service provider that offers IPv6 throughout its network and has a fully functional dual stacked program in place will ensure a seamless transition throughout the IPv4 to IPv6 transition.

SoftLayer and IPv6

As mentioned and referenced in the recent press release SoftLayer is ahead of the curve on the IPv6 transition. Customers now have the ability to utilize the IPv6 format via our customer portal and API. We will continue to run Dual Stacked throughout the transition period and we will continue to work with all of our vendors on their transition into the IPv6 arena. We have committed to our customers that we will continue to be on the forefront of the IPv6 transition and we hope to answer the hard questions with a very simple “yes we do/can”.

January 29, 2009

The “Non-existent Unicorn” that was Softlayer

We all know that unicorns aren’t real; they are just the figment of someone’s imagination. Just like Michael Jordan’s basketball career started in his imagination, that’s how Softlayer started – in the imagination of ten guys. (I prefer hockey, but basketball fit this analogy better.)

It was weird watching when Softlayer first started up. It was just these ten guys working at Mr. Charnock ’s house. And then, slowly but surely, the company started growing. Once it started, it didn’t stop. In fact, it still hasn’t! (With the economy so bad that’s a miracle.)

Andrew was the first to join. Then came Jacob. The twelve guys moved in to an office space and bought the hardware to start selling servers. Even more people joined. Then Softlayer got its first customers and started to make money. All the hard work was starting to pay off. Now Softlayer’s office is huge. They have really cool data centers in Washington, D.C., Seattle and Dallas. (I’ve gotten to go inside the ones in Dallas and Seattle.)

Now Softlayer is one of the fastest growing web-hosting companies in the world, and like I said, it is still growing.

Now the “Unicorn” is Real.



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