Softlayer - Well-Connected Data Centre Hubs Help Softlayer Expand Across Europe

Case study

SoftLayer likes to be responsive to its customers. So when it came to planning expansion across Europe it wanted to be able to scale with ease, reliably and rapidly, using stepping-stones that were already well established in the region. Creating its own Points of Presence (PoPs) would only delay time to market and the company wanted to accommodate new business as soon as it presented itself. So instead, SoftLayer chose Interxion as its ready-made cloud hubs for business growth.


The Challenge

Founded in 2005, SoftLayer has become the largest privately owned hosting company in the world. It’s a dynamic, fast-moving company focussed on a business model that is all about delivering robust network solutions to resellers and integrators, many offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

SoftLayer’s customers gain agility through the SoftLayer service, responding to the connectivity needs of their own customers, for whom web hosting is mission critical. SoftLayer’s business success has earned it a well-consolidated reputation in the US. As it expands into Europe, this reputation is a valuable differentiator. The quality of the services SoftLayer offers in Europe needs to be high, based on access to a reliable network infrastructure and offering proximity to major commercial centres. Its strategy is to use existing hubs, thereby avoiding any significant capital expenditure. But it looks for more than technical performance from the data centre operators it chooses to work with. SoftLayer seeks out effective partnerships – building relationships with organisations, like Interxion, whose reputation matches its own, and whose services offer a proven launch-pad for delivering the internet hosting solutions that SoftLayer’s customers demand. Above everything else, it looks for trust.

When the decision was taken to move into Europe, SoftLayer’s customer base was broadly served by existing relationships between SoftLayer and data centre providers in London and Amsterdam. In terms of expansion into Eastern Europe, however, SoftLayer perceived a latency ‘void’ and needed to find a data centre operator offering proximity, connectivity and low-latency, as well as the reassurance that SoftLayer’s business would be in safe hands. “We needed a data centre that had both the capacity and the capabilities to underpin the business model we present to our clients,” points out Sean Charnock, SVP Business Development and Alliances, and Co-Founder at SoftLayer. “We wanted someone who would enable us to just switch on and be in operation from day one; someone who could move just as fast as we do.

Interxion fits that bill: connectivity, service and modular capacity so we can scale rapidly.” Technical delays or protracted set-up times could have hampered the sales effort. Instead, everything has gone smoothly and Interxion’s support means SoftLayer can focus on sales, closing more business and billing ahead of target. Charnock goes on to say that SoftLayer’s reseller and integration customers are all internet driven: “Connectivity is critical for our customers, together with that paramount element that guarantees quality of service and gives them the peace of mind to sell confidently to their customers—low latency.”

The experience with Interxion, from sales to provisioning to deployment, has been above expectations and really lets us focus on our customers.


SoftLayer chose Interxion’s data centre in Frankfurt not only because it met capacity requirements but also because of the vibrant community that operates from the centre. Interxion Frankfurt is Europe’s busiest data centre hub and acts as a meeting point for over 190 carriers. This makes it carrier-neutral, offering customers ultimate control, choice and failsafe solutions for business continuity. SoftLayer can deliver the connectivity they need in just the way they want to deliver it. Interxion Frankfurt also houses DE-CIX (Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange), one of the largest Internet exchange points in the world. When this is combined with the fact that it is a key financial hub, as well as a content and cloud hub, Frankfurt offers trading opportunities with many complementary companies with potentially mutual business interests. “Interxion’s Frankfurt operation is now a core backbone feature for us,” Charnock explains. “It has a great mesh of IP carriers that offers network capacity we can rely on to service the needs of our customers. Perhaps most importantly, there’s great peace of mind, knowing that all that’s taken care. We can focus on building business and developing relationships, without getting caught up in the technical side of things.” In the first three months of working with Interxion, SoftLayer exceeded target, closing more new business for hosting services than anticipated. Interxion responded flawlessly. “The experience with Interxion, from sales to provisioning to deployment, has been above expectations and really lets us focus on our customers. They provided quick information, easy contracts and, of course, lots of space. They’ll have opportunities to develop business with us in the future,” says Charnock. SoftLayer believes in mutuality with its partners; long-term relationships that benefit both parties. As it now looks to the possibility of creating Points of Presence in Stockholm, Paris and perhaps Moscow, the company will be talking to Interxion - to assist in the next stage of its expansion.

About Softlayer

Founded in 2005, SoftLayer is the largest privately owned hosting company in the world. The company provides global, on demand, data centre and hosting services from world-class data centres in Amsterdam, Dallas, Houston, San Jose, Seattle, Singapore, and Washington D.C. It offers enterprises access, control, security, and scalability. SoftLayer is headquartered in Dallas, Texas