Softlayer/IBM Cloud Storage Service Review

Softlayer, or IBM Cloud Storage, how it’s now called, is a hybrid cloud storage solution provided by the company Softlayer, which was bought up by IBM a few years back. They offer enterprise cloud solutions with the top-notch performance which can be finely customized to your individual needs, a feature you won’t find in many other places. In this IBM cloud review, we look at the plans and pricing they offer, the features you should expect, and the pros and cons.

IBM Cloud Storage – General Info

Let’s be clear right off the bat. The IBM cloud storage service is a solution for enterprises, and not for individuals. If you’re looking for something to image your home PC or backup files for easy access later, you’ll need to look elsewhere, unless you have a lot of tech know-how and thousands of dollars a year to blow. But if you’ve got a bunch of content to deliver to clients or you need multiple servers making up your own private cloud, then this solution is right for you.

The services they provide include a content delivery network, cloud backup, block storage, object storage, and mass storage servers. They allow you to rent your own private servers from IBM as well, which enables you to form your own private cloud for your business. You can also opt to use the public cloud, which is cheaper but slower and potentially less secure.

IBM Cloud Storage Plans & Pricing

Pricing is not so simple with IBM cloud storage, and that’s perhaps one of its biggest faults. Price is based on the type of service offered, usually per GB, as well as the amount of bandwidth used. Here are some of the price options available:

PlanPriceStorage AllotmentFeatures
Object StorageStarts at $0.002 per GB/month storage, $0.09/GB bandwidth, $0.006 per 1000 put, copy, post, list requestsAs much as you’re willing to pay forFree deletion and retrieval. Free 1 year free-tier trial. Many data centers.
Block Storage / File StorageStarts at $0.10/GB and includes 0.25 IOPS/GBUp to 12 TBCustomizable IOPS, snapshots, replication, endurance and performance tier options
Mass Storage ServersStarts at $156/monthAs much as you’re willing to pay forBare metal server and QuantaStor options with up to 36 hard drives. SATA drives or SSD options

IBM Cloud Storage In-depth Review

Now, we’ll go in-depth with this service so that you can make an informed decision about what package is right for you and your business.

File Backup

IBM cloud has a wealth of options available depending on your needs and the needs of your business. The servers use IBM’s Infrastructure Management System (IMS) to control the servers. This includes everything you could possibly need, like provisioning, logging, billing, and alerts. Everything is centralized in this software.

The application is a bit tough to set up. You’ll probably need to use IBM’s proprietary Cloud Marketplace to install applications, and you may even need to use SSH to set up some types of software. This can be cumbersome unless you have someone highly experienced in this sort of thing on staff. It’s pretty hands on. Luckily, once it’s set up, automatic backups can take care of everything.

Data can be stored in the public cloud, standard private, or in a vault for files that aren’t accessed often.

File Restoration

File restoration is performed through the same software as the backups. Restorations are provided free of charge on many of the plans and do not count against your bandwidth allotment for the month.


In their cloud service, IBM offers combined erasure coding with encryption and decryption. Data is encrypted and decrypted by a service called SecureSlice. SecureSlice decodes data across multiple data centers, which are not the center of origin. This way, no data center has access to all of your unencrypted data.

IBM employees regularly undergo privacy certification and are required to be strictly compliant with company regulations which ensure they can’t get into your data. As for the servers themselves, they are kept in well-guarded data centers around the world with limited access points.

Other Features

IBM cloud solutions are all massively customizable. Some types of customization, such as choosing the type of drive, the exact size, the allotted IOPS, and more are just unthinkable on other platforms. Now, of course, this adds layers of complexity to the setup and billing process. So there are pros and cons.

Based on your needs, you can create private clouds or use the public cloud. You can also choose hybrid options. Perhaps the best “feature”, if we can call it that, is the performance. IBM’s cloud is blazing fast, and those who need fast access to their data will appreciate it.

IBM Cloud Storage Pros & Cons


  • Cost is lower than some competitors
  • Highly customizable
  • Performance is amazing
  • Customer service is fast and high-quality
  • The product supports many languages


  • Extremely complicated pricing model and setup
  • Sometimes, it can be slow
  • Some customers have noted delays of synchronization
  • Many features make it difficult for beginners to understand

IBM Cloud Alternative Options

1. Amazon Web Services

Amazon is one of the premier choices in enterprise cloud storage, and the price tag sure reflects it. If you have the money to spare, though, Amazon places a very personal emphasis on security, so you can be sure your data is as safe as possible. Also, you have the option to select between Windows or Linux servers.

2. Google Cloud

Google is continually working to improve its cloud offerings, and now they’ve become a real contender in the field. High points are top-level Google infrastructure and performance, along with super easy-to-use software that’s perfect even for those just getting their feet wet in the world of the cloud. The only downside here is that Google only has 3 data centers allocated for this service, so you could face some access time delays and speed issues if accessing from an area too far from one of those centers. You can read more about Google Cloud in our review.

3. Microsoft Azure

With the Microsoft Azure cloud offering, you might think you can only use Windows servers, but you’d actually be wrong! Azure offers both Linux and Windows servers to choose from. Their software is user-friendly as well. The performance, however, falls a little shy of other offerings.

Our Verdict

Overall, IBM cloud is a fine option for those who need an enterprise-level solution, but it certainly isn’t the best. While pricing and setup can be extremely cumbersome and with rather simplistic software, the performance of the service helps to make up for it. If you’re not entrenched in IBM though, it may be best to look at other offerings as well and compare. Check the previous section for some recommendations. Have you ever tested the IBM cloud storage solution? Let us know what you think of it in the comments section below.

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