The majority of the top ten customers [I assume by revenue] Softlayer has today are running large-scale clusters of Hadoop, with 40 Hadoop clusters being commonplace. Lance Crosby mentioned these customers are very sophisticated in their use of Hadoop and many of them are in consumer products companies, looking to gain greater insights into customer behavior.
Bare metal servers running Hadoop are one of the fastest growing areas of the Softlayer business right now. Simon West made an excellent point that running Hadoop on bare metal servers instead of through virtualized environment leads to a higher level of throughput, given Softlayer’s internal testing results. Bare metal servers continue to accelerate in the industry and Softlayer’s executives confirmed they are seeing an acceleration of demand in this area.
All that big data takes a lot of compute, esp. as you want to speed it up more. The other thing to point out here is the re-rise of “B2C,” that is, businesses using IT more and more to interact with and get money from consumers, vs. other businesses.