The Planet and SoftLayer, both giants in the world of dedicated server and Web hosting services, have merged. The news of the merger, which has been subject of rumors and speculation for months now, was confirmed in a (confidential) email that was sent out by The Planet earlier this morning. In the email, the company says that the news will be made public "soon". But why wait for them, right? The Planet Is Now Softlayer Hello, It’s my pleasure to inform you that the merger of The Planet® and SoftLayer® is complete! There will soon be public announcements about the merger, but I’d like to talk with you firsthand about the new opportunities and capabilities that it brings. I’ll call you in the next few days to answer any questions you might have—there’s been plenty of speculation and I want you to hear about the exciting road ahead directly from me. We highly value your business and trust, and have worked hard to create a seamless transition. Your The Planet accounts and services remain unchanged. Rest assured, the new SoftLayer is committed to the same world-class support and personal service you received as a customer of The Planet. SoftLayer is already recognized for its automation and commitment to innovative product development. But now, you’ll receive new capabilities with increased value. You’ll have direct access and control of your solutions through our industry-leading Customer Portal and open API. This will allow you to order, deploy and manage your entire environment on-demand, without the need for human interaction. Our goal is to provide the best hosting experience in the business and we want you to see it firsthand. The new SoftLayer provides: - An expanded product line, with new products and services not available to you before. - Industry-leading automation, Customer Portal, and Open API, for direct access to more than 150 backend systems and activities. - Increased geographic diversity and the ability to choose where your servers reside. - High-speed network and multiple PoPs, providing more than 1,500G of connectivity and direct connections for lower latency. - Exclusive network architecture that weaves together distinct Public, Private and Data Center-to-Data Center networks. - Improved Service Level Agreement with 100% uptime and 2-hour or less hardware replacement (failure or upgrade) guaranteed. - Greater value for your business, including more performance per dollar, a larger international presence and expanded partnerships with industry leaders. Your existing The Planet services and account are managed and accessed as they were before through Orbit and the Managed Hosting Portal. But beginning next week, you can also access the SoftLayer Customer Portal with your The Planet username and password. Until this information is made public, please consider it confidential. I’ll send you a note this week to schedule some time for a discussion that’s convenient for you. SoftLayer's management team and investment firm GI Partners had acquired all of the equity in SoftLayer last August. GI Partners also happens to own a large stake in The Planet, hence the rumors about the companies merging that have been swirling ever since. The Planet claims it is currently the largest privately–owned dedicated hosting provider with more than 20,000 customers around the globe, more than 48,000 servers and 15.7 million websites under management. The company employs more than 500 people. In fact, four out of five managers profiled on SoftLayer's leadership team page were previously employed by The Planet, including CEO Lance Crosby. Most likely, Crosby will become CEO of the combined company. Jointly, The Planet and SoftLayer will have roughly 80,000 dedicated servers under management, which means it would likely come out bigger than rivals Rackspace and 1&1. This is one company that I foresee taking the IPO route some time next year. We're digging for more information, particularly about the financial side of the merger agreement - stay tuned.