IBM has announced that it will invest $1.2bn in its cloud systems in the coming years with a major expansion of its data centre footprint around the world.
IBM said that having incorporated the tech it gained from its acquisition of SoftLayer last year for $2bn, it is now ready to push on with its cloud strategy. This will include the opening of 15 new data centres in locations including Hong Kong, London, Toronto, India, China and Mexico.
These data centres will be home to the SoftLayer cloud platform in order to allow firms in numerous markets – from gaming to financial institutions – to host their tools, data and services in the cloud and to experience the benefits this offers.
Dennis Quan, vice president of cloud services at IBM, told V3 that the financial backing for its cloud plans underlined the importance for Big Blue of carving out a strong space in this market.
“This investment is about increasing our investment in cloud in response to demands from customers. By expanding our global cloud footprint we can do what it takes to provide enterprise-class cloud,” he said.
Quan said the focus on expanding data centre sites would also help meet other legal and regulatory concerns that firms have.
“It’s critical for enterprises that they can meet the different laws and policies around the world with regards consumer data and personal information,” he said.
“So by expanding our cloud footprint to an increasing number of countries we are making it easier and safer for companies to comply with government regulations.”
Finally, the opening of new data centres would also help boost the capacity and resilience of IBM's cloud offerings, Quan said.
“Providing good service-level agreements (SLAs) for applications requires reducing latency and improving performance and that depends on having redundancy in your environment,” he explained.
“So by increasing the large number of data centre locations customers can run workloads and services from, it makes it possible for global enterprises to run in the cloud, and understand any impacts to their environments that may occur.”
Quan said the combination of these benefits would help IBM differentiate itself from its rivals in the cloud space, such as HP and Microsoft, and ensure it can meet the needs of the ever-growing number of businesses embracing the cloud.
To this end, IBM noted some markets where its cloud platform with SoftLayer is already having an impact, such as gaming and the sports market, as the CEO of the SoftLayer division Lance Crosby explained to V3 in a separate interview.
“We're all about performance. We're always the provider with the latest and greatest hardware, and we're also hyper focused on network performance and latency. We like to say that if you can make this [gaming] crowd happy, you can make anybody happy," he said.
IBM's move is timely, as cloud computing looks set to remain one of the key issues for IT staff around the world, as it was in 2013. Gartner recently cited cloud as one of the best ways for companies to deliver efficiencies and maximise their budgets.
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