ARMONK, N.Y., Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced plans to commit over $1.2 billion to significantly expand its global cloud footprint. This investment includes a network of data centers designed to bring clients greater flexibility, transparency and control over how they manage their data, run their businesses and deploy their IT operations in the cloud.
This year IBM plans to deliver cloud services from 40 data centers worldwide in 15 countries and five continents globally, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. IBM will open 15 new centers worldwide adding to the existing global footprint of 13 global data centers from SoftLayer and 12 from IBM. Among the newest data centers to launch are China, Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, London, Japan, India, Canada, Mexico City and Dallas. With this announcement, IBM plans to have data centers in all major geographies and financial centers with plans to expand in the Middle East and Africa in 2015.
By some estimates, the global cloud market is set to grow to $200 billion by 2020; driven largely by businesses and government agencies deploying cloud services to market, sell, develop products, manage their supply chain and transform their business practices.
"IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services. "Last year, IBM made a big investment adding the $2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer to its existing high value cloud portfolio. Today's announcement is another major step in driving a global expansion of IBM's cloud footprint and helping clients drive transformation."
The new cloud investments IBM is making will provide business clients the ability to place and control their data globally. IBM SoftLayer gives clients the ability to choose a cloud environment and location that best suits their business needs and provides visibility and transparency to where data reside, control of data security and placement.
IBM SoftLayer is able to deliver high performance services globally across the SoftLayer network. The combination of distributed local data centers and a global network allows clients to place data where it is required, when it is required as well as the ability to consolidate or aggregate data as needed. This provides optimized application performance and responsiveness. SoftLayer's unique network architecture allows clients to optimize global performance using a private network and not be subject to the uncontrolled nature of the public networks and the internet.
"Cloudant's global expansion rate is fueled by the always-on commitment we make to our customers," said Cloudant CEO Derek Schoettle. "Our mission is to be the standard data layer for Web and mobile applications. That mission requires us to push application data to the network edge, in as many locations as possible. Expanding beyond IBM SoftLayer's current footprint presents significant value to our business. The investment IBM is making to expand their global footprint will not only help fuel our growth, but the growth of thousands of Cloudant users worldwide as well."
In today's world of rapid response with mobile and social data proliferation, this type of automation and speed of access to data with high availability and control makes IBM SoftLayer cloud infrastructure an ideal capability for business clients worldwide.
"Cloud represents a growing area for venture capitalist investment," said Ann Winblad, co-founder and Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. "By investing in the cloud ecosystem, IBM not only makes it easier for enterprises to adopt cloud and drive innovation, but also helps new companies of all sizes get off the ground more quickly."
IBM SoftLayer Underpins IBM's Growing Cloud Portfolio
The acquisition of SoftLayer represents another major investment for IBM clients. Since its acquisition in 2013, IBM SoftLayer has served nearly 2,400 new cloud clients.
In fact, IBM plans to establish SoftLayer as the foundation of its wide ranging cloud portfolio. The SoftLayer infrastructure will provide a scalable, secure base for the global delivery of cloud services spanning IBM's extensive middleware and SaaS solutions. SoftLayer's flexibility and global network will also facilitate faster development, deployment and delivery of mobile, analytic, social solutions as clients adopt cloud as a delivery platform for IT operations and manage their business.
Last week IBM made a significant investment and established the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit dedicated to the development and commercialization of cloud-delivered cognitive and Big Data innovations. As part of this initiative IBM will also deploy Watson on SoftLayer.
About IBM Cloud Computing
IBM is the global leader in cloud with an unmatched portfolio of open cloud solutions that help clients to think, build or tap into it. No other company has the ability to bring together unique industry knowledge and unmatched cloud capabilities, that have already helped more than 30,000 clients around the world. Today, IBM has more than 100 cloud SaaS solutions, thousands of experts with deep industry knowledge helping clients transform and a network of 40 data centers worldwide.
Since 2007, IBM has invested more than $7 billion in 15 acquisitions to accelerate its cloud initiatives and build a high value cloud portfolio. IBM holds 1,560 cloud patents focused on driving innovation. In fact, IBM for the 21st consecutive year topped the annual list of US patent leaders. IBM processes more the 5.5M client transactions daily through IBM's public cloud. IBM expects to achieve $7 billion in annual cloud revenue by 2015 For more information about cloud offerings from IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com/cloud. Follow us on Twitter at @IBMcloud and on our blog at http://www.thoughtsoncloud.com. Join the conversation #ibmcloud.
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 IBM Market Intelligence