IBM Ends 2014 With a Cloud Bang

IBM announced a bunch of new cloud computing centers as well as new customers and partnerships to round out the year.

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IBM announced it is closing out the year with a broad expansion of its global cloud computing network to 40 cloud centers with 12 new locations serving a growing roster of enterprise customers looking to move to hybrid cloud computing.

Big Blue said it will reach customers in these 12 new locations, including IBM Cloud centers in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo, and nine more centers through a strategic partnership with Equinix in Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, The Netherlands and the United States.

IBM's agreement with Equinix provides access to the full portfolio of Softlayer cloud services via the Equinix Cloud Exchange in the nine markets spanning the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions including Amsterdam, Dallas, Chicago, Paris, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Sydney and Washington, D.C. Through this partnership, Softlayer provides customers with the ability to easily move production workloads in and out of the cloud.

"IBM recognizes that businesses and governments need the cloud to help them innovate, grow and operate more efficiently in concert with their existing IT investments," Jim Comfort, general manager of IBM Cloud Services, said in a statement. "Everything IBM does is designed to help companies transition to the cloud in a responsible way at a pace that best fits their business model and industry. Just as we helped major organizations transform in each preceding era of IT, IBM now serves as the cloud platform for the enterprise."

Enterprise cloud deployments, specifically hybrid cloud, are growing at a significant rate. According to a Gartner study, nearly half of all enterprises will have a hybrid cloud deployed by 2017. Chief among the driving forces behind the worldwide adoption of cloud computing, including hybrid cloud, are requirements for businesses and governments to store certain data locally to comply with data residency regulations, as well as a growing desire for startups to expand their businesses globally. IBM estimates about 100 nations and territories have adopted laws that dictate how governments and private enterprises handle personal data.

The new IBM Cloud centers in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo are part of the company's $1.2 billion commitment to grow its cloud presence around the world to meet these local mandates with performance, security and data controls built in. These centers, which further expand IBM's global cloud footprint include facilities in Mumbai, London, Amsterdam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne, Toronto, Dallas and Raleigh, N.C., that opened this year. This effort includes IBM's business consulting division, which features thousands of cloud experts located around the globe to help clients to move to cloud.

The new facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they guarantee customers uptimes of 99.99 percent across any IT environment, including traditional IT and public, private or hybrid cloud deployments. In the event of an outage, the centers' support team can recover data in minutes to ensure that it has little-to-no impact on business operations while going virtually unseen by customers.

IBM announced that global transport operator National Express Group PLC is delivering a data-driven railway to improve both operational performance and customer experience on the IBM Cloud to provide up-to-the-minute train information and allow postcode-to-postcode journey planning.

Customers around the world are using IBM cloud centers to help them adopt cloud for growth and innovation. Since the start of November, IBM has announced more than $4 billion worth of cloud agreements with major enterprises around the world, including Lufthansa in Germany, ABN AMRO in the Netherlands, WPP in the United Kingdom, Woox Innovations in Hong Kong, Dow Water and Thomson Reuters.

In addition, born-on-the-Web innovators are increasingly choosing to build their business on the IBM Cloud. In just the last month, IBM has announced wins with Diabetizer and Preveniomed in Germany, Hancom in South Korea, Musimundo in Argentina and Nubity in Mexico.