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.
IBM Ends 2014 With a Cloud Bang
Moreover, IBM announced key cloud investments throughout 2014. In addition to expanding its global cloud footprint and the establishment of the Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) to bring enterprise developers into the hybrid cloud era, IBM also launched a new cloud marketplace that brings together IBM’s portfolio of cloud capabilities and new third-party services for the enterprise. The IBM Cloud marketplace is an online destination that serves as a digital front door to cloud innovation for enterprises.
“IBM Cloud’s focus on the needs of enterprise clients has been set in stone pretty much from day one since the July 2013 acquisition of Softlayer,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, in a post on IBM’s new cloud centers.
“IBM’s latest cloud computing centers, partnerships and customer wins certainly provide a happy ending to 2014, but we also expect they offer a taste of where the company will go in the year to come,” King added. “In all likelihood, IBM will spend 2015 showing customers, partners and competitors what enterprise-class cloud and synergy are all about.”
IBM’s announcement with Equinix further extends the reach Big Blue has achieved through its own cloud portfolio.
“Equinix Cloud Exchange continues to build momentum with secure, low-latency connections to multiple cloud providers, and adding IBM Softlayer to our growing portfolio will continue to help our enterprise customer realize the benefits of the cloud,” Ihab Tarazi, CTO of Equinix, said in a statement. “Softlayer, with its broad reach into the enterprise market and proven success in networking will be a great asset to Cloud Exchange, enabling customers to seamlessly replicate data between markets. Our direct access capabilities to cloud services such as Softlayer provide enterprise customers with a choice of multiple clouds to better enable their hybrid cloud strategies.”
“Softlayer has maintained a longstanding commitment to providing advanced network capabilities to the enterprise as part of our core service offerings,” Sonny Fulkerson, CIO of Softlayer, said in a statement. “By extending our Direct Link offerings to now include access via the Equinix Cloud Exchange capabilities, we further our goal to improve the flexibility, performance, security and reliability of enterprise connections to Softlayer.”
These new cloud moves add on to a string of recent cloud partnerships IBM entered into with other notable companies. SAP selected IBM as a premier strategic provider of cloud infrastructure services for its business-critical applications. SAP applications are now available through IBM’s cloud and enable SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud to major markets with the addition of the IBM cloud data centers.
Also, IBM and Microsoft are working together to provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. This relationship will give clients, partners and developers more choice in the cloud, helping them drive new business opportunities, spur innovation and reduce costs.
In addition to these partnerships, IBM is also contributing private computing services from IBM Cloud OpenStack Services platform to the OpenStack and Cloud Foundry Foundations. The initial use of these services will offer expanded capabilities to enable automated integration, reduced cycle time and increased quality for software distribution. This will accelerate time to market for all uses of OpenStack-based infrastructure, IBM said.
Overall, IBM is continuing to make its way in the cloud space and is expanding its reach by better enabling the open community, partnering with key companies, and making strategic financial and technological investments. And it appears to be paying off. IBM reported cloud revenue of $4.4 billion for 2013, up 69 percent year-to-year. Moreover, IBM cloud revenue increased 50 percent through the third quarter of 2014, with a $3.1 billion run rate in “as-a-service” revenue, the company said.