IBM Expands Overseas Cloud Computing Centers

IBM is expanding its plans for creating new types of cloud computing infrastructures and data centers by opening four new facilities in Brazil, South Korea, India and Vietnam. The move combines IBM's drive to create a worldwide cloud computing infrastructure with its need to create more business in emerging market economies.

IBM is preparing to open four new cloud computing centers in India, Brazil, South Korea and Vietnam, which will give the IT giant a significant and fresh opportunity to sell its products and services in emerging-market countries.

The four new cloud computing centers are in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bangalore, India; Seoul, South Korea; and Hanoi, Vietnam. With the addition of these four, which IBM announced Sept. 24, IBM now has a total of 13 different cloud facilities around the globe, including data centers in Ireland, South Africa, China and Japan.

The four new cloud computing centers represent more than IBM's wish to be on the forefront of this new type of computing model. The move marries IBM's cloud computing initiative with its desire to expand its ability to sell hardware, software and services into the emerging markets, especially as the U.S. economy continues its uncertain course.

When IBM announced its latest quarterly results in July, the company reported $15.1 billion in revenues from outside the United States. IT companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard have been boosting their bottom lines by turning more and more of their focus on the overseas market, especially emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil.

That is not to say that IBM is turning away from the U.S. market. In August, IBM announced that it will invest $360 million to build a cloud computing facility in North Carolina. IBM also has an agreement with Google to help develop new ways of delivering cloud computing services.

The whole notion of a cloud, or utility computing services, has been in the news lately from a software and virtualization standpoint. At its VMworld conference earlier in September, VMware announced a new type of operating system called Virtual Datacenter OS or VDC-OS. While VMware did not say VDC-OS is exclusively for creating a cloud, it does seem a way to better integrate virtualization with the data center and allow for better allocation of computing resources and the management of all the hardware, storage and networking in a cloud environment.

At the same time, Citrix Systems is partnering with 3Tera and Intel with Oracle to help enhance the way cloud infrastructures are built and used by their enterprise customers.

What IBM has done is put considerable financial muscle and resources into building out its own cloud computing facilities. To date, IBM has invested $100 million in its cloud research and has dedicated 200 workers to developing new ways to think and create cloud infrastructures.

IBM has also developed a package of services, software and hardware for building these cloud facilities called Blue Cloud. With the Blue Cloud suite, IBM offers a combination of x86-based hardware, Xen-based virtualization and its own Tivoli management software. In April, IBM added its iDataPlex server array, which can be used for cloud facilities or high-performance computing or can be placed into a mobile container.