IBM to invest $1.2bn in 15 data centres to expand push into cloud

By Peter Gothard
17 Jan 2014 View Comments
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IBM has announced that it will invest over $1.2bn in 15 new international data centres as it attempts to catch up with rivals in the cloud space.

Opening the centres in North America (including locations in the US, Mexico and Canada), China, Japan, India and the UK, IBM also plans to push into the Middle East and Africa by 2015.

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The company's aim is to double cloud capacity for its dedicated server and managed hosting firm SoftLayer - for which IBM paid $2bn in 2013, and which has already gained it 2,400 cloud customers - bringing its total data centre count up to 40.

In a statement, IBM said this "global expansion" is "aimed at accelerating into new markets based on growing client demand for high-value cloud", the global value of which the company believes will have risen to $200bn by 2020.

Last week, IBM also announced that it had put $1bn aside in expanding the division responsible for its Watson supercomputer. The experimental intelligence system, which is built to emulate the way a human mind thinks, has developed in recent years from a "gimmicky" winner of television quiz Jeopardy to a trusted assistant in surgical procedures, able to regurgitate reams of medical textbooks as well as being capable of a high degree of considered decision-making with the information at hand.

IBM has also talked of producing cloud-based versions of Watson, which could begin appearing as "assistants" in hardware devices, not to mention helping to run enterprise networks by streaming appropriate portions of Waton's intelligence from remote servers.

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