IBM gave its cloud computing business a $1.2 billion boost Friday, outlining plans to build 15 new data centers across the globe as part of a major expansion of its SoftLayer cloud services into new markets around the world. The investment, IBM said, will allow channel partners and customers to deliver high-performance services globally across the SoftLayer network.
Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer for IBM, told CRN that the expansion allows IBM partners -- big and small -- to have a global reach. "IBM partners will be able to re-skin SoftLayer, re-sell it, and [it will] enable them to build applications from the ground up. Now, with a global footprint, it allows any customer to have a global reach with enterprise-class security and compliance with countries around the world."
Large IBM partners with existing SoftLayer business see Big Blue's global expansion of its cloud footprint as a huge win, allowing them to push SaaS and PaaS solutions into territories that had been previously hard to crack because of technical and regulatory red tape.
"For our traditional IBM business data centers in South America and Australia, [it doesn't] mean anything. But for a growing number of our SoftLayer customers that want to move into different global geographic markets, this swings the doors wide open for us to grow that business," said Ernie Yenke, president of Lighthouse Computer Services, a Lincoln, R.I.–based solution provider with a growing SoftLayer customer base.
"We will be able to sell our cloud solution in countries where we wouldn't have been able to before," Yenke said. Data retention laws that dictate how and where a company's data resides have kept business stateside, Yenke said. "If we can take a SoftLayer customer and help them build cloud-based solutions overseas, then that's new business for us," he said.
Central to IBM's global cloud expansion is its recent acquisition of infrastructure-as-a-service firm SoftLayer. Acquired last year for $2 billion, SoftLayer earned $500 million in revenue in 2013 with 30 percent of sales driven through the channel, according to Crosby.
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