IBM pours $1.2 billion in to the cloud

Following huge investments in SoftLayer, IBM is ramping up cloud efforts by creating up to 15 new cloud-based data centers worldwide.

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IBM says it is investing over $1.2 billion in the expansion of data centers and its cloud storage business in order to reach new customers and markets.

The global computing giant said it will build 15 new centers across the U.S., China, Hong Kong, India, Canada and the U.K., as well as the Middle East and Africa next year. IBM said this will bring the firm's total data center count up to 40 in 2014.

Last year, IBM purchased cloud services firm SoftLayer for $2 billion. Big Blue said at the time the acquisition would improve systems to integrate public and private clouds for clients, as well as boost SMB security and overall computing performance. The firm says that since the deal passed, another 2,400 clients have been added to the books.

IBM believes that the cloud services market could be worth $200 billion by 2020. The firm said in a statement:

"This global expansion is aimed at accelerating into new markets based on growing client demand for high-value cloud."

Businesses are increasing using cloud and data storage services offered by third parties including IBM. Cloud computing is a popular choice due to often lower operating costs and increased flexibility in comparison to purchasing and maintaining servers.

In a related announcement last week , IBM outlined plans to spend $1 billion in the creation of the Watson Business Group. The division will target businesses and consumers with the supercomputer's capabilities, and will also fund developers who create cognitive computing applications. Watson, a computer that beat human contestants on the quiz show Jeopardy, will be farmed out via SoftLayer's technology.

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