Datacenter Trends

Demands of IoT, Quantum and Cognitive Workloads Drive IBM's Cloud Datacenter Expansion

The company is not only expanding its datacenters to meet growing individual demand, but to meet the computing burden of new and emerging technologies.

IBM just announced the opening of four new cloud datacenters in the U.S. -- two in Dallas, Texas, and two in Washington, D.C. The new facilities were designed to handle demanding cognitive workloads running on IBM's Bluemix cloud platform. Each facility has the capacity for thousands of physical servers and offers a range of cloud infrastructure services, including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage, security services, and networking, the company said.

IBM's growing cloud datacenter network now extends across 19 countries and comprises 55 facilities.

Big Blue launched a strategic initiative to deploy its cloud datacenters in key local markets around the world about two years ago, and the new U.S. facilities are part of that strategy. Late last year, the company opened a cloud datacenter in Norway, which was the first in the Nordic region. It also opened cloud datacenters in Seoul, South Korea, and Chennai, India. The company reportedly plans to open four addition datacenters before the end of second quarter, including two in London, one in Australia, and one in San Jose, Calif.

But a significant expansion effort planned for 2017 emphasizes enhancing the capabilities of existing facilities to accommodate growing demand for support of blockchain technology, quantum and cognitive computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), said John Considine, GM of IBM's Cloud Infrastructure group, in a statement

"This expansion is not about increasing the number of countries we operate in, but the capacities of the markets we're already in," explained Francisco Romero, VP of IBM's Cloud Infrastructure Operations group. "We're essentially growing with the demand for IBM's analytic and cognitive capabilities. As the number of clients leveraging those capabilities and the data sets grow, the demand for our infrastructure grows."

IBM is betting on growing demand for these technologies and the resulting demand for datacenters that can handle the higher-end workloads, which mitigate the costs of added hardware.

"We're doing a lot of work within the datacenter to support technologies that are very AI-friendly at scale," Romero said. "We already have CPUs available in those datacenters that cognitive workloads take advantage of. And we continue to work with our hardware vendors to incorporate more and more cognitive-specific capabilities into the datacenter, but doing it at scale, so the total-cost-of-ownership equation works as well as possible for the overall business."

This is a bet IBM appears to be winning. In April, the company reported a 33% increase in revenue from its cloud services during the last quarter, and total cloud revenues of $14.6 billion over the past 12 months.


About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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