IBM is making big cloud moves this week, committing more than $1.2 billion to expand its global cloud footprint and announcing the sixth generation of its X-Architecture (X6) for System x and PureSystems services that aim to drive performance and economics for analytics and the cloud.
Big Blue's $1.2 billion investment includes a network of cloud centers designed to offer more flexibility, transparency and control over how enterprise IT manages data, runs business and deploys IT operations locally in the cloud. Plans call for IBM to open 15 new centers worldwide, adding to the existing global footprint of 13 global data centers from SoftLayer and 12 from IBM.
"IBM is continuing to invest in high-growth areas," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president of IBM Global Technology Services. "Last year, IBM made a big investment adding the $2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer to its existing high-value cloud portfolio. Today's announcement is another major step in driving a global expansion of IBM's cloud footprint and helping clients drive transformation."
Explosive Cloud Growth
IBM points to estimates that predict the global cloud market is set to grow to $200 billion by 2020, driven largely by businesses and government agencies deploying cloud services to market, sell, develop products, manage their supply chain and transform their business practices.
"Cloud represents a growing area for venture capitalist investment," said Ann Winblad, co-founder and managing director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. "By investing in the cloud ecosystem, IBM not only makes it easier for enterprises to adopt cloud and drive innovation, but also helps new companies of all sizes get off the ground more quickly."
In line with its cloud strategy, IBM is also pushing out updated X6 architecture. Big Blue said clients are rapidly adopting analytics for greater business insight and moving critical workloads like ERP, analytics and database to the cloud for increased efficiency and lower costs, and x86-based systems are the first choice for many.
Specifically, IBM is announcing new solutions for its X6 architecture for analytics, database and cloud deployment, including IBM System x Solution for DB2 with BLU Acceleration on X6 for accelerating analytics, IBM System x Solution for SAP HANA on X6 for analytics, and System x Solution for VMware vCloud Suite on X6 for infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities.
Virtualizing Large Apps
We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the new iteration of X6. He told us IBM's EXA strategy has long been designed to anticipate and address business computing problems before they become commonplace. That makes it possible for clients to successfully adapt to changing IT requirements and market dynamics well before their competitors, he said, but it also allows them to reconsider and reimagine how they use IT by making scalable data center solutions more efficient and easier to manage.
"In essence, IBM's new X6 platform has the I/O performance and memory scalability necessary to support and virtualize large, intensive business applications, including the most mission-critical workloads," King said. "By providing these and other 'future proofing' features, the company has considerably extended the continually evolving capabilities of x86-based systems and made IBM's X6 solutions intelligent, robust and secure investments for its mid-market and enterprise customers."