IBM aims $400 million at cloud computing

Big Blue is building data centers in North Carolina and Japan to support new services and, the company says, become a little more "green."

Who knew cloud computing could also clean the air?

IBM announced Friday that it's spending nearly $400 million on new cloud computing data centers in North Carolina and Tokyo. Big Blue will spend nearly $360 million to renovate an existing building at its Research Triangle Park campus in North Carolina. The goal is to reuse 95 percent of the existing building's "shell," recycle 90 percent of the old building's material, and make sure 20 percent of the new material is recycled. The new center is expected to be completed by late 2009.

IBM image

Big Blue also boasts that the new data center's mechanical equipment will be "50 percent more efficient than the industry average, equaling a reduction of approximately 31,799 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year." If IBM can follow through on that promise, that would be the equivalent of taking 5,800 cars off the road, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Tokyo facility will be linked to the new North Carolina facility and seven other IBM cloud computing centers in cities including Dublin, Ireland, and Beijing.

Clean air benefits aside, few should be surprised that IBM, which runs the largest computer consulting business in the world and derives the bulk of its revenue through services such as software hosting, should jump head-first into cloud computing services.

While Google caters to consumers with its Web-based applications, Amazon provides hosting services to start-ups, and companies like Salesforce.com provide an array of on-demand software, it can be easy to forget that IBM is the real heavyweight in business computing.

In November 2007, IBM unveiled its "Blue Cloud" bundle of services. And at a conference in Los Angeles in April, IBM executives made it clear that providing hosting services is nothing new to them . The rest of computer industry? According to IBM, they're new to this game.

 

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