IBM Cloud Commitment .jpg

When IBM called the SoftLayer acquisition a really big deal last year, it wasn’t talking about the price tag. But until now, it was unclear how all the pieces would fit.

Today, IBM answered many of those questions. It's pumping $1.2 billion into its cloud computing business — and putting SoftLayer at its core. It even brought out IBM SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby, shown left, to "examine servers" at the IBM SoftLayer data center in Dallas today.

Spotlight on SoftLayer

What about IBM's SmartCloud, you ask? Well that’s a little bit unclear at the moment, and IBM didn’t even address it today.

Instead, it announced that it will be establishing SoftLayer as the basis of its entire cloud portfolio and that the infrastructure it bought with SoftLayer will provide a scalable base for the secure delivery of cloud services spanning IBM’s middleware and SaaS solutions.

Big Blue is also betting on SoftLayer to enable faster development, deployment and delivery of its mobile, analytic and social solutions. Again, where’s SmartCloud here? And again, no mention of it.

However, the SoftLayer news was offered almost as an aside to the announcement that it is investing $1.2 billion in its cloud business over the coming year. Agreed that is quite a lot of money, but the SoftLayer news deserves more than an after-thought.

That said, with $1.2 billion you could buy ... well another company, if you wanted, and IBM has shown itself to have a huge appetite for accusations over the past few years.

Network of Data Centers

IBM is betting big on the cloud: It plans to build a network of local cloud hubs worldwide. It expects to open another 15 cloud centers in the coming year, on top of the 12 centers it has already and the 13 it got with the SoftLayer deal (the $2 billion price tag doesn’t look that expensive now, in light of all this!).

This brings the total to 40, with key centers planned for Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, London, Japan, India, China, Canada, Mexico and Dallas. Next year, it is planning a big push in the Middle East and Africa.