IBM is expanding and adding new technology to 11 of its data centers in North America, Europe and Asia to meet growing demand and rolled out new services to customers, the world’s largest computer company said late Thursday.
The most significant upgrade to the data centers is what International Business Machines Corp. calls its universal management infrastructure, or UMI, a software technology that IBM first made commercially available in the first quarter of 2003.
UMI has expanded into a collection of software, architecture and best practices to help customers integrate and manage data centers, which typically have a host of different types of computer systems and software programs.
“UMI was basically software that would let IBM standardize and manage complex environments more effectively,” said Dean Davison, an analyst with the Meta Group. “In the last couple of years they have moved this up the food chain.”
IBM, which has about 200 data centers across the world, said the 11 data centers getting the new technology are in the United States, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Britain, Australia, Japan, and Singapore. It will expand more centers next year, depending on demand, the Armonk, New York-based company said.
The UMI data center expansion, as well as three new offerings, are part of IBM’s Global Services group, the largest computer services provider in the world.
“We’ve got people moving workloads from various flavors of Unix and Windows to Linux,” said John Lutz, vice president of on-demand business, for IBM. “We want folks to have that flexibility.”
More firms moving to Linux
In a range of industries, companies are increasingly moving to computer systems and software that run on Linux, a freely available version of the Unix operating system typically used in large, complex networks.
IBM said that UMI works with HP-UX, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s version of Unix, IBM’s own version AIX, Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system, and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s version of Unix called Solaris.
IBM also said it has doubled to more than 60 the number of its business partners using its software as a service, reflecting the growing trend of providing software as a utility-type service delivered over the Internet.
According to market research firm IDC, sales of subscription-based and hosted software will grow at 17 percent and 26 percent, respectively, through 2007.
IBM said that with UMI rolled out in the 11 data centers across the world, software as a service will be more accessible to IBM and its partners’ customers.