IBM is opening a new data center at its Research Triangle Park campus. According to an announcement made by Big Blue just after midnight, the so-called “cloud resiliency center” covers some 72,000 square feet.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is seeking to cash in on business continuity and disaster recovery demand in a market that Big Blue said is expected to generate some $32 billion in 2015.

Research firm Forrester rates IBM as one of four leaders in disaster recovery services along with HP, Sun Guard and Recovery Point. IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services is the largest provider with more than 12,000 customer contracts, Forrester said in a recent report.

“It’s a growing part of the business,” said Alice Williams, IBM’s business continuity resiliency services director.

“It’s a dangerous world, unfortunately, and we’re a major piece of keeping our customers up and running and safe and always on.”

The data center will also see IBM add to the group’s head count, although Williams would not offer a specific number.

Some 2,000 employees are part of that group. according to a recent IBM promotional document. Forrest said IBM employed 1,800 people in the group in the first quarter of this year.

Earlier this year, Mike Errity, vice president of IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services, said IBM’s “large local talent base” was a major reason for the construction of the RTP operation.

Mitch Derman, an IBM spokesman cited several reasons for IBM’s continued investment at RTP. He noted the availability of ample power, the low risk of natural disasters and the convenient access to East Coast markets. 

According to IBM, Monitise, one of the world’s largest mobile banking and payments companies, already occupies space in the RTP center.

“The work we’re doing with Monitise at this new cloud resiliency center is a strong testament to IBM partnerships with enterprise clients to drive new innovation,” Errity said in making the announcement. “By creating a new benchmark for delivering client continuity services in hybrid, public and private cloud environments, we meet the demands of businesses required to serve the around the clock needs of their clients.”

IBM renovated old office and lab space for the brand new cloud resiliency center which includes a kitchen, lounge, showers and DirecTV as well as conference rooms and other amenities, according to an IBM video.

It also is connected to four different fiber-optic network providers.

“Our mission is to protect our clients from IT outages and lost data,” Williams said.

The news is not the only big development for IBM in North Carolina. The international tech giant also has selected IBM for one of its Innovation Centers where Big Blue, partners and customers develop solutions ranging from cloud to social networks and cognitive computing. It’s the sixth Innovation Center that IBM will operate in the U.S.

IBM picked RTP for one of its early “cloud” data centers in 2008.

SoftLayer Protection

As more and more companies respond to increasing amounts of data and computing power needed to process it, “cloud” data centers packed with hundreds, if not thousands, of servers are springing up around the world. The IBM resiliency center offers data storage, backup as well as recovery services.

Big Blue also offers extensive data security through its SoftLayer Technologies. IBM acquired SoftLayer in 2013 for some $2 billion and is using its technology to underpin the growing global cloud business.

“With cloud software and services, the center now protects companies from potential costly disruptions, reducing the recovery time of 24 to 48 hours, once deemed the industry standard, to minutes,” a spokesperson for IBM said. 

How Big Is It?


IBM first said the center would cover 4 million square feet. In a revised press release early Monday, the figure was changed to the sharply lower figure.

In the revised press release, IBM noted that its entire RTP campus covers 4 million square feet.

The RTP campus is one of IBM’s largest, and most of its estimated 7,500 employees in North Carolina are based there.

IBM operates some 150 resiliency centers worldwide, including one in Charlotte. The RTP facility is one of 15 that will provide SoftLayer related services.

“Now we’ve got the biggest, best most state-of-the-art resiliency center in RTP so it’s just an example of IBM’s investment in this site,” Williams said.

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