IBM, perhaps the most essential piece of the puzzle assembled over the past 50-plus years to build Research Triangle Park into the world’s largest such industrial and research hub, remains committed to RTP, says Mike Errity, vice president of IBM’s Business Continuity and Resiliency Services.

Over the past several years, IBM (NYSE: IBM) has dramatically cut the size of its work force in North Carolina – some 60 percent – through sales of business units and job cuts. But its RTP campus remains the company’s largest physically and IBM still employs an estimated 7,500 people in the state.

Big Blue reaffirmed its commitment to the RTP operation with Monday’s announcement about the opening of  a new data “resiliency” center. Also, a new Innovation Center is coming.

In an exclusive Q&A, Errity explains the RTP location decision and reiterates Big Blue’s support for the site.

Why was RTP selected for this new resiliency center?

We chose to invest and create our new cloud resiliency center in RTP for several key reasons: robust network infrastructure , leadership position in efficient energy, with ample power capacity for future growth expectations, with robust site resiliency in a geography with low risk of any natural disaster impact, located in a central location in the east with easy access via airport and auto travel, and importantly we are co-resident in IBM’s largest US site where BCRS [business continuity and recovery services] gains local connection to a broad range of security, cloud, & systems management skills and capabilities.

Is it linked or part of or an expansion of the existing cloud data hosting facility in RTP?

Yes, it is linked. The growth in the campus is evidence that RTP offers great benefits to a multitude of IBM businesses and our clients. And, working together, we collaborate and benefit from each other’s skills to offer innovation in new technologies like the cloud and quality to our clientele.

Will there be new jobs created as a result of this center, and if so how many?

IBM is always hiring, at RTP and our other sites. See our job postings on our Global Opportunity Marketplace at

Can you tell us the value of the investment?

This is IBM’s single largest USA site investment for this part of the business.

Based on the fact it is a SoftLayer-linked facility, it is one of a select few within IBM.

IBM also has chosen to establish an Innovation Center in RTP. These two moves reflect additions to RTP rather than subtractions that have occurred over the past 10 years, including the PC division to Lenovo in 2005, the point of sale division and the sale of the x86 server business to Lenovo. Why the move now to embrace the RTP location?

As previously mentioned, the decision criteria to make a strategic investment in RTP was made carefully after analyzing a benefits matrix….clearly, RTP offers our clients unique combination of benefits including economics, location convenience, site resiliency, risk profile, network, skills, growth capabilities and new technologies such as business continuity, cloud and big data.

Through this leading industry investment, IBM delivers even greater value to RTP by providing customers integrated traditional and cloud base recovery capabilities. This new facility— which will join the 15 other global centers planned by SoftLayer and 150 resiliency centers— will speed up recovery times by virtually eliminating network latency while allowing businesses to manage federal and local data residency compliance regulations.

Do these additions reflect new thinking or revised thinking about the importance of RTP to IBM?

RTP remains important to IBM as it always has been. With the opening of a new cloud resiliency center in RTP this week, IBM is quickly becoming the de-facto standard for big data in the cloud.The new center represents IBM’s latest investment in cloud and its commitment to meeting the “always-on” needs for today’s businesses:

• IBM invested $1.2B to expand its global cloud footprint to 40 data centers in every major market.
• Invested a $1B to create a cloud development platform, IBM Bluemix to enable a new wave of innovation in building cloud apps for the enterprise.
• Created IBM Cloud marketplace to enable business, IT and development professionals to tap into enterprise cloud services from IBM and its growing cloud ecosystem.
• Invested $7B in key cloud acquisitions including $2 Billion acquisition of SoftLayer and 100+ SaaS properties to serve every business role across the enterprise.

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