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After numerous rumors that it was going to happen, IBM has agreed to acquire infrastructure-as-a-service provider SoftLayer.

IBM already offers cloud infrastructure products, so this move shows IBM wasn’t getting enough traction on its own. SoftLayer has about 21,000 customers connected to 13 data centers in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. It competes with Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure, Joyent, and others.

“As businesses add public cloud capabilities to their on-premise IT systems, they need enterprise-grade reliability, security and management,” SVP of IBM Global Technology Services Erich Clementi said in a statement. “With SoftLayer, IBM will accelerate the build-out of our public cloud infrastructure to give clients the broadest choice of cloud offerings to drive business innovation.”

After the deal closes in Q3 2013, SoftLayer will become the backbone for a new “IBM Cloud Services” division. SoftLayer will be smushed together with the IBM SmartCloud into a single global platform. This platform will continue to support OpenStack, one thing that SoftLayer is already known for.

Prior to today, Dallas-based SoftLayer had raised $30 million in funding from investors such as DH Capital.

The terms of today’s deal were not disclosed.

Clouds photo via Flickr

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