(Photo: IBM)IBM, which wants to solidify its position as a leading provider of cloud-based services, has expanded its global data center network through the addition of 12 new locations. Nine of them are operated by partner Equinix, while the US-based software group is opening new data centers of its own in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo.

Through a partnership agreement with Equinix, a global data center specialist, IBM will use nine of the company's centers in Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands and the US.

The expansion is part of IBM's plan to grow its global data center network to 40 locations this year. The company announced in January 2014 that it would be spending 1.2 billion dlrs to expand its global cloud presence.

“IBM recognizes that businesses and governments need the cloud to help them innovate, grow and operate more efficiently in concert with their existing IT investments," Jim Comfort, general manager, IBM Cloud Services, said in a press release.

Under the agreement, IBM customers using the Equinix Cloud Exchange, a global interconnection platform, will have full access to the portfolio of cloud-based services offered by IBM's SoftLayer unit. The SoftLayer platform gives customers access to and control over their cloud infrastructure.

In the course of 2014, IBM has made a range of investments to bolster its cloud-based services portfolio. A key factor in the decision to expand its global data center network is local regulation in may countries.

"Chief among the driving forces behind the adoption of cloud computing worldwide including hybrid cloud, are requirements for businesses and governments to store certain data locally to comply with data residency regulations," IBM said in a statement.