Tuesday, October 17, 2017

IBM opens four UK data centres, readies for cognitive computing era

Brexit has not stopped the Big Blue from investing in the UK as customers demand digital transformation and cognitive intelligence support.

Digital hungry customers have forced IBM to open four new data centres in the UK increasing the company’s European data centre footprint to 16 hubs.

By adding the four UK facilities, IBM has tripled its national presence. The hubs have been infused with cognitive intelligence.

The first facility will be operation at the end of December and will sit in Fareham. The other three data centres are expected to come online in 2017.

IBM said the expansion strengthens its ability to bring clients more flexibility, transparency and control over how they manage data, run their businesses and deploy IT operations locally in the cloud.

The cloud has become a business driver in the UK not only for IBM, but most industries. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, cloud adoption rates increased to 84% in the UK over the course of the last five years.

IDC forecasts that the global market opportunity for public cloud services will exceed $195bn by 2020.

The cognitive cloud data centres have already secured tour operator Thomson as a customer.

The company is trialling a new travel search tool, which leverages Watson cognitive services on the IBM Cloud with its customers giving them the opportunity to find travel inspiration by interacting with the virtual travel assistant.

Matt Hancock, UK Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said: “We are already among the most digitally connected countries in the world, with a globally successful digital economy worth more than £118bn a year and strong cyber security defences to protect consumers and business.

“This announcement by IBM is a further boost for this thriving area, and another vote of confidence which shows Britain is open for business.

“These new cloud data centres will help our firms work smarter and quicker to become the world-leading businesses of tomorrow.”

Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, said: “By adding four new Cloud data centres in the UK, IBM is giving local businesses an easy route to the cloud, helping them quickly innovate and respond to market demands.

“IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas, offering clients higher-value cloud data services such as Watson and Blockchain running on our cloud infrastructure that delivers world-class scalability, performance and security.”

The 16 European hubs sits within IBM’s network of more than 50 data centres worldwide.

Elsewhere, IBM also signed an agreement to lease space within Ark Data Centres in the UK, which will see the second of the four new cloud data centres fully operational in mid-2017.

Ark is the joint venture partner with the UK Government delivering public sector data centre services under the Crown Hosting Framework.