IBM Announces European Cloud Computing Hub

By Nicole Hemsoth

March 24, 2008

IBM and the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland (IDA Ireland) announced the establishment of Europe’s first Cloud Computing Center. Located in Dublin, the new facility will serve as a hub that will deliver cloud computing research and services to a number of satellite facilities to be built in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. IBM experts from these centers will work directly with clients in the region, helping them adopt cloud computing solutions that spur technology research and business development.

One of the Dublin center’s first offerings for clients, called IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing, is a new service delivered directly to clients over a cloud computing environment. Using Web 2.0 technology, it allows communities of business professionals to be assembled into social networks to facilitate the development of new business ideas. IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing captures business processes — from their beginnings as ideas to commercialization — speeding up brainstorming among employees, partners, software developers and other third party participants.

“The selection of Ireland as the location for IBM’s European hub for cloud computing highlights Ireland’s role as an important contributor to IBM’s global research, development and innovation strategy,” said Micheál Martin TD, minister for enterprise, trade and employment for the Irish government. “The investment further establishes IBM Ireland’s growing reputation as a high-performance computing center within IBM Corporation. IDA Ireland and IBM have a proactive long-standing relationship in advancing the Irish business and the implementation of strategic high-value, knowledge-based research and development investments.”

“Our investments in cloud computing are a prime example of how IBM is seeking out emerging global market opportunities and new computing models that benefit IBM clients,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive in the IBM Software Group. “Through this new facility and the cloud computing model, the wealth of talent at IBM’s software lab in Ireland will be accessible to not only the rest of Europe, but Africa and the Middle East as well.”

Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) infrastructure in which dynamically shared computing resources are virtualized and accessed as a service. Cloud computing replaces the traditional data center model in which companies own and manage their own stand alone hardware and software systems. Cloud computing is an attractive proposition for small to large-sized companies. It also is a green technology model that reduces energy consumption by improving IT resource utilization, therefore requiring fewer servers to handle equivalent workloads.

The need for cloud computing is fueled by the dramatic growth in business collaboration, connected devices, real-time data streams, and Web 2.0 applications such as streaming media and entertainment, social networking and mobile commerce.

The first client of the center at Dublin will be the Sogeti Group, a specialist provider of local professional IT services. Sogeti plans to use the IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing, providing its employees around the world with the technology to collectively brainstorm online and generate new ideas about building the “Sogeti of the Future.”

“Innovation is at the heart of every successful company,” said Michiel Boreel, CTO of Sogeti. “By utilizing IBM Cloud Computing Center resources, we expect to generate a wealth of real-world solutions for accelerating Sogeti’s international growth and delivering step-change for our clients. Another positive benefit is increased interaction and collaboration between our consultants around the world, as well as hands-on experience with this leading-edge computing power.”

“Responding to demand in the market, we are moving fast to build an integrated cloud computing operation. We are adding Europe’s first cloud computing center at Dublin and more facilities into a network of existing centers in China, Vietnam and the U.S. The centers can bring skills and expertise to serve our clients in building their own new enterprise data centers,” said Dr. Willy Chiu, vice president of High Performance On Demand Solutions for the IBM Software Group. With such a network of centers, Chiu pointed out, “We will also address the need for open interoperability standards.”

The IBM High Performance on Demand Solutions Lab will work with IDA Ireland to build this center using IBM’s “Blue Cloud” technologies, a series of cloud computing offerings based on industry open standards and open source software. IBM Tivoli systems management software will manage the cloud computing environment.

The center will place a focus on innovation and research activities. As part of its ongoing educational initiatives, IBM has also agreed to facilitate cloud computing training for lecturers at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s School of Computing. The training will help the school to foster new skills that meet the needs of this emerging computing model.

IBM Cloud Computing Milestones

IBM has been expanding its cloud computing capabilities around the world. Over the past year, IBM has provided cloud computing services to clients such as China Telecom, Wuxi Municipal Government of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam and others. IBM also launched “Blue Cloud,” a series of cloud computing offerings, and entered into partnerships for cloud computing programs with a number of partners in Europe.

For more information about IBM cloud computing, visit www.ibm.com/developerworks/websphere/zones/hipods/.

For more information about IDA Ireland, visit www.idaireland.com.

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