IBM opens SoftLayer datacentre in London for local cloud customers

IBM opens a datacentre in Chessington, specifically for its SoftLayer cloud customers

IBM is opening a datacentre in Chessington, London, for its SoftLayer cloud customers. The facility is part of IBM’s $1.2bn plan to build 15 datacentres in Europe to propel its cloud services.

The London facility has a capacity of more than 15,000 physical servers and will offer the full range of SoftLayer cloud infrastructure services, including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage and networking. It will integrate via the company’s private network with all SoftLayer datacentres and network PoPs around the world.

The new datacentre is IBM’s second cloud-focused facility in Europe after the existing Softlayer datacentre in Amsterdam it acquired when it bought the IaaS provider a year ago for $2bn

Why London? “London is headquarters for a third of enterprises and our customers have a significant presence in the region,” said Steven Canale, SoftLayer vice president at IBM.

“Also, a majority of the world’s largest financial institutions have operations here and London has one of the world’s largest communities for technology start-ups, incubators, and entrepreneurs.

According to IBM, the region is a key cloud market, with customers using cloud to deploy web-centric workloads or to transform their existing operations.

“We already have a large customer base in London and the region. The work these businesses are doing – the solutions and services that they are building in the cloud – is inspiring,” said Lance Crosby, SoftLayer's chief executive. 

These customers will have a full SoftLayer datacentre “right in their backyard with all the privacy, security, and control elements,” he said.

IBM aims is to have two datacentres in every region for cloud services, Canale said. In January, IBM said it will invest $1.2bn to expand cloud operations in all major geographies and financial centres. The investment is aimed at growing SoftLayer's global cloud footprint to 40 datacentres and double its cloud services capacity.

While the new datacentre does not use renewable sources of power, it uses efficient, low-power servers and DCIM tools to make the centre energy-efficient. “It is in our own interest to keep the datacentre power-efficient as it will help us cut our operating expenses,” said Canale.

IBM’s cloud customers will have full remote access and control, and will be enabled to create their ideal cloud environment – whether it be public, private, dedicated and/or hybrid, said Doug Clark, the cloud leader for UK and Ireland at IBM.

The Chessington datacentre will also allow customers to use the company’s private network with all SoftLayer datacentres and network PoPs around the world.

“Cloud is a business-enabler and IDC statistics show that as many as 85% of new applications in the enterprise space will be deployed via cloud services,” Clark said.

The new datacentre will open for business this month and one existing SoftLayer customer looking to use London-deployed servers is MobFox, the mobile advertising platform provider in Europe.

“If a user in London is opening our app on their phone, it is powered from the Amsterdam datacentre and it takes 100 milliseconds for us to provide the service,” said Julian Zehetmayr, MobFox chief executive. “London is one of our biggest markets and the new local datacentre will provide us with even lower latency.”

MobFox uses SoftLayer cloud to deliver over 150 billion impressions per month for brands such as Nike, Heineken, EA, eBay, BMW, Netflix, Expedia, and McDonalds. IBM’s UK cloud customers include Virgin Atlantic and Wimbledon Championship.

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