IBM is opening a new datacentre in London as part of a $1.2bn push to build out its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure worldwide.
The datacentre is one of 15 that IBM plans to open globally in 2014, with centres in Paris and Frankfurt to go live later this year. IBM plans to expand SoftLayer's global cloud footprint to 40 datacentres across five continents, and double SoftLayer cloud capacity.
SoftLayer was bought by IBM and became part of the IBM Cloud in July 2013. The SoftLayer infrastructure is now the foundation of IBM's cloud portfolio—including extensive middleware software and services.
IBM has been investing heavily in building out SoftLayer's infrastructure in an attempt to match the scale of the cloud service incumbents - such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft - which have reportedly each spent upwards of $10bn, and some more than $20bn, growing their global network of datacentres.
Big Blue said it has built the London datacentre to allow SoftLayer cloud services to be used by firms that need to keep data in-country, as well as to meet its ambition for its services to have low latency connections with customers worldwide. In particular, the move should make SoftLayer services more attractive to the cluster of financial services firms based in London.
IBM described the UK as a "a key cloud market, with customers using cloud to deploy web-centric workloads or to transform their existing operations". The new centre will bolster SoftLayer's existing European infrastructure, its Amsterdam datacentre and its London network of Point of Presence, both launched in 2012.
The London datacentre will have capacity for 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.
SoftLayer is designed to allow firms to use a single management console or set of APIs to run a mixture of bare metal, private and public cloud machines. In April, IBM announced Cloud Marketplace as a single point of access for all of its cloud services.
SoftLayer will start taking orders for services run out of the London datacentre in July.