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IBM bolsters India footprint, lands $700 million Etihad Airways cloud pact

IBM expands partnerships in India to court cloud developers and lands a deal that will bring a cloud data center to Abu Dhabi.

IBM said Tuesday that it will open another public cloud data center in India, this time in Chennai. IBM also formed a partnership with NASSCOM, the Indian outsourcing group, to bolster the developer ecosystem in the country and expanded a relationship with Accenture.

For Big Blue, India is a key end market as one for talent.

In 2014, IBM opened a cloud data center in Mumbai. The company also is partnered with Accenture on an innovation center in Bangalore. Accenture will expand its efforts to tout IBM's Bluemix cloud platform.

Among the moving parts:

  • The Chennai data center is designed for Indian customers who need to keep their data in country. That data stability matters in regulated industries.
  • With NASSCOM, or National Association of Software and Services Companies, IBM will help launch Techstartup.in, a hub designed to bolster a cloud ecosystem in India.
  • IBM also outlined two developer efforts, one to extend the use of the company's technology with partners, and another to offer cloud certifications.
  • The Accenture partnership expansion revolves around using Bluemix in more development areas. CSC, Sogeti and Tech Mahindra are already using Bluemix in India.

Separately, IBM said it landed a 10-year services agreement with Etihad Airways valued at $700 million. Etihad Airways, which carried 14.8 million passengers in 2014, inked a deal with IBM to revamp its information technology operation.

Under the deal, IBM will create a cloud data center in Abu Dhabi. The center will serve Etihad Airways, which will migrate about 100 workers to IBM. The airline will use IBM's technology such as mobile tools developed under the Big Blue-Apple partnership to revamp front-end capabilities and improve the customer experience.