IBM on Wednesday announced the launch of its latest Cloud Multizone Region (MZR) in Madrid, making it the first in Spain and the tenth MZR globally. With the launch, IBM is also expanding its business with CaixaBank, one of the largest financial institutions in Europe, which plans to leverage the MZR and IBM's Financial Services Cloud to update its core business applications and modernize its services.
IBM MZRs is composed of three or more zones that are independent from each other, ensuring that single failure events affect only a single zone. MZRs provide low latency and high bandwidth connectivity across zones, providing consistent cloud services across zones, as well as better resiliency and availability. The new MZR in Spain will help IBM expand its hybrid cloud business in Europe, enabling clients there to meet data sovereignty and compliance requirements. IBM's current footprint includes more than 60 data centers and 10 MZRs, with plans to expand in the next 12 to 18 months.
CaixaBank, for its part, has worked with IBM for more than 50 years. Under the new multi-year agreement, the bank use the new MZR to advance its hybrid cloud strategy. It's also using the IBM Cloud for Financial Services to update business core applications and improve its financial services' availability and resiliency.
CaixaBank will also work with Kyndryl -- the independent public company that will be created following the separation of IBM's Managed Infrastructure Services business -- to integrate its new hybrid cloud model.
IBM made its Cloud for Financial Services generally available this past April. It's designed to support various financial services requirements ranging from regulatory to privacy while accounting for varied workloads different architectures.
IBM's expertise in key verticals -- like financial services, healthcare or transportation -- is a competitive advantage in the cloud market that should help IBM further its aim of establishing a foothold as a major hybrid cloud provider.
Hybrid cloud is a critical part of IBM's growth strategy. In the fiscal year 2020, IBM's total cloud revenue went up by 20%, in large part thanks to hybrid cloud programs offered by IBM-owned Red Hat. In July, IBM reported steady gains in its cloud business during the second quarter, with cloud revenue up 13% to $7 billion.