The FINANCIAL — Continuing to strengthen its global cloud presence in the European market, IBM has opened its first cloud data center in Italy. Located in Cornaredo, a municipality in the Province of Milan, the new facility provides the fast-growing Italian cloud market with a local IBM Cloud presence, allowing customers to deploy their workloads in the country and benefit from a low-latency connection into IBM Cloud’s global platform, which securely integrates data and applications for clients around the world.
The new IBM Cloud center, powered by SoftLayer infrastructure, allows customers and partners adopting cloud computing to more easily manage, run, and store data and workloads Italy, key for many local clients in regulated industries. Global customers can also use the new facility to reach local end users, create data redundancy, and achieve geographic diversity, according to IBM.
The Milan location supports an emerging cloud-computing market in Italy, which, according to The Polytechnic University of Milan’s Observatory of Cloud and ICT as a Service, saw 31 percent year-over-year growth in 2014, with a total market spend of more than €1.18 billion (US$1.33 billion).
“The Italian IT sector is changing as startups and enterprises alike are increasingly turning to the cloud to optimize infrastructure, lower IT costs, create new revenue streams, and spur innovation,” said Marc Jones, chief technology officer for SoftLayer, an IBM Company. “The Milan data center extends the unique capabilities of our global platform by providing a fast, local onramp to the cloud. Customers have everything they need to quickly build out and test solutions that run the gamut from crunching big data to launching a mobile app globally.”
“This data center represents a financial and technological investment made by a multinational company that has faith in this country’s potential,” said Nicola Ciniero, General Manager, IBM Italy. “Having an IBM Cloud presence in Italy will provide local businesses with the right foundation to innovate and thrive on a global level.”
The IBM Cloud data center in Milan joins existing SoftLayer EMEA cloud centers in London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam and connects to IBM Cloud’s growing network of facilities around the world. These existing points of presence and data centers already provide low-latency connections across the EMEA region, but with the addition of the Milan data center, local customers and end users will see even better performance. From the new location, connections to SoftLayer services within Europe are less than 30 milliseconds, which means data can be transmitted quickly—key for a wide range of computing needs, including real-time bidding (RTB), big data, and analytics applications.
Enabling Local Customers on a Global Scale
IBM Cloud already supports Italian customers ranging from startups and emerging businesses to enterprise organizations. ROIALTY, a real-time marketing platform created to deliver personalized customer engagement and digital loyalty programs, is an innovative Italian startup, with offices in Milan, Parma, and London.
“We rely on IBM Cloud, powered by SoftLayer, to support our growing business, said Stefano Tonella, COO of ROIALTY. “We combine big data elements like semantic web and social data analysis, real-time intelligence on social interactions, and gamification to maximize engagement and conversions for our customers. IBM Cloud’s global network, which offers low-latency connections, combined with SoftLayer bare metal servers, is key to our success. Having a data center near our headquarters in Milan will create even better performance for our customers.”
Another Italian customer, Elica, is a leading designer and manufacturer of kitchen hoods for domestic use. Since its early days in the 1970s, the company has been bringing “fresh air” indoors through ventilation, filtering, and air purification in the home. Today, Elica relies on IBM Cloud to compute, analyze, and connect data to give their products a competitive edge.
“Our Internet of Things project has the value of integrating environmental data, such as air quality, humidity, and Co2, with data that communicates to our extractor hoods and hobs,” said Francesco Casoli, Chairman of Elica. “By analyzing this data, we are able to improve our products and continue to innovate in order to satisfy our customers’ needs. The IBM Cloud, based on SoftLayer infrastructure, allows us to manage this unpredictable, ever-changing data in a fast and innovative way, reducing any investment risks and enabling us to keep costs under control.”
With capacity for up to 11,000 servers, a power rating of 2.8 megawatts, and a Tier III design, the Milan facility offers the full range of IBM Cloud infrastructure services, including bare metal and virtual servers, storage, security services, and networking. These services can be deployed on demand with full remote access and control through a customer Web portal or API, allowing customers to create their ideal public, private, or hybrid cloud environments.
Part of IBM’s $1.2 billion investment in 2014 to expand its global cloud footprint, the Milan data center expands the total number of IBM Cloud data centers to more than 40 worldwide, which includes 24 SoftLayer data centers.