IBM Cloud Expands to South Africa, Indonesia

IBM announced new cloud computing advancements in both South Africa and Indonesia, opening a new data center and launching new partnerships.

IBM cloud expands

Continuing with the global expansion of its cloud business, IBM this week announced a new cloud data center in South Africa as well as a new cloud partnership with an Indonesian telecommunications and services provider.

Big Blue opened a new IBM Cloud Data Center in Johannesburg, South Africa to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent. IBM launched the new center in collaboration with business partners Gijima and Vodacom. Through the center, IBM will provide a portfolio of cloud services for running enterprise and as a service workloads, the company said.

"IBM's first cloud data center in South Africa represents a significant investment and commitment to the region," Jim Comfort, CTO of IBM Cloud, told eWEEK. "IBM plans to lead the African market by driving cloud adoption that enables enterprises to move to the cloud while preserving their existing IT investments. IBM is the first major cloud services providers in the region to have a cloud data center directly in South Africa."

Comfort said the center is tailored towards running and managing SAP applications and workloads in the cloud and underscores IBM's growing cloud footprint, which now includes 46 cloud data centers across six continents. By having a cloud data center directly in South Africa, customers negate data sovereignty concerns as well as reducing network latency issues, he added. This also reinforces the joint partnership between SAP and IBM.

"We're working to drive cloud adoption that best leverages a customer’s existing IT investments," said Hamilton Ratshefola, IBM's Country General Manager in South Africa, in a statement. "Our new Cloud Data Center gives customers a local onramp to IBM Cloud services including moving mission critical SAP workloads to the cloud with ease. It also gives customers the added flexibility of keeping data within country which is a key differentiator for IBM."

Comfort noted that researchers estimate the cloud market opportunity for the entire continent of Africa to be in the billions. "IBM plans to lead this market by enabling enterprises to move to the cloud while preserving their existing IT investments," he said. "Customers can pick the cloud model that best suits their needs--on-premises, off premise, public or private cloud. IBM is the hybrid cloud leader."

This announcement is part of IBM's ongoing investment and commitment to Africa's future and the development of the continent's economy including IBM's Africa Research labs, Innovation Centers as well as the IBM Technical Academy and IBM University Program, Comfort said.

IBM invested nearly $46 million—700 million Rand—in a South African Equity Equivalence Programme in 2015, including the IBM Research Lab in Johannesburg. IBM also has invested $60 million in skills development via an initiative called the Africa Skills Academy, to specifically build out capabilities in new technology skills like cloud and data analytics. IBM also opened a Research lab in Kenya in 2013.

"IBM has a vibrant ecosystem in Africa," Comfort said. "This announcement illustrates this by bringing together Vodacom's network footprint, Gijima's SAP enterprise expertise and IBM's global cloud platform to deliver cloud services not only in South Africa, but the entire continent."

Eileen Wilton, CEO of Gijima, said her company's partnership with IBM and Vodacom is an extension of Gijima's hybrid cloud strategy and is the culmination of a two-year strategy.

Meanwhile, also this week, IBM announced a partnership with Indosat Ooredoo, a large Indonesian telecommunications and services provider, to develop and deliver solutions on the IBM Cloud to serve the region. IBM and Indosat Ooredoo's subsidiary, Lintasarta, will jointly develop the cloud-based solutions based on IBM's Bluemix Platform as a Service.

Also under the five-year, $200 million contract, Indosat Ooredoo and IBM announced a related five-year technology services agreement to deliver digital and operational transformation to Indosat Ooredoo's operations.

As Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, IBM is counting on its expansion in the region to pay dividends.

"This is about driving business innovation and agility in Indonesia and helping streamline processes to improve productivity," Comfort told eWEEK in an email response. "By building solutions on the cloud, IBM, Indosat Ooredoo and its subsidiary, Lintasarta will accelerate collaboration and automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes in Indonesia. We are helping drive market change in Indonesia and assisting companies [to] transform their existing operations in of the one of the world's most rapidly growing economies. Our work with Indosat and Lintasarta is the latest example how cloud and traditional IT are converging in the enterprise. Clients want to consume IT in an 'as-a-service' model. This is aligned with IBM's overall strategy to become a cognitive solutions and a cloud platform company and our shift from a systems integrator to a cloud services Integrator."