IBM Launches New Cloud Data Center in Norway

IBM announced the opening of a cloud data center in Oslo, Norway, marking the company's 48th global cloud center, 12th in Europe and first in the Nordic region.

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IBM continues to increase its cloud footprint and expand its global cloud presence with the opening of a cloud data center in Oslo.

The new data center, opened in Fetsund, which is 30 kilometers outside Oslo, is the first cloud data center in the Nordic region, IBM said. The new facility in Norway marks IBM's 48th global cloud data center and its 12th in Europe.

"We are committed to providing global and local clients the fastest and easiest on-ramp to the IBM Cloud to accelerate their digital transformation," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, in a statement. "This investment will provide Nordic customers, especially those in regulated industries, with more flexibility to manage and gain insight into data within the region."

The new data center will provide access to IBM's cloud infrastructure as well as to IBM Bluemix, Watson cognitive computing as a service, Blockchain, internet of things (IoT) and big data analytics services to customers in the region.

Indeed, customers such as EVRY, a Nordic IT services company, is already using IBM as it primary cloud infrastructure services provider. Last year, EVRY signed a $1 billion 10-year partnership with IBM. In addition to EVRY, other companies in the region including Cxense, KONE, Opera and Sapa Group are using IBM Cloud. KONE, which manufactures elevators, escalators, automatic doors and turnstiles, is using IBM Cloud as the foundation for the IT systems behind the maintenance and operation of more than 1 million elevators, escalators and building doors, according to the company. Based on data derived from the cloud, KONE also applies analytics to gain insights on when to perform maintenance on equipment for optimal performance.

"We enable our partners and clients to keep their data securely within the country, while being able to leverage existing IT investments, which is a key differentiator for IBM," said Arne Norheim, CEO of IBM Norway, in a statement. "Local access to IBM's global network of public cloud data centers provides the ideal flexibility for our customers. The new cloud data center is designed to fuel support for innovation and quick adoption of new solutions that will help improve business efficiency."

Last month, IBM opened a new cloud data center in Korea. That new data center went up as the Korean market is growing rapidly. IDC projects that the cloud services market in Korea is expected to grow to $1 billion in 2019 from $445 million in 2015. IBM is poised to tap into that opportunity.

"Companies all over the world are seeking new business and profit opportunity throughout digital transformation," Jung-ho Park, CEO of SK Holdings C&C, said in a statement.

Last week, IBM announced a five-year outsourcing agreement with JFE Steel, a Japanese steel company to migrate its core systems to the IBM Cloud and run its IT infrastructure.

"To ensure we are aligned with our global business strategy, we needed a flexible IT infrastructure with the scalability and speed," said Akira Nitta, executive assistant general manager of the IT Innovation Leading Department at JFE Steel, in a statement. "By taking advantage of the IBM Cloud, we are able to promote the business transformation, continue to provide value for clients and focus on becoming a global steel supplier."

IBM will help JFE Steel build out its iron and steel production management systems and maintain its core business.

"As JFE Steel's business continued to grow, it became apparent that its existing infrastructure would soon limit the ability to respond to the changing dynamics of the industry," said Jim Comfort, general manager of IBM System Services, in a statement. "The IBM Cloud now will help transform JFE Steel's IT platform and better manage the sustained growth of its business operations."

In addition, JFE Steel will deploy IBM Control Desk to unify and simplify IT management services, IBM Cloud Orchestrator to build to promote the standardization and automation of cloud services and IBM Power Systems to increase performance, Comfort said.

"As one of the largest steel producers in the world, JFE is under intense pressure to increase production even as prices for steel continue to fall," Comfort told eWEEK. "By moving many of its core systems including its steel and iron management applications to a hybrid cloud infrastructure, JFE is proof-positive that IBM Cloud is built for the enterprise and creates an infrastructure that companies can run some of their most critical applications and services on with confidence."