IBM Injects $90 Million into Canadian Data Centre

IBM, together with the Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Barrie, today unveiled what is being hailed as one of the nation’s most advanced computing facilities, the new IBM Canada Leadership Data Centre.

The Barrie, Ontario-based centre has been designed from the ground up with the “latest advancements in energy efficient data centre management, business continuity, resiliency, security and disaster recovery services” to help organizations efficiently manage growth while reducing costs and mitigating risk.

The data centre represents a $90 million investment from IBM and will establish 20 skilled jobs in Barrie, as a portion of the $175 million IBM invested and 145 jobs created through the April 2012 launch of the IBM Canada Research and Development Centre network. In time, the new data centre is expected to provide key infrastructure and personnel to help underpin ongoing research and development initiatives tied to this network. The IBM funding is supported through the Government of Ontario’s previous $15 million investment towards these initiatives.

“Canadian organizations are seeking more strategic ways to increase operational efficiencies and position themselves for sustainable growth,” said John Lutz, president of IBM Canada. “We continue to invest in smarter infrastructure within Canada because businesses can’t afford downtime with today’s economic pressures. This new facility provides a flexible foundation ingrained in best-practices so we can deliver essential services to help organizations and partners better manage data, reduce operating costs, improve productivity and gain competitive advantage.”

50% of Canadian organizations recently surveyed reported that providing sufficient data centre space and ensuring the availability required to meet customer service demands are among their top challenges. Yet, organizations typically spend about 70% of their IT budgets simply maintaining existing environments.

In parallel, IDC estimates the amount of information managed by enterprises will grow 50 times over the next decade with the number of associated servers installed by organizations increasing by 49% in the next two years. In an IBM survey of 300 IT leaders, the 21% of organizations who ran efficient data centres were able to spend 50% more on new projects and innovation to make their organizations more successful.

The highly efficient, modular centre is uniquely designed to a set of global best-practice metrics that best demonstrate productivity and effectiveness in space, energy and data management These attributes will help organizations adapt existing processes and infrastructure or cost-effectively invest to more efficiently support business growth and mitigate the risk of costly system outages. Organizations that rely on critical 24/7 systems can locate their primary IT operations in one centre and establish a data recovery centre far enough away to reduce the risk of a geographic disaster impacting both sites, but close enough to ensure operational or customer data is always available.

“It is with great pride that we welcome IBM’s Leadership Data Centre to Barrie. To be selected as the global destination for the first newly constructed Leadership Data Centre in North America is a tremendous honour and sends the message globally that Barrie’s wealth of competitive advantages make it a strategic business location in the new economy,” says Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman. “Barrie is open for business and we look forward to growing a relationship of mutual benefit for both IBM and the Barrie community.”

The new facility will provide 25,000 square feet of initial capacity with the ability to grow to 100,000 square feet.  This newest addition to IBM’s existing network of 17 data centres within Canada bolsters the company’s $75 million investment in Markham and Montreal-based data centres during 2011.

“The progress of this unprecedented research partnership is wonderful to see. This project will help to improve how we deal with challenges in health care, infrastructure and cities, energy, and water conservation while making use of Ontario’s greatest resource — our people,” says Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, Government of Ontario.

“This Centre is designed to act as a catalyst for innovative collaborations with researchers and businesses here in Barrie and across southern Ontario,” says Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament for Barrie. “The advanced knowledge coming from the collaborative research and innovation platform funded by our government will be a strategic asset for Canada to advance home-grown innovation on the world stage.”