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IBM spends $300M to expand business continuity services

Dave Raffo

IBM is pouring $300 million into expansion of its business continuity centers around the world, underscoring the growing importance of disaster recovery and cloud computing internationally.

IBM today revealed plans to build 13 data recovery centers in 10 countries this year, on top of the 154 centers it already maintains. The new sites will include Japan (Tokyo), China (Hong Kong, Beijing and Shangai), France (Paris), the U.K. (London), Germany (Cologne), Turkey (Izmir), Poland (Warsaw), Italy (Milan) and the U.S. (New York).

The centers will extend the reach of IBM's disaster recovery services by providing more locations to store customer data and a workspace if customers need an alternate site to work in case of a disaster, said Brian Reagan, IBM's director of business continuity and resiliency strategy.

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The "business resiliency" centers include storage appliances called data protection vaults and recovery software IBM gained through its acquisition of Arsenal Digital Solutions last year.

"In some markets this gives us local presence in areas where we don't have it, like Eastern Europe," Reagan said. "In financial markets, like Paris and New York, we have the opportunity to expand our local point of presence to serve clients in a cloud context."

The expanded services can also help U.S.-based customers with internal presence. Direct marketing firm InfoUSA uses IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services (BCRS) to protect its mainframe data. Stan Clanton, InfoUSA vice president of IT, said he welcomes the new centers because the company plans to expand in Asia and Europe.

"We will have a need for international recovery capabilities," Clanton said. "In Europe, we will have multiple locations, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me to spend thousands of dollars on multiple technology solutions if the power or infrastructure in a country we're in is not good."

Clanton said he now has his data hosted in an IBM disaster recovery center far from his Omaha, Neb., headquarters and the more centers available gives companies more flexibility. "I have taken a look at companies in the Omaha area and those contracted with IBM. If there were a disaster that wiped out part of Omaha, I want to make sure we would not be recovering at the same center as some of the other customers," he said

Clanton has never had to declare an emergency in 16 years, but he conducts semiannual tests. "Has it always worked? No," he admits. "There are degrees of success. Until you truly have a disaster, you try to get policies and procedures in place to make sure you can recover what you need in time."

Reagan said plans call for opening the 13 new centers this year.


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