IBM will open four new data centres in the UK in response to increasing demand from commercial and public sector customers for it's cloud services.
The announcement represents a tripling in capacity, taking the total number of UK facilities to six. The first new data centre will open in Fareham in December in space leased from a third-party provider. The second facility will be leased from Ark Data Centres and will be operational in the middle of 2017.
Two further data centre facilities will follow. It is thought that IBM will not be building new facilities but rather leasing space from partners.
The full portfolio of IBM cloud services including Watson and Bluemix will be available from the new facilities.
"By adding four new cloud data centres in the UK, IBM is giving local businesses an easy route to the cloud, helping them quickly innovate and respond to market demands," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, in a statement.
"IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas, offering clients higher-value cloud data services such as Watson and blockchain running on our cloud infrastructure that delivers world-class scalability, performance and security."
The decision to expand UK capacity was made before the Brexit vote, but IBM's general manger for cloud services in Europe, Sebastian Krause, said he saw no reason for the company should revisit the plans.
"UK customers truly understand the capabilities of cloud to drive innovation, to be more flexible on their business model, to have better insight for decision making, and to deliver better customer service," Krause said.
"Everyone has concluded the UK economy will continue to be very strong and there will be significant opportunities with or without Brexit."
The vote does present uncertainties around the continued availability of technological talent and the shape of future data protection legislation. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become law in 2018 and will have a profound effect on the way cloud services operate.
However, it is likely that any UK replacement legislation will be broadly similar. In any case, IBM can afford to hedge its bets as it also maintains 10 data centres in Europe.
UK IBM cloud customers include National Express, National Grid, Dixons Carphone Warehouse, Shop Direct, Travis Perkins and Wimbledon. IBM sees cloud growth as a big part of its future.
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