IBM Smarter Data Centre opens new Barrie, Ont. facility

IBM, together with the Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Barrie, unveiled one of the nation’s most advanced computing facilities: the IBM Canada Leadership Data Centre. The Barrie, Ont.-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 securely 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.

Fifty per cent 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. This is particularly important for high availability industries like financial services, government and retail. Yet, organizations typically spend about 70 per cent 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 percent in the next two years.

Leading organizations are taking steps to address these issues. In an IBM survey of 300 IT leaders, the 21 per cent of organizations who ran efficient data centres were able to spend 50 per cent 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.

For example, the centre will provide synchronous replication of data with another centre that is within 100 kilometres. This means 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.

The new facility will provide 25,000 square feet of initial capacity with the ability to grow to 100,000 square feet. IBM has designed and delivered more than 1,000 similar modular data centres for customers worldwide. Modular data centre design uses small increments of standardized components to match business requirements with IT requirements and only add data centre capacity when needed. Modular centres can be expanded in half the time of a traditional data centre to easily accommodate growing demand. They help clients save up to 30 percent per year in energy costs compared to traditional centres.

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.

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