IBM opens Hong Kong cloud lab, announces NZ data centre

Bolstering its efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, global technology provider IBM ( has opened the first major cloud lab in Hong Kong to support its quickly growing LotusLive ( messaging services initiative, and it announced a $80-million data centre project in Auckland, New Zealand.

IBM's Thursday announcement of its Hong Kong data centre marks its tenth cloud computing lab and the first lab of any major IT vendor in Hong Kong. It will serve as a world-class development facility for Web 2.0, cloud mail and collaboration for businesses of all sizes around the globe.

Key to IBM's worldwide efforts for public cloud collaboration services, the lab will support the dramatic growth of cloud collaboration by governments and companies. The global cloud computing market is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 28 percent from $47 billion in 2008 to $126 billion by 2012, according to IBM based on various market estimates.

"Strategically located near emerging growth markets, we expect that the new laboratory and IBM's LotusLive platform will play an important role in helping clients here and around the world to take advantage of the growth in Web 2.0 collaboration," IBM China Development Laboratory and Asia Pacific North Cluster Laboratories vice president Matthew Wang said in a statement. "IBM intends to increase its investment in the laboratory and recruit more talent to capture this huge global opportunity."

The IBM Cloud Computing Laboratory in Hong Kong is a development and services center, focusing on LotusLive messaging development, testing, technical support and services delivery. IBM's new SaaS collaboration solution, LotusLive starts at $3 per user per month.

IBM also announced a new, 1,500-square-meter (16,000-square-foot) data center in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland. Due to open late next year, the facility will be built to meet the growing demand for cloud computing.

According to local reports, however, there are still some sore feelings about IBM because of its part in a Air New Zealand mishap. Two months ago, IBM's Newton facility, which powered Air New Zealand's booking and check-in systems, went offline for six hours on the last day of school holidays due to a back-up power generator failure, disrupting the travel plans of roughly 10,000 passengers.

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