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SAP is about to dramatically increase the number of data centres around the world hosting its HANA Enterprise Cloud platform.

Rather than build server rooms itself,  IBM will host the infrastructure at its network of 40 data centres, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Combined with SAP’s existing 20 data centres, there will  be 60 data centres around the world offering HANA Enterprise Cloud.

“This gives us instant scale,” Kevin Ichhpurani, SAP’s senior vice-president and head of business development and strategic ecosystem, said in an interview Tuesday.

“The reason why that’s important is more of our customers want the data centre and data (stored) in country — data sovereignty is becoming a big issue.”

By contrast, he added, competitors like Oracle are trying to build their own data centres,  “which will take years,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that the agreement with IBM isn’t exclusive — Oracle, for example, could strike a similar deal and expand quickly as well.

IT companies around the world are racing to spread data centre networks in many countries. Cisco Systems Inc., for example, recently announced it now has partners in 50 countries for its Intercloud network of data centres that use Cisco cloud solutions, including Canada’s CGI Group, BT and Deutsche Telekom.

No matter who is doing the hosting, CIOs will still get one service level agreement (from SAP) and one provide (SAP) to question if there are any problems.

Ichpurani said SAP will start to deliver HANA Enterprise Cloud on the IBM infrastructure early next year.

IBM [NYSE: IBM] is already a long-time SAP [NYSE: SAP] partner, one of the biggest implementers of SAP’s on-premise applications. “This just takes it to the next level,” said Malcom Smith, IBM Canada’s cloud computing leader. “Our cloud infrastructure is designed for enterprises,” he said.

The deal justifies IBM’s US$3 billion spending on global data centres over the past two years, a decision made in the expectation that organizations of all sizes will want all manner of hosted and managed cloud solutions.

“Our strategy is to have a major cloud footprint in every major country where we operate.” The goal for this particular deal is to help enterprises get on HANA Enterprise Cloud quickly.

He noted that the infrastructure needed to test an HANA environment is extensive; it would sit idle most of the time in an internal data centre. With the cloud option, customers can spin up instances for test and development as needed.

Most customers will start use of HANA Enterprise Cloud in test/dev, he added, and later move those workloads into production in the cloud.



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