While Andromède spawns Cloudwatt (Orange-Thales) and Numergy (SFR-Bull) continue to toil over the details of their cloud offers [FR], IBM (aka Big Blue) has taken a big step towards establishing a strong position in the French IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) market by launching a datacenter outside of Montpellier. This datacenter, which is at the heart of IBM’s French public cloud computing offer, is already operational and, actually, the seventh datacenter for them globally (the others are in Germany, Japan, Singapore, Canada and two in the US). In fact, IBM already hosts and manages IT services for French giants Danone and Carrefour from this Montpellier location.
Although IBM have been a very vocal critic of the Andromède project, they certainly have earned the right to have an opinion given the massive investment they’ve poured into the French market. In 2009, they started executing on their strategy [FR] to secure a strong position early on by investing a whopping €300 million in France to develop it’s cloud offer, followed by an additional €150 million in later years. In addition, IBM is also a major employer in France, now employing 11k people here. By establishing the datacenters physically in France, IBM is looking to counter Numergy and Cloudwatts principal reason for being, namely to offer a ‘soverign’ alternative (aka keep your data in France!) to the big American players such as Amazon and Google who’s cloud infrastructure is housed in non-French locations.
Given that IBM launched this effort in 2009, spent 450€ million and already has major clients French clients as well as the efforts of other cloud providers (both large and small), it’s hard to see how Numergy and Cloudwatt, will be in a position to dominate France’s cloud market, which is projected to reach €3 billion in 2016, anytime in the foreseeable future.