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SK Holdings C&C, IBM join forces for cloud services

[THE INVESTOR] Tech giant IBM, together with Korean information technology solutions firm SK Holdings C&C, launched a new cloud data center in Korea on Aug. 25 to cater to ever-growing demand for cloud services here. 

The new IBM Cloud Data Center, built at SK Holdings C&C’s data center in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, is Big Blue’s ninth data center in the Asia-Pacific region, and part of the company’s global network of 47 Cloud Data Centers.

In doing so, the US tech giant chose local SK Holdings C&C to provide new services in Korea. 


From left: IBM Korea General Manager Jeffrey Rhoda, Robert LeBlanc, Lee Ho-soo and Lee Ki-yeol pose at the press conference held in Seoul on Aug. 25. SK Holdings C&C
From left: IBM Korea General Manager Jeffrey Rhoda, Robert LeBlanc, Lee Ho-soo and Lee Ki-yeol pose at the press conference held in Seoul on Aug. 25. SK Holdings C&C


“We look for partnership,” Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, said at the press conference held in Seoul on Aug. 25 to mark the launch. “From an IBM perspective, we will bring world-class technology in Korea. But the understanding of the local requirements and the local technology industries, you need a partner. That’s why we partnered with SK C&C, because they bring that knowledge to the market.” 

The latest facility, with capacity for thousands of physical servers, enables clients to access the cloud system to utilize public and private cloud services, or even hybrids, in their businesses by creating mobile apps and rolling out new IT solutions. 

They can access the system through either SK C&C’s cloud service portal Cloud Z or IBM cloud’s website to choose services that provide the best fit.

Among services available on the cloud system are bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage service and security services.

“Companies can significantly reduce IT cost while utilizing cloud service in the form that meets their businesses,” Lee Ki-yeol, vice president of SK Holdings C&C, said. “They can also easily develop the Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service products and easily tap into the global market.” 

Local clients can connect to all IBM’s 47 cloud data centers around the world free of charge in Korean, which IBM believes sets its services apart from similar ones provided by competitors Microsoft and Amazon.
Both Microsoft and Amazon have also entered the cloud data service here. 

“When you look at some competitors, you have to move everything to their clouds, application and all the data,” LeBlanc said. “What we have here is the ability to utilize (clients’) investments they already made in IT, that can be an application or data, and also utilize the cloud to build up new capability to use new function like our cognitive services and move in the rate and pace that makes sense for their businesses.”

In addition, the much touted Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence system, will be deployed on the new cloud data center once it finishes learning the Korean language by next year. 

“Watson is learning Korean very well,” Lee said. “By the end of this year, Watson will finish learning Korean text, and by next year, it will complete studies in speech.”

He said they will deploy the Watson system in the financial sector first by introducing it at the bank’s call centers to consult with clients. The developers then will expand the system into various segments, such as medical, robotics and education. 


Participants try out virtual reality gear at the Cognitive Cloud Connect event jointly held by SK C&C and IBM on Aug. 25. SK Holdings C&C
Participants try out virtual reality gear at the Cognitive Cloud Connect event jointly held by SK C&C and IBM on Aug. 25. SK Holdings C&C


SK Holdings C&C is pinning high hopes on the partnership for it to lead the digital market in the country. 

“Through the new data center, (we will) lead the change in the IT business paradigm,” Lee Ho-soo, chief technology officer of SK Holdings C&C, said. “We will support clients’ innovation in broad range of business through the one-stop cloud services and combine Internet of Things, big data and AI all together.”

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

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