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Sunderland hires IBM to build cloud infrastructure

Part of its 'economic masterplan' for digital domination

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The UK city of Sunderland is continuing its bid to be the most digitally connected in the country with a cloud computing platform for its city council.

Sunderland has recruited IBM to build the new city-wide cloud infrastructure, which the council insists will be good for individuals and businesses as well as the council itself.

"It will allow residents to access services and information in a quicker and easier way, making the council more responsive," the government body said in a statement.

"Businesses can benefit through the ability to increase capacity and capabilities without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel or licensing new software. Other companies, agencies and public sector partners are also expected to use the cloud for improved collaboration," it added.

The council will invest £5.7m in the project, which it says will be paying for itself within five years. A Big Blue statement said that the council would reduce its operational costs by £1.4m every year for the next five years by reducing hardware, software and maintenance costs and improving IT management.

The cloud platform will be the first of its kind in Europe and "draws on existing IBM cloud solutions delivered in China and the US," the council said.

"In the current climate, it's vital that local authorities like us use our own assets to not only improve services but stimulate economic growth for the benefit of the whole city," councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said in the statement.

"The Sunderland Cloud is a cornerstone of our economic masterplan. The new cloud infrastructure will lay the foundations of an even smarter Sunderland, one that ensures the city continues to be internationally recognised as a forward thinking city and a prime location for inward investment."

Last week, Sunderland City Council claimed that its city would be the first in the UK to get "wall-to-wall" superfast broadband. The council said the 90 per cent of the city would have access to fibre by summer next year.

"This blanket connectivity comes on the back of a significant commercial investment in Sunderland by BT bringing superfast broadband service," the council said. ®

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