IBM has cut the ribbon on a new software development laboratory in Manchester.

The new centre will focus on the development of IBM Power systems, including optimisation, security and virtualisation software for datacentres. It also promises to support projects for local and international clients.

IBM said the new lab marks the latest in a series of investments this year in high-end systems. The company set up manufacturing and development facilities for software and storage in Mexico and New York.

The Manchester Lab engineers have already developed IBM PowerVM Lx86 for IBM Power Systems, a system that aims to help clients consolidate their Linux-based applications onto IBM systems. Additional sample projects involve work to boost system optimisation.

Local engineers are creating what IBM calls "intelligent system tuning" capabilities that automatically allocate resources such as memory or computing power for different workloads.

The 10,000 square foot lab is situated off Deansgate in the heart of Manchester. It is linked to a nearby datacentre that holds a range of IBM Power and System X servers, which it can draw on during development and testing. IBM in 2009 bought Transitive, a spinout software company from the University of Manchester, and many of the lab engineers come from that firm.

"Manchester's rich innovation pedigree and ambition for the future makes it an exciting place to trail blaze new approaches to urban futures," said Cathy Garner, chief executive at not-for-profit local advisory firm Manchester Knowledge Capital. "We're delighted to be working in collaboration with IBM to help deliver smarter ways of living and working in Manchester."