Is Frankfurt the Hottest European Data Center Market?

Apr 13, 2018
by Josh Anderson

ASHBURN, VA — Europe’s data center market has been grabbing headlines for many reasons. GDPR, Brexit, and M&A to name a few. At our 2018 Data Center Forecast East, we convened a panel of industry leaders to discuss The Impact of Europe: Data Center Demand-Supply and Forecasting the Factors at Play Across the Pond, Including: Brexit and GDPR. Below, we highlight some of the answers offered to moderator Donough Roche, Owner/Principal, Datacentrs Inc when he asked about the most exciting markets in the EU, alluding to whispers he’s heard that Frankfurt might be the #1 market to go into.

Josh Buis, Principal, Data Center Advisory Group

We first heard from Josh Buis, Principal at the Data Center Advisory Group. “There’s a lot of interest in Frankfurt right now. A lot of the site selection guys are wandering around Frankfurt figuring out where the next project is going to be,” he shared. “I’ve always seen Dublin as a micro-Ashburn; I know this room is quite full of Ashburn experts, but Dublin is a very interesting market, from a hyperscale cloud operator perspective. It is the back up [for Ashburn].”

However, he said there’s a reason for this. “They’re running up against the wall, and a lot of us know about this, which is free capacity,” he revealed. “There’s literally nothing left. It’s all been sold. And that’s not going to be solved for many, many years. And the only way around that is to turn off the growth – basically turn off the growth and go to other countries, or look to alternative energy projects. I think that’s another thing to look for in 2018. I foresee more projects like that – more projects focusing on natural gas and what not.”

data center summitNext, moderator Roche chimed in. “They’re also heavily investing in wind power,” he recalled. “An interesting anecdote from Ireland has to do with sub-sea cables, but there is a new one coming online. And if you look at the planned map for this, it will run from Ireland to France and it runs just outside of the UK territorial waters. So it will never be part of the UK, it’ll always be a purely European cable. That’ll actually be the first direct link between Ireland and the rest of Europe, which is something that the Irish never had to worry about before. But it matters now. We need to think about it.”

Finally, we heard from Drew Leonard, Senior Vice-President for UPSTACK who said that changing laws, especially GDPR are impacting the conversation. “The interesting context with GDPR is that Europeans have always complained about our extraterritorial applications and laws,” he shared. “And look at the subpoena from the US Government to Microsoft to produce data from their Ireland data center. But GDPR, has some major changes to the territorial applications against US companies, or any company outside of the EU. So it’s like the world has turned back around again. And how the EU will enforce that and how that mechanism is going to work, is going to be really interesting.”

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