Kelvion New Plate Heat Exchanger

Earlier this month, we saw global hostingprovider Leaseweb selecting maincubes’ Amsterdam AMS01 facility to further expand its data center presence in the Amsterdam area. Arno Witvliet, managing director of Leaseweb’s Netherlands operations, referred to maincubes as “one of the few independent European colocation data center operators still left in the Amsterdam area.” Actually, he’s quite right.

The Amsterdam region in the Netherlands is one of the busiest Internet hubs in the world. As a result, this area is accommodating quite some colocation data centers. The high number of data centers and expanding data center builds even made the Amsterdam Metropolitan Government put a temporary hold on new data center developments, as data centers take up a lot of territory space while they place a high burden on the Amsterdam electricity grid.

Many colocation data centers in the Amsterdam area are nowadays owned and operated by either data center conglomerates such as Equinix, CenturyLink, Interxion, or Digital Realty. Or they’re part of global carriers and connectivity providers such as Cogent, AT&T, or Verizon. After several colocation data center acquisitions in the Amsterdam area lately, one of the few independent colocation data center providers left at this Internet hub is maincubes. Some may argue that there are a few more ‘independent’ companies offering colocation from Amsterdam. Most of them are not ‘pure’ colocation providers though, as they are offering (managed) hosting services as well. So actually, we must agree with Mr. Witvliet’s statement accompanying their decision to select maincubes as an ‘independent’ data center infrastructure provider for Leaseweb’s data center expansion in Amsterdam.

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The official European OCP Experience Center was initially deployed in Switch Datacenters’ facility in October 2018. Now that the data center is acquired by Equinix, maincubes AMS01 has become the preferred Amsterdam data center location for this European OCP Experience Center. Photo: ASA Foto & Film | FOTOGRAAF TESSA WITVOET

Switch Datacenters, EvoSwitch, TDCG

This Spring, one of the last independent colocation providers in Amsterdam, Switch Datacenter Group, was sold to Equinix. In an all-cash transaction, Equinix bought the company for €30 million ($34 million). This data center has now become the 11th Equinix IBX data center in the Netherlands (Equinix AM11) and the ninth Equinix IBX data center located in Amsterdam.

We also saw Amsterdam-based colocation company EvoSwitch being acquired by a data center conglomerate, in this case Iron Mountain. The company bought EvoSwitch in May 2018 for more than €205 ($235) million. The EvoSwitch data center acquisition included two locations in the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam supporting 34 MW in total.

Most recently, independent colocation data center owner/operator The Data Center Group (TDCG) – a Dutch company with a data center in Amsterdam as well as some other regions in the Netherlands, was acquired by private equity company DWS. This investment company has now merged TDCG’s data center activities with the NLDC data center business – which was acquired by DWS from KPN in 2018. So, after TDCG was sold to DWS and being merged with NLDC, the only independent colocation data center operator left in Amsterdam seems to be maincubes.

Why companies like Leaseweb are attracted by fully ‘independent’ colocation providers for their Amsterdam operations? Well, probably because independent colocation companies tend to be a bit more flexible than most of the data center conglomerates out there. Overhead costs and colocation pricing could also play a role, while mixed hosting/colocation or carrier/colocation businesses could imply potential conflicts of interest.

As a European data center operator, maincubes has an expanding number of colocation data centers available. The company has its current data centers located in Amsterdam (AMS01) as well as Frankfurt (FRA01).

Progress on Temporary Hold DCs Amsterdam

Arno Witvliet
Arno Witvliet, managing director of Leaseweb’s Netherlands operations, referred to maincubes as “one of the few independent European colocation data center operators still left in the Amsterdam area.”

By the way, since the announcement by the Amsterdam Metropolitan Government in July of this year to put a temporary hold on new data center developments, there has been an ongoing “positive and constructive dialogue” between Dutch trade association Dutch Data Center Association (DDA) and governmental parties on both a regional and national level. An action plan is expected to be finalized before the end of this year.

As DDA is addressing their talks with the Amsterdam Metropolitan Government as “positive and constructive” it seems like we may expect some positive outcomes for the data center industry. Governments and industry would already have agreed upon a durable collaboration to establish a strategy for sustainable growth of data centers in Amsterdam and beyond.

Meanwhile, several other regions in the Netherlands have stepped forward, welcoming data centers to establish their facilities in their regions. For example, Rotterdam and The Hague have presented a plan including suitable locations, emphasizing the potential of this area as a new data center hub.

“We are happy that we are on track in finding a solution for short term growth of the existing Amsterdam clusters,” said Stijn Grove, Managing Director of the Dutch Data Center Association. “Yet, in the long run we need new, additional data center clusters. Therefore, we are happy that many other regions in the Netherlands are interested to take this role. New data center clusters will also provide increased resilience.”

European OCP Experience Center

Obviously, Leaseweb is not the only organization preferring to collocate its data center infrastructure with an independent and pure-play colocation provider. Two months ago, Rittal and OCP Solution Provider Circle B migrated the first ‘Open Compute Project Experience Center in Europe’ to the maincubes AMS01 data center. This official European OCP Experience Center was initially being deployed in Switch Datacenters’ facility in October 2018. Now that the data center is acquired by Equinix, maincubes AMS01 has become the preferred Amsterdam data center location for this European OCP Experience Center.

Open Compute Project was founded by Facebook, Rackspace and Microsoft. The OCP principles form the basis on which many hyperscalers operate their data centers. By adopting OCP designs in their data centers, large enterprises and governments would also be able to benefit from the advantages as the hyperscalers: cost reductions, lower energy usage and added flexibility.

To learn more about the OCP Experience Center in Europe, take a look here.