This month, maincubes has announced its plans for the development of a new large-scale colocation data center in Frankfurt, maincubes FRA02. Like maincubes’ AMS01 and FRA01 facilities in Amsterdam and Frankfurt respectively, this new 8,500 sq. meter facility will provide a ‘climate-friendly’ home for ICT infrastructures. sat down with Joris te Lintelo, Vice President of maincubes, to hear what it takes to build and operate these energy-efficient data centers.

Joris te Lintelo

“Saving energy is important for us as a data center owner/operator,” says Joris Te Lintelo. “Our new-to-develop data center in Frankfurt will therefore feature an energy-efficient Power Usage Effectiveness figure of well below 1.3. There are other aspects though that play an important role as well. Such as redundancy and security and reliability and also the cost. As a data center operator, you have to address all of these factors and find the right balance.”

We know that energy prices form a significant part of the cost of data center operations nowadays. Are there any other reasons why maincubes is putting lots of effort in developing sustainable data centers?

“Cost consideration indeed is an important driver for our investments in energy-efficient data center technologies and setups. Data centers are usually large-scale consumers of electricity and we like to keep our energy bills as low as possible. CSR considerations also play a role though for our energy-efficient and carbon-neutral setups of the maincubes data centers in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Next to that, enterprise and government clients often have energy efficiency and ‘green’ being mentioned on their RFP lists of requirements.”

Where’s is the limit when it comes to investments in energy-efficient technologies and developing colocation data centers in a climate-friendly manner?

“Our investments in innovative data center solutions including energy-efficient technologies, power and cooling redundancy, as well as the facility’s security measures must be fully in balance with each other. It must be highly energy-efficient, but above all it must be reliable. It must be enterprise-grade, but at an affordable price. So, the overall picture of the data center design for maincubes must be really perfect but never at the expense of the customer’s wallet. That’s the limit for us.”

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What kind of organizations usually choose to outsource their IT environment to a colocation facility such as the maincubes data centers in Frankfurt and Amsterdam?

“The type of customers is quite broad. In maincubes FRA01 in Frankfurt, we recently registered a number of DAX-listed companies in the automotive and telecom sectors as our customers including Daimler. And also, for example, content delivery management provider CDN77. For our Amsterdam AMS01 data center we recently had some customer wins including hosting provider Leaseweb, one of the world’s largest IaaS and cloud hosting providers. In addition, the American Open Compute Project has now installed its European OCP Experience Center in our Amsterdam data center. Governments as well as CSPs, MSPs, systems integrators and enterprises choose to collocate their IT infrastructures in our data centers.”

Security of IT infrastructures and the protection of data can be crucial for the business continuity of organizations. What does it take to set up a data center in a secure manner?

“A multi-layered security approach is important for a secure data center environment, where each security shell has its own specific set up. In addition, the security procedures must be correct and visibly confirmed to customers by means of relevant security certifications. ISO 27001 is particularly important in this respect. This is the ultimate confirmation for users that the information security in our data centers is taken care of. PCI-DSS can also play a role, especially when it comes to confirming the security of credit card payments within the walls of our data centers.”

Do you have a blueprint for the security infrastructures of maincubes’ existing and new-to-build data centers in Frankfurt and Amsterdam?

“Every new data center we build will probably have its own unique security measures. The same accounts for its overall design including the cooling and power infrastructure for example. In terms of physical security, we went quite far with the FRA01 greenfield data center development in Frankfurt. Here, we chose to implement bulletproof glass and bulletproof external walls, as well as tailgating systems at data center and room level. It’s great, but it is not necessary or desirable to have for every new maincubes data center in every market. Our AMS01 data center in Amsterdam also has enterprise-level security in place, but by other means including fencing, camera security, biometric access, tailgating systems at data center level, cameras and 24/7 on-site security.”

Not every datacenter operator is successful. What does it take to operate a successful colocation data center concept?

“You can build the most beautiful data center facility in the best location and use the most beautiful technologies, but it still is no guarantee for a filled colocation data center. The overall picture has to be right, both in terms of technology and procedures and price. In addition, potential customers often need to be confirmed in their choice by others first. So-called ‘anchor tenants’ are therefore important for a successful data center concept. In our recently opened data center in Amsterdam, for example, it helps that we have signed up Leaseweb as a customer, one of the world’s largest hosting and cloud providers. As a result, other organizations will also be thinking: ‘Okay, when Leaseweb cooses to collocate with maincubes, then maincubes will probably be quite good at what they do.’ That’s the way it works.”

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maincubes DC Amsterdam

maincubes is offering 100% data center uptime guarantees. Is it really a guarantee for the full 100%?

“A 100% uptime guarantee will be difficult to achieve for a regular data center setup. Because of our German background and our profound German approach, we have opted for ultimate redundant infrastructures though. In Amsterdam AMS01 this has resulted in an extremely redundant design with an N+1+1 generator setup. This offers us the possibility to offer true 100% uptime guarantees for our data centers.”

maincubes is a European colocation provider with data centers in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. The new FRA02 data center will also be built in Frankfurt. How important is the location for your data centers?

“Together with London and Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are among the most important Internet hubs in the world. These Internet hub locations are important to our current data centers and its colocation clients. As a data center provider, we do not rule out the possibility though of setting up data centers at other locations. In the long term – partly under the influence of developments such as edge computing and IoT – we may also develop data centers in completely different areas.”

Finally, how important is the connectivity for a data center’s success?

maincubes logo“The available carriers and other connectivity providers present in a data center are very important when choosing a colocation environment. The possibilities to make interconnections are also critical for many clients. maincubes, for example, is developing a ‘securexchange‘, a marketplace where organizations can easily exchange connectivity and services. With regard to network latency, our experts recently produced a white paper on this topic. It turns out that the latency element in the connectivity challenge has many variables. Asking for latency values when choosing a data center turns out to be insufficient. Interconnections with other data centers, for example, are they encrypted? And what is the distance to other data centers for an IT infrastructure? The latency values are influenced by these and other variables.”

The white paper mentioned by Joris the Lintelo can be downloaded here from the maincubes website: