“We Don’t Like to Take Any Risks When It Comes To Our Data Center Designs”

Albrecht Kraas
“We Don’t Like to Take Any Risks When It Comes To Our Data Center Designs”, Albrecht Kraas, CTO maincubes

maincubes, part of Germany-headquartered international construction conglomerate Zech Group, has opened two large European data centers in just over a year.

Their facilities in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA01) and Amsterdam Schiphol-Rijk, the Netherlands (AMS01) are entitled as ‘German-engineered’ by the company itself, but what does it mean exactly, being ‘German-engineered?

HostingJournalist.com took the opportunity to visit both facilities where we sat down with maincubes’ technical mastermind and co-founder, maincubes CTO Albrecht Kraas.

Mr. Kraas, can you explain to our readers what characteristics support this claim of being ‘German-engineered’?

“Well, as the CTO of maincubes I’m German, that’s a start. Above all, we don’t like to take any risks with regards to our data center development and the designs of our facilities. I think that can be seen as a German characteristic, or quality if you want. The data protection and privacy requirements in the European Union are the strictest in the world, and within Europe no other country stands for data protection more than Germany. As a European data center operator, we as well are attaching great value to security and the protection of our clients’ IT infrastructures.”

Can you provide us with some security infrastructure related details supporting this claim?

“In our data centers in Frankfurt as well as Amsterdam we have a specific multi-layered security design. Although quite different from each other in various security details, both data centers feature biometric access technologies. In Amsterdam we have deployed fingerprint technology, while in Frankfurt we’ve chosen palm vein scanning. As you can possibly imagine, in our greenfield development we were able to go the extra mile. Here we have also added bulletproof glass and walls for example as well as anti-tailgating technology on multiple levels.”

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'maincubes AMS01 Amsterdam
maincubes AMS01 in Amsterdam Schiphol-Rijk, the Netherlands

It’s quite impressive indeed, to see data centers being developed with bulletproof glass and walls and anti-tailgating technology on multiple levels, but in what way is it ‘German’?

“I think it’s the accumulation of engineering details that makes our data centers ‘German-engineered’ facilities. It’s not only in the security details of our data centers. We don’t take any risk with the power and cooling infrastructure either. In Frankfurt as well as Amsterdam we have added extra redundancy in cooling and power for example, just to be sure. We use 2N and N+1 setups, even though some would argue that it’s not that necessary. The good thing is, as a result, we are able to provide 100% uptime SLAs for our facilities, just because our data center designs are rock-solid.”

In Frankfurt you were able to go the extra mile, technically speaking, as it was a greenfield development. Where does that leave Amsterdam AMS01?

“In our AMS01 facility in Amsterdam Schiphol-Rijk we have invested more than 10 million euros to fully modernize it according to the data center standards of tomorrow, an amount that probably says it all. Yes, the cooling technologies being deployed in Frankfurt and Amsterdam are not the same, but the energy-efficiency results are both very good. Besides that, we don’t have one blueprint for our data center rollout across Europe. You may expect different, German-engineered designs at different locations.”

“In Frankfurt we were able to build a four story building that makes use of Kyoto Wheel technology for example, which is quite energy efficient. This results in a low and highly energy-efficient Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) value of less than 1.3 for this data center. In Amsterdam we had to select another cooling technology, because we had to deal with the existing building characteristics. Even though, maincubes Amsterdam AMS01 is able to achieve almost the same PUE value as maincubes FRA01 by the use of Free Cooling. We had an 80 percent test load in Amsterdam recently which showed us a PUE value of 1.37 which is also quite energy efficient.”

What kind of customers are attracted to ‘German engineered’ data centers?

“We had a customer from the UK who said: your data centers are a bit over-engineered, but I truly like it. Of course, our highly redundant data center designs are definitely catering to the needs of enterprises. That’s why in Frankfurt FRA01 two DAX-listed companies as well as another high-profile customer active within automotive and telecommunications have deployed their IT infrastructures. It’s also one of the reasons why in our recently opened Amsterdam facility we’ve developed two large ‘wholesale’ data center suites, with a capacity of 1.7MW and 1.3MW respectively, as our data center characteristics fit enterprise requirements.”

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maincubes FRA01 in Frankfurt, Germany

maincubes doesn’t take any risks when it comes to its datacenter architecture and the technologies being implemented, while enterprises like your amenities. What about competitiveness? What does this mean for your pricing strategy?

“We’re able to provide extremely competitive offerings due to a smart TCO-based and OPEX focused financial strategy. The fact that we don’t take any risks towards our data center designs may also sound a bit rigid, I can imagine, but our ‘German-engineered’ infrastructural investments are not in the way of customer behavior and choice. Our colocation customers in Amsterdam and Frankfurt can practically choose whichever brand or setup they would like to have, including racks, aisle containment, power distribution, cabling management, and much more. German-engineered in our case means highly secure, highly redundant and highly flexible at the same time.”

As a European data center owner/operator, maincubes now has a facility available in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. What’s next? London? Paris?

“We’re not focused on the main Internet hubs in Europe only, we also see a need for ‘edge’ data centers and data center presence outside the main Internet hubs. Our view is quite broad actually when it comes to adding new data center locations in the near future.”

“We might even decide that our next step will be expanding our existing data center locations in the Netherlands and Germany. We believe that Amsterdam and Frankfurt will be absolute driving forces for the use of data center services in the next ten years. Since our data centers are located in the immediate vicinity of the largest Internet Exchanges in the world, the AMS-IX and DE-CIX respectively, we believe we are well positioned to maybe further expand our German-engineered offerings in these markets.”

About Albrecht Kraas and maincubes

Albrecht Kraas is the CTO and co-founder of maincubes. A graduated computer scientist and data center industry veteran, Mr. Kraas’ experience in the Internet industry goes back to 1992. Previously he was European CTO at euNetworks, where he was also responsible for the management of their data centers in Europe. At maincubes, Albrecht Kraas leads the planning, construction and operation from a strategic and operational point of view.

Part of German construction conglomerate Zech Group, maincubes has planned a roll-out of large-scale data centers across Europe. Its current locations include Frankfurt, Germany and Amsterdam Schiphol-Rijk, the Netherlands. maincubes Frankfurt (FRA01) is filling up quickly, after maincubes signed up two DAX-listed companies. Their newly opened Amsterdam facility (AMS01) still has some free space left including two private data center suites: a 11,840 sq. ft. (1,100 sq. meter) facility with 1.7MW power capacity, as well as a 9,687 sq. ft. (900 sq. meter) facility with a capacity of 1.3MW.

To learn more about maincubes, visit their website here.