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February 27, 2020updated 12 Jul 2022 12:27pm

Frankfurt is Europe’s New Data Centre Capital (with Little Sign of Hyperscale Self-Builds)

Hyperscalers are gunning for the German cloud market...

By CBR Staff Writer

Frankfurt is Europe’s new data centre king: topping rankings for co-location facility take-up for the first time, as measured by megawatt (MW) capacity.

The four largest co-location markets of Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris (“FLAP”) meanwhile hit a combined 201MW in take-up for 2019 – a new European record, driven by relentless demand from cloud providers.

(The world’s major co-location data centre facility providers lease server racks to various customers in expensively fitted-out, highly secure and highly connected buildings with built-in energy resilience, cooling capabilities, etc.)

Frankfurt Data Centre Surge: Cloud Providers Accounted for 80% of Take-Up in 2019

The Frankfurt data centre figures were revealed in the Q4 European Data Centres Report from CBRE, a data centre real estate advisor, which said that hyperscale cloud providers like Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s GCP accounted for a stunning 80 percent of take-up.

In Q4 alone, FLAP take-up was 65MW, the second highest quarterly figure on record. (Frankfurt and London were responsible for 82 percent of this figure, with CBRE noting that the hyperscalers “continued to be active in both markets simultaneously”).

(London has dominated in every year bar 2014 and 2016 over the past two decades).

Mitul Patel, head of EMEA research at CBRE, told Computer Business Review: “All three cloud hyperscalers were, unusually, all very active in the same city at the same time in 2019.

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“That’s largely most because German cloud customers like their data to be in Germany: if you want to serve them properly you need that local capacity.”

He added: “As the hyperscale companies roll out their services more widely… the rate of hyperscale procurement of data centre capacity in other European cities will increase rapidly. As a result, markets such as Madrid, Milan, Warsaw and Zurich, will witness a substantial increase in colocation activity.”

Hyperscale Self-Builds? Not Yet Much of a Thing…

One of the risks to colocation take-up is if the hyperscalers decide to self-build more, as some of them do in Dublin and the Nordics.

“However, to-date none of these companies have started to do so in the FLAP markets”, CBRE noted. “Given a two-year development cycle, this further strengthens the argument for strong colocation activity in the coming years.”

Patel said: “It’s difficult to get the location for the size and scale of data centre they need in central London or Frankfurt; in Dublin or the Nordics there are existing campuses that they can build out…”

Among the companies to have done well out of the surge are Virtus, which have picked up a flurry of hyperscale contracts, Ark, NTT, Equinix, CyrusOne and Digital Realty.

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