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October 19, 2015

IO MD Nigel Stevens: Cloud education & the rise of the Nordic data centre

C-level briefing: Nigel Stevens, UK MD at IO Data Centres, talks risks of 100% cloud adoption, Nordic threat and company expansion.

By Vinod

Moving businesses into the cloud is a real and present danger, and the market ought to be educated on cloud technology as a whole.

Stevens said: "The way that businesses need to handle [situations like AWS’ outage which has recently brought down Netflix’s services to some customers] is to figure out what level of quality is required for the application that they are operating."

Taking bank accounts as an example, he said that the money in there is a data record, and ultimately if the bank loses that data record they lose their money.

"For that application, they probably are not going to trust it to an AWS cloud. They are going to want to know where the infrastructure is, the security, how it is connected to the rest of the world, and so on.

"It is a question of picking where you need to be. One of the frustrations of cloud is: people think of cloud as the internet applications on their phone, but in fact, cloud can be virtual private."

Stevens also said that where people lose the differentiation of cloud is between virtualisation and flexibility. To address this issue, he said cloud education is needed and that that is one of the things IO is trying to do.

Impact of €3bn Nordic data centres
As businesses gradually build up their cloud deployments, a recent study has revealed that the Nordic region is set to benefit from significant data centre investment over the next three years: an estimated €3.3 billion with more than 49% derived from overseas internet players.

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According to BroadGroup, the market in third party data centres will increase by almost two and a half times in sq mt space and triple MW power requirements from current levels by the end of 2017.

Stevens said that there would ‘almost certainly’ be some impact to the UK data centre space, with businesses and data centres moving up to the Nordic Regio]."

Building on this, he reassured that the industry will keep thriving in the UK as location is a key pillar in the data centre space.

"I predicted that it does not matter where the data centre is and I was absolutely wrong. People are very fussy about where their data centres are.

"Proximity to [company] headquarters is actually quite important and even though they can manage most things remotely they still come here a lot."

He acknowledged that there will be data centres in the Nordics that benefit from free cooling, but questioned if these "really have the fibre networks to them (…) and that becomes a bit of a challenge for them".

UK expansion
While the Nordics will be a target for heavy investment, Stevens confirmed that the company will also invest in more UK spaces but it is more likely going to target mainland European geographies first.

He said: "I think you might also see us look into the continent as well, where in Europe I do not know yet. Probably more likely we will invest sooner in [mainland] Europe than in the UK, it depends how it goes [in the company’s Slough data centre]."

Stevens also put down any doubts about the company filling for an IPO. "We have considered that, [but] at the moment we are not going to."

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