London: The Key Hub for Data Centres in Europe

Written by Anthony Carter, MD, Connotations Publishing Ltd. Published 2019-02-26 09:55:17

Plenty of arguments have been made in support of Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Dublin as key hubs for European data centre activity. But as time has passed and investment has grown, London has emerged as the key hub in Europe. There is a reason VIRTUS chose London to build their most recent data centre campus. In fact, there are many reasons.

VIRTUS are committed to London as a data centre hub, Brexit notwithstanding. They believe London offers the perfect environment for further data centre expansion, both for them and any other enterprise looking to take advantage of London's capacity.

Why are they so bullish on London as Europe's key hub for data centres? As Shakespeare once said, let us count the ways.

London's Early Adoption

London has historically been known as a first mover when it comes to technology. That is certainly the case in the arena of colocation and data centre capacity. London has been a first mover and leader for years. More importantly, London's data centre industry has spent the better part of the last two decades evolving alongside the IT, financial services, and media industries. That evolution has kept London at the forefront of the very technology that powers data centres.

There is something to be said about being an early adopter. Because London's public and private sector partners were willing to adopt the data centre mentality 20 years ago, the city has managed to maintain its role as a leader rather than a follower.

Data Centre Connectivity

Few cities in the world offer the fibre connectivity found in London. The size and reach of London's fibre capacity is truly global, offering unparalleled access between Europe and most other continents around the world. Speed and bandwidth for commercial purposes is also superior in London.

Connectivity is usually the key factor in a decision by any company to build a new London datacentre. Indeed, the many available fibre routes make it easy to connect to existing routes rather than waiting for routes, for example, to come to them wherever it is they are currently located. It is the sort of thing that happens all the time around the London area.

Adequate Power Capacity

Hand-in-hand with connectivity is power capacity. London planners anticipated the need for data centre power a couple of decades ago and started to act on it from that time. There are, of course, always a few issues to iron out when building, or planning to build, a new data centre in the British capital as far as power requirements are concerned, but this is nothing compared to some major cities.

A Skilled Workforce

Companies in the data centre space rely on a skilled workforce for survival. London supplies that workforce in abundance. Thanks to a highly skilled domestic workforce and an ability to attract top talent from across Europe and other parts of the world, tech companies have access to all the employees they need without having to recruit outside of the city.

Global Investment in London

Finally, the UK has long been considered a desirable European location for new investments thanks to political stability, transparent regulation, a strong legal system, and adequate regulatory controls. When you combine all that with the infrastructure and capacity London offers, the capital becomes an obvious place to build data centres.

It turns out that VIRTUS are not the only ones with a strong belief in London. Major tech companies from all over the world are pouring money into the city in unprecedented amounts.

It is important to note in this regard that tech investment in London and throughout the UK has not, at this juncture, slowed due to Brexit fears. Nor should it. London will continue to be a world leader in data centres and IT technology regardless of the events of spring 2019. If major tech companies are not afraid to invest here, other data centre operators should not be either.

You can build a new data centre in Frankfurt or Amsterdam. You can look to Dublin or Paris. There are plenty of metropolitan areas in Europe capable of hosting your campus. But I believe the best bet is London. The UK’s capital has everything you need: infrastructure, stability, and an excellent environment for new investments.

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