The Strategy Behind Vantage’s European Expansion – a Q&A with Sureel Choksi
Earlier this week, we launched a $2 billion European expansion that was spearheaded by the strategic acquisition of EMEA data center provider, Etix Everywhere (“Etix”).
The acquisition of Etix added a new facility to our portfolio – a 55MW hyperscale data center campus (pictured above) under development just outside of Frankfurt, Germany. But we didn’t stop there. We also announced the acquisition of four additional greenfield developments in tier one and tier two markets across Europe where we will build hyperscale data centers to meet customer demand.
All told, this multifaceted move to Europe practically doubles our data center portfolio and establishes a large footprint for us on another continent.
To learn more about the strategic move to Europe, what drove the Etix acquisition and how this expansion will benefit our customers, we sat down with Sureel Choksi, our president and CEO.
Interview with Sureel Choksi
Data Centers Today (DCT): Why is now the right time for Vantage Data Centers to expand into Europe? Why is Europe an attractive location for our next data centers?
Sureel Choksi: As the hyperscale industry continues to grow, there is a greater need for large-scale data centers in strategic locations around the globe. And one of the locations that our customers, industry leaders and analysts have identified as key for hyperscale companies is Europe.
Also, the European market frequently reflects trends that we’ve seen in North America, but often a few years later. In North America, 2017 and 2018 were record years for data center growth, and many are predicting that trend to be reflected in Europe in 2020 and beyond.
DCT: Why are these hyperscale companies looking for data center space in Europe? Why fill that need through colocation?
Sureel Choksi: There are several reasons why these hyperscale companies are looking for data center space in Europe.
GDPR and data sovereignty regulations are making it essential that data from EU countries and about EU residents stays in the EU. Also, the need for hyperscale services in these countries is exploding. Many of the services that these companies provide – including cloud services – benefit from having proximity to their customer base and low latency. This makes local data centers within key EU markets preferable.
Colocation is an attractive option in Europe for many of the same reasons it’s attractive in North America. Colocation means that hyperscale companies don’t have to be real estate companies and developers.
Partnering with a data center provider effectively outsources the site selection, construction and ongoing operations of the data center. It also gives customers more flexibility, increased scalability and helps them grow quickly and with less capital cost. Colocation also ensures that customers have digital infrastructure in the exact locations when and where they need it.
DCT: Why was the Etix acquisition an important component to Vantage’s European strategy? Why not just buy land and build data centers? Why go through an acquisition?
Sureel Choksi: Key to the decision to acquire Etix was the company’s strategically located hyperscale data center campus in Offenbach, Germany, just outside of Frankfurt, as well as Etix’s pipeline of other hyperscale projects.
Frankfurt is considered one of fastest-growing data center markets in Europe. The Etix acquisition accelerates our expansion to Frankfurt and strengthens existing relationships with hyperscale, cloud and enterprise customers looking to move into that geographic region.
The acquisition adds a 55MW hyperscale campus to our portfolio that is already under development, with the first 15MW building scheduled to be operational in late 2020.
Also, acquiring Etix gives us a world-class team of experts in Europe, including Antoine Boniface, the co-founder and CEO of Etix, who joins us as the president of Vantage Data Centers, Europe.
DCT: What are the four other markets that Vantage selected for its European expansion? Why were these markets chosen?
Sureel Choksi: In addition to the Frankfurt data center campus that is under development in a Tier 1 market, we will develop greenfield sites in four Tier 2, or emerging European markets, that we view as having attractive growth characteristics: Berlin, Milan, Warsaw and Zurich. Development of these four campuses will begin shortly, with the goal of having capacity available across these markets in mid-to-late 2021.
We chose these four markets because demand from our customer base is increasing worldwide, and we need to aggressively expand to meet that demand. These markets are where our customers are telling us they need data center capacity, and we listened. This is Vantage’s largest expansion in our history.
DCT: How will Vantage compete in the European market? What should customers expect from you in Europe?
Sureel Choksi: As the industry continues to grow, there is a greater need for large-scale data centers in strategic locations globally. We see the industry changing, with customers increasingly needing higher-density, scalable capabilities. These customers value location, total cost of ownership and sustainability, and having a wide portfolio of data center campuses across Europe gives us a strong advantage to meeting their needs.
Our customers appreciate the differentiated customer experience, operational excellence, transparency and responsiveness that they receive from us. As they grow, they’re looking for a trusted partner that can deliver those things regardless of continent, country, city or state.
For additional information about Vantage Data Centers and its European expansion, click HERE.