France-based data center provider Data4 has expanded in its 110-hectare campus near Paris, with a record-breaking 6MW sold in three months. The company plans to build another three data centers, costing €100m (currently $110m)  on the site before the end of 2017. 

The space has mostly been taking by French tech firms and Fortune 100 players, wanting hybrid cloud, with a mixture of service providers and end users taking the capacity, Data4’s chief commercial officer Adam Levine told DatacenterDynamics. The news marks a return to growth for the Paris colocation market, which only added 2MW during the whole of 2015, he said. 

d4 campus aerial
Data4 campus  – Data4

Paris boosted

“The Paris market has been a bit flat,” said Levine. With only around 127MW in total, it’s about one third the size of London, but has a lot of potential. The 6MW predates the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, but the possibility of Brexit could be a boost for the site, he said.    

The Data4 campus opened in 2007 on the site of a former Alcatel Lucent research facility. This campus is situated in Paris-Saclay tech cluster (Paris-Saclay claims to house 15 percent of France’s tech industry). Data4’s campus has potential for 45,000 sq m of IT space, with a total IT potential power capacity of 105 MW.

Data4 currently has 13,000 sq m in operation and has launched three new data center build outs, each with 2,000 sq m of IT space, to be delivered over the next 18 months, which will take the total to 19,000 sq m. The first building is due to go live before the end of 2016.

At present, Paris does not have an “identity”, Levine told DCD. Dublin is always going to be attractive with its low tax rate and good fiber links, he said, and London has the finance sector, with Frankfurt strong in financial services. Amsterdam has good connectivity and the Nordic countries have climate and renewable power on their side.

adam data4
Adam Levine, Data4 – Data4

By contrast, people are becoming aware of the benefits of Paris, Levine said: “Enterprises and cloud providers are moving there,” he said, now we are over a lull which was caused by enterprises reluctant to adopt the cloud.

Customers like Paris for fast access to French customers and partners, and a central location for the rest of Europe, along with reliable low-carbon power, he said: “France’s power is 75 percent nuclear, with a good price point. Data centers are an electro-intensive industry; we get tax breaks and can negotiate aggressive power pricing. We have most aggresive price of all Europe’s Tier 1 data center countries.”

Data4 has another string to its bow, with its backing for distributed heating company Qarnot. which offers compute-intensive calculations distributed to commercial and domestic premises. “Qarnot will be a big differentiator for us,” said Levine, pointing out that the Qarnot resource can provide burst capacity for jobs like content creation for movies.

“It’s enabled us to win new business, because we can actually downsell.” Instead of telling customers that ask for 500kW that they should take more, in case of sudden surges in demand, Data4 can do the reverse, says Levine: “If you think you need 500kW, why not take 350kW and burst to Qarnot, if you need to?”

A pan-European player, Data4 has facilities in France Italy and Luxembourg with a total of 32MW and 22,800 sq m of IT rooms, and a potential of 173 MW and 115 000 sqm of IT rooms.