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The nation’s most reliable and most sustainable data centre is located at High Tech Campus Eindhoven

Oct 12, 2020 1:25:23 PM. By: High Tech Campus

This is the only Tier-4 certified data centre in The Netherlands, built on the cradle-to-cradle principle and operating on 100% green energy. But that’s no reason for CEO Alexandra Schless to rest on her laurels, as the NorthC data centre at High Tech Campus Eindhoven is fully prepared to face the fast changing future.

Data centres are the backbone of the internet, storing and cooling the servers and connecting routers and switches that allow their clients to operate smoothly in cyberspace. The NorthC data centre at High Tech Campus Eindhoven is no different in that respect, as fast internet service and connectivity for their customers remains their top priority.

For companies on or close to the High Tech Campus, a regional data centre comes with many advantages. “The nearby presence of a data centre is beneficial for companies for three reasons,” CEO Alexandra Schless explains. “Firstly, if you need to physically access your servers for maintenance or upgrades, for instance, it’s more convenient if the data centre is close by on the same Campus instead of you having to drive for an hour. Secondly, a close physical presence ensures that the network connection has a lower latency, which can be very important for specific business applications. And thirdly, for companies using multiple carrier or cloud providers , it becomes very easy to connect and do business with them, as most of these carriers are all hosted inside the same regional data centre.”

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Negative CO2 output
On the other hand, there are quite a few things different about the Eindhoven data centre. It’s already been named the most sustainable data centre in The Netherlands, having been built on the cradle-to-cradle principle where all building materials can be reused and waste is minimised. It uses only green energy from sustainable sources. And it exchanges the heat it generates with other businesses and buildings on the Campus, providing heating and thus reducing their energy usage. These measures have resulted in a negative CO2 output for the data centre.

Apart from its sustainable achievements, NorthC’s Eindhoven data centre also boasts the best reliability and security measures in The Netherlands. It’s the only data centre in the country with an official Tier-4 certification to its name, the highest reliability certificate there is. “Tier-3 is already very reliable,” Alexandra Schless explains, “meaning a data centre will always be up and running, even when the power fails for whatever reason. With Tier-4, you’ve also ensured that the backup systems are redundant. There is a backup for the backup, so to speak.”

5G and the Internet-of-Things
NorthC is the largest provider of regional data centre services in The Netherlands, currently operating ten data centres all over the country. According to Schless, developments in 5G and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) are good news for regional data centres. “5G and the IoT are boosting data gravity, the need to analyse and process data close to the end user. To ensure that the data generated from all these different locations, whether a self-driving car, a home or a construction site, will help the end user, it will have to be analysed and processed very rapidly. To do that safely and responsibly you need a data centre that’s located close to the end user. When data centres came into existence in the 1990s, they were clustered in big cities like Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London. Nowadays, because of technological innovations such as 5G, the IoT and AI, the need for regional data centres is increasing.”

NorthC is actively investigating the possibilities of these new data trends. Schless: “We recently spoke with companies and the Dutch government to map out the data needs for self-driving cars. You need a lot of parties to make that happen, like car manufacturers, software programmers and analysts and data storage, but the data centre is the place where all these parties come together. We’re ready to provide the services they need.”

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Corona virus
As a provider of vital infrastructure, NorthC has keenly felt the effects of the Corona virus. “A data centre has to remain up and running 24/7,” Schless says. “Like everybody else we had to ensure that not too many people were present in the building at the same time, which we did by splitting up our workers into two teams. At the same time, many of our clients are service companies that host communication and collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Teams or Skype. When everybody started working from home, these companies had to significantly scale up their capacity, which meant installing more servers in our data centres and adding bandwidth. So we had less people working in the data centre, but more clients with increased capacity needs. Everything worked out in the end, but the pressure has been quite high the past few months.”

Consultancy
Next to its core business, NorthC is also adding new services, such as consultancy services for companies that are scaling up for digital transformation and a multi-cloud environment. Schless: “We’re forming partnerships with IT companies so we help clients with advice and solutions about how to navigate such a transformation.”

Another project is an initiative to connect all their regional data centres. If a company from Eindhoven want to do business with a company in Almere or Rotterdam, it can connect to a NorthC data centre in that other region via the company’s own high-speed data connection: the Region Connect Ring. “This means that essential data connectivity becomes much faster and you get access to all the cloud, carrier and other providers in our data centres, even if they are located in another region. It is as if all data centres are integrated into one large, virtual data centre. Another key advantage is that clients can easily scale up or down in bandwidth as needed. We take care of everything, so we become a one-stop shop for data connectivity.”

Interested in the NorthC data centre services? Head to building HTC 53, or visit their website

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