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Poznan is gaining in importance on the European business and technology map. The investment in the extension of the Data Center campus announced by Beyond.pl provides an opportunity for the City to become one of the top emerging data processing centres in Europe. And to attract even more companies from the new technology sector.

Poznan to play in a higher league

Four kilometres away from the A2 motor­ way connecting Berlin and Warsaw a giant data centre campus is under construction. It is to become one of Europe’s largest facilities of the kind in terms of space and capacity offered – 45,000 sq. m and 42MW (megawatts), respectively. This new investment will promote Poznan to the league of major Central European data centre locations.

It is no longer news that the mature FLAP-D market, comprised of Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin, is more and more saturated with regards to access to property and energy for the development of data centers. In consequence, service prices in these markets are increasing . As a result, the significance of so-called secondary data center markets is rising. One of the recently published reports on data centre markets forecasts that Reykjavik, Oslo, Zurich and Warsaw will become important data centre locations. In my opinion, however, due to the dynamic growth in demand for data processing, the need for such secondary centres is even greater. And therefore Poznan, likewise, is an example of an emerging location for data centres which is ideally positioned to provide services to customers in Central Europe, including Germany – says Beyond.pl’s CEO Wojciech Stramski.

15 years ago, the company decided to locate its first data centre in Poznan, the capital of the Wielkopolska Region. A few years ago, it built another facility that at present is the only data centre in the European Union with the highest Rated 4 Certificate issued by the interna­tional organisation ANSI/TIA­942 auditing data processing facilities. The highest level of security in several fields is one of the attributes that has made Beyond.pl’s facilities a viable alternative to those located in Warsaw. In August this year, the company decided to go one step further – to extend its campus to meet the growing demand of customers and allow it to compete not only with Polish, but also with Western data centres.

According to Wojciech Stramski, foreign companies looking for a basic or backup data centre will see the proximity of Poznan to the western market as a very attractive offering. The city’s loca­tion in the heart of Europe also translates into technological advantages. – Latency from Poznan to Warsaw and from Poznan to Berlin is only 4 milliseconds, to Frankfurt – 11 milliseconds. Based on these arguments, Beyond.pl decided to locate its next investment project in Poznan – he indicates.

Beyond.pl with the new capacity

The scale of Beyond.pl’s investment is best reflected by the total capacity of the campus that will increase by as much as 34MW. In proportion, it will grow more than the campus space because the data centre infrastructure is being prepared to provide capacity for high­density colocation needs. Future customers may count on up to 20kW capacity per server rack, with very high energy efficiency. This is very rele­vant, because, combined with the target capacity of 42MW, it will allow Beyond.pl to meet infrastructure needs of the most demanding customers, both from Poland and abroad.

Demand for state-of-the-art server space is growing dynamically. On the one hand, it is required by more and more Polish companies that have accelerated or are launching digitisation projects due to the pandemic. On the other hand, we have cloud service providers entering Central European markets, companies offering SaaS solutions, and large corporations searching for providers outside Western Europe. Beyond.pl already acts as a basic and backup data centre for some global brands. Ensuring similar, and often even higher, service levels in terms of physical and infrastructure security and continuity of service as facilities operating in mature markets, we are an attractive partner for these actors. Furthermore, our offer is significantly more competitive thanks to lower energy and labour costs compared to Western markets – Beyond.pl CEO Wojciech Stramski points out.

And he provides an example to support his opinion. A few years ago, Beyond.pl was contacted by representatives of a global financial company. Until then this company had used server colocation services in a few locations dispersed across Western and Central Europe. The business goal of their new project was to centralise dispersed EU infrastructure resources into one external data centre.

Car bomb and rat poison

Due to the sensitive data processing requirements and the stringent need to ensure continuity of service, Beyond.pl’s campus was subject to various analyses. The financial player attached great impor­tance to security. Before the coopera­tion commenced, the facility’s capacity and level of physical and infrastructure security was verified in great detail over a 2 month period.

A few reference visits had been organ­ised for representatives of the customer responsible for physical security and data centre management at the Global corporate headquarters. Issues related to facility security and emergency response were checked with the utmost diligence. These included the a simulated car bomb explosion or frequency of rodent poison replacement! Other important aspects taken into account by the the customer included among others energy secu­rity, redundant power supply, and high energy efficiency. And, finally, the financial giant chose Poznan and Beyond.pl’s Data Center campus.

The power of argument

This financial corporation is just one of many companies that have chosen Poznan as a place to do business. Micro­ soft, Lumen Technologies, Capgemini – Poznan has attracted companies for years, in particular from the new technology industry. International corporations as well as Polish enterprises decide to develop their businesses in Poznan. According to Statistics Poland’s (GUS) data, there are almost 13,000 ICT companies operating in the Wielkopolska Region. Of which over 9,000 in the Poznan Agglomeration. Interestingly, the number of IT service providers is growing rapidly. Within a year it has increased by over 1,000. Startups are another fast­growing segment. It is esti­mated that about 200 young technology companies operate in Poznan. Some names worth mentioning are Jakdojadę, Qpony, Legimi or Dice, have achieved international success.

Poznan is a very good location for running an IT business, as identified by last year’s report prepared by ManpowerGroup’s Experis experts. As many as 84% surveyed companies admitted that Poznan was good for running an IT company, and 80% positively assessed high skills and effectiveness of IT employees. This certainly speaks volumes about the competencies of Poznan specialists, and was additionally confirmed by the Outsourcing Star award in the City category, granted by the Pro Progressio foundation – Katja Lożina, Head of the Investor Relations Department at Poznan City Hall, explains.
Furthermore, the Investor Relations Department’s initiatives support and integrate the IT community in Poznan. We cooperate with local universities on a daily basis and coorganise many industry events. In 2019, we supported several events, and this year we are present at online conferences, too. Since last year, we have also organised, together with a group of Poznan employers, the pozitive technologies conference for IT specialists – adds K. Lożina.

The technological potential of Poznan has been recognised by Western analysts as well. In CBRE’s EMEA Tech Cities ranking that analyses the biggest technology clusters across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Poznan counts among the most technologically advanced cities in the region and has been indicated as a growing centre – Growth Cluster. According to research, the city has noted a 64% increase in employment in this sector over the last 10 years. What has made Poznan one of the most important new technology development centres in just a few years?

The city’s investment potential is multi- dimensional. Poznan is an important academic centre with a network of public and private higher education institutions, educating 110,000 students annually. In terms of the number of students, Poznan ranks 4th in Poland, and Poznan University of Technology is one of the best Polish technical universities, ensuring continuous access to highly skilled IT personnel. For us, this aspect is very important, as competencies are what contributes to Poland’s lead as a digital valley in Central Europe – Beyond.pl CEO Wojciech Stramski emphasises.

Green energy to attract investors?

Beyond.pl’s ongoing investment project means not only new jobs for IT specia­ lists, but also an opportunity to attract new investors to the City. Among them – technology companies looking for colo­cation space in Europe. Does it mean that Poznan will host servers and data of giants such as Microsoft, Amazon or Google? It is not impossible, because Beyond.pl’s investment is designed to meet hyper­ scalers’ expectations. For Western companies, another argument in favour of choosing the Poznan campus, apart from its geographical location, may also be the fact that Beyond.pl is powered by fully by renewable energy.

Taking measures to limit the negative environmental impact of data centres is necessary. What is important and what pleases me personally, is that more and more customers make the reduction of CO2 emissions part of their corporate values and are more willing to choose partners operating in accordance with the principles of sustain- able development – Wojciech Stramski points out.

Indeed, the giants tend to use server colo­ cation services provided by data centres that meet requirements regarding low CO2 emissions. This is best illustrated by initiatives undertaken by cloud service providers. Google had pledged to use only carbon­free energy by 2030. And Micro­soft is testing hydrogen technology as a power source for its data centre and for two years has successfully imple­mented its Project Natick. Placing data centres underwater in steel cylinders has resulted in 8 times less server breakdown than on dry land. The experiment conclu­sions may form the basis for the sustain­ able development of data centres.

Beyond.pl follows this path as well. Its Data Center 2 is already one of the most energy efficient facilities in Poland. Using its full capacity it reaches a PUE (power usage effectiveness) level of 1.2 while in the Polish market this metric is at present between 1.4 and 1.6 on average.

The mere use of thermal energy from a server room to heat our office and technical building or adiabatic cooling of the data centre bring tangible benefits, while these form only part of solutions we apply at the moment – explains Michał Grzybkowski, Founder and Executive VP Technology at Beyond.pl.

In practice, technological solutions imple­mented at Beyond.pl’s campus enable its customers to reduce their carbon foot­ print and achieve significant energy savings, which translates to a great extent into reduced IT infrastructure mainte­nance budgets.

Rising star

The expansion of of Beyond.pl’s campus is the third largest investment announced in the Polish data centre market, after Google’s and Microsoft’s projects with a total value of USD 3 billion. Not just customers, but also Poznan will benefit from it. – The extension of our DC campus to 42MW will allow the city to gain a stable position on the map of European emerging markets and rank among TOP3 local centres – summarises Wojciech Stramski.

 

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