Google to build giant '40-football pitch' datacentre in the Netherlands

Google will invest €600m to build a giant, 120-megawatt datacentre in the Netherlands

Google is planning to invest €600m (£472m) in a giant 120-megawatt datacentre in Eemshaven in Groningen province, a northern city in the Netherlands.

According to local Dutch reports, the new datacentre will be built on a land equivalent to “40 football pitches” and will host tens of thousands of servers. Google will begin the construction work for the facility in 2016 and get it ready for production by 2017.

The massive datacentre will also create hundreds of new jobs in the Netherlands, Dutch economic affairs minister Henk Kamp told local newspapers

Google has three large European datacentres in Ireland (Dublin), Belgium and Finland providing cloud services to enterprises in Europe. It also has a smaller 20-megawatt capacity datacentre in Eemshaven. 

The company may have picked Eemshaven for its transatlantic fiber-optic cable infrastructure which connects the US with the European continent. This high-capacity cable transmits large amounts of data quickly and has a direct connection with the GN-IX (Groningen Internet Exchange).  

The presence of fiber-optic networks, carriers and internet exchanges is vital to a datacentre. Eemshaven will also be the landing point for a high-capacity transatlantic cable that transmits large amounts of data quickly so it can allow datacentre providers to build in high levels of redundancy by linking up several exchanges.

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The Google datacentre could be powered by renewable energy, such as free-air cooling, because of the cool ambient air in the north Netherlands. Groningen also has a temperate climate much like Oregon which is more datacentre-cooling friendly.

Local reports claim the upcoming Google datacentre will put Netherlands on the map of IT hubs with other technology giants, such as Microsoft and Apple, also building datacentres in the region for its high-bandwidth network infrastructure, intercontinental connections, low property prices and temperate climate. Other IT companies such as IBM and Verizon also have datacentres in the region. 

Google’s additional datacentre infrastructure investment in Europe comes as it seeks to capture more of the enterprise cloud business. But European customers are more cautious about security, data sovereignty and privacy issues and prefer cloud services based in the EU, especially in the wake of the NSA surveillance revelations.

Other cloud providers. such as IBM and AWS. are also building hyperscale datacentres in Europe. At its annual Solutions Summit in Brussels, Michael Dell, founder of Dell, said: “Security is still a big concern for European enterprises." 

According to him, enterprises in Europe prefer "local" clouds for data sovereignty and privacy issues, so it is supporting local system integrators with local datacentres to build cloud for the customers.

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