Datacentre capacity demand remains strong, fuelling continued growth of secondary colo hubs in EMEA

by Joseph K. Clark

Demand for data centre capacity across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) remained strong during the first quarter of 2021, fuelling up-and-coming colocation hubs’ continued growth.

That’s according to global property consultancy Knight Frank’s first-quarter datacentre market tracker data, which was compiled with support from analyst house DC Byte.

The accompanying report states that the EMEA market has seen a 4% uptick in take-up of datacentre capacity during quarter one to 120MW, with a 10% increase in new supply overall, totaling 180MW.

“In EMEA, the core markets of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Dublin [FLAPD] continued their momentum, yet the trend is towards expansion outside of these markets,” said the companies in a statement.

Despite mounting concerns about the possible introduction of restrictions on data center developments in Dublin, the report flagged the city as seeing the most notable growth during quarter one.

A total of 108MW of data centre capacity was added in Dublin, with London seeing the second-highest amount of development with 40MW, followed by Zurich with 33MW.


“Dublin continues to be a leading target for hyperscale cloud providers and other segments, with a 17% share of the aggregate supply across EMEA,” the report stated.

And there is no sign of any slowdown in demand for data center capacity in the region, with Knight Frank confirming that both Amazon and Microsoft have secured the green light to build two new facilities in Ireland.

The report also points to the continued development of secondary data centre hubs as hyperscalers look to expand their presence outside the FLAPD markets as demand for cloud and internet services continues to soar across EMEA, including places such as Istanbul and Warsaw.

“On the hyperscale horizon, 2021 will see facilities in seven markets come online – Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and Finland, adding capacity to the core markets of Amsterdam and Dublin. This is a record for a single year,” the report continued.

About this trend, Stephen Beard, partner, and co-head of the global datacentres division at Knight Frank, said several factors are driving these secondary hubs’ development.

“The increase in data center facilities is becoming more widely distributed, as providers expand into new territories to add political and geographic diversity as well as meeting new data protection legislation requirements,” he said.

“Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Zurich, and Warsaw have been recent targets for cloud availability zones. Meanwhile, there is industry consolidation also to consider.”

The reports also predict that Nairobi will become a “significant hyperscale region” in the years to come due to changes in the region’s data protection regulatory landscape, creating more favorable market conditions for developing wholesale colocation facilities.

“New data regulations for enterprise electronic records has amplified demand in the past three years, and the city is poised to be a significant hyperscale region,” the report stated.

“Current capacity is small at 8MW of live power and 5MW under construction, but Nairobi will soon see a shift wholesale (and likely) hyperscale as [colocation provider] IX Africa adds 12MW of power in three phases.”

Looking ahead, DC Byte founder and CEO Ed Galvin said his firm’s data suggests there is little sign of a slowdown in demand for data center capacity across EMEA on the horizon.

“Our data suggest that the accelerating take-up rates will only continue to rise, quickly absorbing the 2020 supply. This will prompt continued commitments to bring new data center facilities online in 2022 and beyond, further reflected by new developments that have already been committed to,” he said.

“The sector is highly fast-moving, and the level of competition to source new sites is increasing exponentially. We have never seen such rising demand for comprehensive intelligence in this space.

“The pressure on all suppliers – consultants, operators, developers – to have detailed information, almost at their fingertips, reinforces how responsive investors need to be in making fast, well-informed decisions,” he added.

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