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Michiel Eielts is Managing Director, Benelux, for global interconnection and data centre company Equinix. He is based at the company’s AM3 International Business Exchange (IBX™) data centre in Amsterdam Science Park.
“Equinix is a global interconnection and data centre company which was founded 18 years ago in Silicon Valley, around the time that the internet was really taking off. You could think of us as a kind of hotel chain for computers. We provide companies with the physical infrastructure they need to distribute their data and communicate with their customers in different markets, and at the moment we have over 150 data centres worldwide."
“We built our state-of-the-art data centre in the park, and from here we can reach 80% of the European population very quickly.”
“About eight years ago, Equinix came to the Netherlands. We chose Amsterdam because it has always been at the heart of the Internet. Nikhef here in the Amsterdam Science Park launched one of the first World Wide Web servers back in 1992, and AMS-IX (the Amsterdam Internet Exchange) is still the most important internet exchange between Europe and the USA, and arguably the busiest internet exchange in the world."
“I was asked to head up Equinix Benelux, having worked in ICT with KPN and Telfort. We arrived at Amsterdam Science Park in 2012. This was a big step for us. We built our state-of-the-art AM3 IBX data centre in the park, and from here we can reach 80% of the European population very quickly. Some of our clients also serve customers in the Middle East from here. We have several other data centres in the area, since Amsterdam is such an important hub, and together they serve over 250 companies."
“We have a great infrastructural advantage at Amsterdam Science Park”
“Today, around 40 people are employed here, with people at work round the clock. Business has been expanding rapidly recently, and one of the key drivers has been mobile growth, and the rapid evolution of the smart phone. All those ‘apps’, from Google Maps to games to social media, are enabled by data centres like ours. Increasingly, people want access to their data everywhere, wherever they go, so more and more there’s a migration to the cloud and we need to provide the infrastructure that supports that. Consumer-driven apps are really powering the advance of technology now, while companies are lagging behind a bit – the opposite of what used to happen. Skype is a good example of this. They say that every smart phone requires a server in a data centre, so in the future there will be tremendous growth in our business."
“We are building a new data centre here at Amsterdam Science Park to cope with this increasing demand. This centre will be finished in 2017. It will be 73 m high and very visible. It takes one and a half years to build a data centre, and it’s a big investment with a big environmental impact, so it needs to be sustainable. Our AM3 data centre already sets new standards in sustainability, thanks to the use of underground thermal energy storage instead of mechanical cooling. AM3’s excess heat is also shared with the neighbouring university buildings. This helps our neighbourhood at the same time as it allows customers to make energy savings and reduce their CO2 footprint."
“I feel that the park is still a bit of a secret – we need to promote it more.”
“In our industry, the major issue is reliability. The second biggest challenge is keeping up with the growth of our customers and the market. Bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds is not easy, but we have a great infrastructural advantage at Amsterdam Science Park. Not only is it one of the major European hubs, but our customers – high-tech companies – can cooperate with SURFSara and Nikhef here at the park, and there’s a great fibre-optic network and lots of talented young people. There’s plenty of scope for collaboration and partnerships – for instance, we work with fibre-optic company Tallgrass, who are near neighbours, and use their technology and training."
“I feel that the park is still a bit of a secret – we need to promote it more. At Equinix, we have lots of customers visiting us here, so we’re in a good position to do that. Our clients invariably like Amsterdam and they always want to know about the skill levels of local employees. In fact, there has been a bit of a spin-off – after visiting us here, several of our clients have started new initiatives in Amsterdam!”