Thought Leadership and Insight from Steen Hommel, Director, Invest in Denmark

Steen Hommel

For this edition of the Clouds Ahead interview series, Datacloud Global spoke to Steen Hommel, Director, Invest in Denmark.

1. Datacloud: What are some of the key trends and challenges in the current global market?

SH: Well, the need for data centre capacity is really booming these years due to the growth of all types of digital services, and this is probably going to continue for quite a few years. The challenge in Europe right now is to keep up with demand in a sustainable way. The historic European data centre hubs like Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin are in many ways experiencing some “bottleneck” issues in terms of availability of additional (green) power, space, qualified workforce, permits etc.

2. Datacloud: How do you think the future landscape of the cloud, edge and 5G technologies will look like?

SH: Today’s hyperscale operators like Apple, AWS, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are probably going to build more large scale data centres in order to keep up with the demand. They, and many other companies, also make use of colocation data centre capacity. The colocation data centres are growing as well, and some of them seem to be prepared to grow to hyperscale size. On top of this, small and mid-size edge data centres are going to pop up in and around all cities. The European 5G coverage is going to grow fast as well, and is also going to require a pretty substantial amount of power. Green power supply is indeed an increasingly important issue, which will also require attention from the datacentre operators.

3. Datacloud: What regions do you see as primed for IT infrastructure asset expansion?

SH: Historically, data centres were always located close to concentrations of users, but now, and in future, additional capacity has to be located close to the green energy sources with a potential to scale and provide more power. I definitely see the Nordics as the future European region for new large and medium size data centres. In many ways Denmark is an ideal location due to our physical proximity to Central Europe, our subsea fibre cable connectivity with the US, UK/Ireland and the Netherlands, our top reliable power supply. When the conditions are right, we have a potential for utilising our extensive district heating grid for surplus heat, thereby increasing the overall energy efficiency of data centres tremendously – and making them a vital part of the green transition.

4. Datacloud: What is one of your goals for the next year and how do you expect to achieve it?

SH: We already proved that Denmark is an ideal location for hyperscale data centres. Now our goal is to attract midsize colocation and enterprise data centres as well. We have the sites, we are rapidly expanding both the renewable power supply and fibre connections. Probably they have to adapt their business concept somewhat in order to cope with a future, where much of the capacity is located in the Nordics while the majority of the customers are located in Central Europe. We look forward to assist the colocation operators with this transition.

Invest in Denmark is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and will be at Datacloud Global Congress in Monaco from 4 to 6 June 2019. Meet Steen Hommel and the Invest in Denmark team on stand No. 7!