Green Datacenter: Simplifying cloud transformation

Roger Sueess, CEO of Green Datacenter, discusses the company’s cloud transformation and hyperscale capabilities alongside its commitment to sustainability

 According to Gartner, by 2025, 80% of enterprises are set to migrate away from on-premise data centres, instead outsourcing to third party data centres and in clouds. Colocation represents, therefore, an unstoppable trend in the market.

Given this trend, increasingly companies are wanting to move away from CAPEX-heavy on-premise solutions and find new, more flexible methods to benefit from the cloud while accommodating legacy systems. Many are therefore seeking a hybrid cloud solution, utilising both private and public cloud, along with a provider to host their systems.

It is precisely this market which Green Datacenter, a leading Swiss provider of data centre services, caters to. Defining itself as the leading data hub for enterprises, integrators, and cloud providers, the company is rated as a leading provider by the independent market research company ISG. So far, Green has three data centre locations in Switzerland: Zurich West, a colocation campus with three data centres, Zurich City, designed for the finance sector, and Zurich North. Currently, the company is preparing to open a fourth location. Green is also expanding one of the existing sites. “Two of the locations are data centers within the urban area,” says CEO Roger Sueess. “The third is a hyperscale campus. Just last year we opened the first Swiss hyperscale data center. We implemented the design principles and the type of efficiency that those types of clients are looking for.” Green is in the process of opening a fourth location, which will be another fully-fledged hyperscale campus. “We’re very excited about that, because it will give us geo-redundant capabilities beyond what we have today.”

This is an exciting time for data centres as their importance keeps growing. The economy is becoming more digital every day and the data volume is increasing. “You might not think that there’s much behind data centres, but actually there's a lot of innovation - particularly when it comes to sustainability and efficiency,” says Sueess. While efficiency reduces costs for providers and customers, Green also wants to reduce the ecological impact by developing sustainable solutions. Suess believes that ecological sustainability and economic success do go together. It takes experienced staff, he says, as well an open and creative work culture to achieve ambitious goals. 

In Switzerland, where data centre market is fragmented, geographically diverse and ‘capacity pinched’, Green is unlike its competition. While some data centre providers are focusing on hyperscalers, smaller ones only focus on colocation. Sueess emphasises that Green combines both and offers the ramp up to the public cloud with connectivity and hybrid-platforms – especially on an international level. “We've been investing to become the enabler for our clients to connect to the Far East. We pride ourselves on having the fastest connections to several other locations across Asia.”

Green will keep a strong focus on colocation and hybrid IT architecture for mide-sized firms, yet it also has the ambition to significantly grow its data hub for hyperscale businesses and companies, with the Zurich West campus’ configuration enabling organisations to benefit from short paths for the networking of their IT infrastructures - a key advantage for future hybrid IT architectures. “Hyperscalers are a very different type of clientele,” says Sueess. “The way they look at consuming capacity is in big volumes with a very different growth paradigm. A smaller, colocation-type business may require a couple of kilowatts in power. Mid-size companies might require a couple of hundred kilowatts, maybe a room to themselves. At the hyperscale level, you're talking megawatts, and they're extremely precise in how they want to have things set up. Uptime is the highest priority because their services are so broadly used, and then there’s expansion capability. That’s why we’re investing further and will build an additional Metro campus.” 

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Quotables

You have to combine ecologically sound sustainability with well thought out economics.

Roger Sueess | CEO, Green Datacenter

Sueess is passionate about the imperative for cloud transformation, which Green is well placed to assist with. He explains that, especially for the bigger companies, moving to the cloud means having to change their culture, the way they develop and the way they consume services, all while remaining secure. Accordingly, the company has created the Green Cloud Ecosystem, which involves the company and assembled partners offering a unique proposition that allows them to harness legacy systems, using private cloud offerings, while also having direct access to a variety of public clouds. “Usually, there’s a danger of diluting yourself if you try to do everything,” he adds, “but we’ve assembled the right team of like minded partners to get that done for our clients.”

While the Green in the name originally referred more to bringing connectivity into more suburban and rural areas, the company has fully embraced its more modern connotations. This includes undergoing a transformation that has seen additional emphasis placed on its core values. Green, Sueess notes, is a part of the company’s DNA and drives its focus on sustainability. 

That commitment has led to several concrete achievements. “Our private and consumer-focused business has, since the beginning of the year, been powered entirely by sustainable energy. Of course, that’s just one step on the chain, but we know it’s the right thing to do.” Sueess is also clear that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive. “It’s important to get that balance between the profitability that you still need as a business with the right solutions from a sustainability perspective.” Green therefore builds sustainability considerations into its data centres from the beginning, affecting everything from building design to rack arrangement - a complex task considering the interplay of different parameters, and something in which Green has gained considerable expertise. As a result, its data centres achieve a power usage effectiveness of 1.19 when working at maximum capacity, an achievement essentially impossible to match in companies’ in-house data centres.

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As with all companies around the globe, Green has had to reckon with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Effectively dealing with it was especially critical for Green, as Sueess explains: “For us, being critical infrastructure, it was important to let people know they could rely on us. We had to keep the business running, so we very quickly switched to digital channels.” Instead of simply weathering the storm, Green has found the pandemic to have increased the pace of pre-existing plans. “It certainly accelerated some of the things we wanted to do. Roadmap-wise, it hasn't really changed. I think what it changed for us as a company is that, while we have had the ability to work very digitally and flexibly, the fact that it’s pushed 95% of our staff out of the office and into their homes now lets us say quite confidently that we can push that envelope even further.” That approach has borne fruit, for instance in the 24 hour switch to home working for the company’s support centre.

With the proliferation of technologies requiring more and more powerful levels of connectivity, Sueess is confident that Green is perfectly placed to thrive going forward. “The whole of society is adopting Big Data, 5G, gaming, streaming, even IoT and the edge. We’re excited to make the journey as easy as possible for people to become digital and get to the cloud.”

That mission statement reflects the breadth of Green’s offering and why it attracts the customers it does. With step-by step cloud solutions and broad partner ecosystems, its tailored solutions include data centre-as-a-service, private cloud and public cloud. Operating five data centres across three sites for geo-redundancy, Green’s high density data centre (the first in Switzerland) is a lynchpin for international cloud providers to access Swiss business, connecting companies across all industries with ultra-fast speeds and low latencies. As the only carrier-neutral Swiss data center provider with over 25 years of experience, Green will continue to be trusted and respected for both its connectivity and commitment to sustainability.

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