Equinix and GIC enter US$1b joint venture for European Data Center

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Author: Ravi Philemon

Equinix, Inc, the global interconnection and data center company, on Oct 9 announced the completion of the formation of the greater than US$1.0 billion joint venture in the form of a limited liability partnership with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, to develop and operate xScale™ data centers in Europe. As announced with the signing of the agreement in July, xScale data centers will serve the unique core workload deployment needs of a targeted group of hyperscale companies, including the world’s largest cloud service providers.

Equinix

Image: Equinix – Equinix LD13x xScale Data Center

The facilities will allow these key enablers of digital transformation to streamline their continued growth, while strengthening Equinix’s leadership position in the cloud ecosystem, as enterprises increasingly embrace hybrid multicloud as the IT architecture of choice.

The initial six facilities in the joint venture will be located in the AmsterdamLondon (two sites), Frankfurt (two sites) and Paris markets, on some of Equinix’s existing International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center campuses.

Highlights/Key Facts

  • The Equinix LD10 IBX facility has been sold to the joint venture. The portion of the facility that has been dedicated to hyperscale deployments has been re-named the LD13x xScale data center and will provide 10 megawatts (MW) of capacity for xScale customers. The balance of the facility, which is dedicated to retail colocation deployments, will be leased by Equinix from the JV and will retain the Equinix LD10 IBX name.

  • The former Equinix PA8 IBX in Paris, which has also been sold to the joint venture, has been re-named the PA8x xScale data center. The first phase of the facility opened in Q1 2019, and the second and final phase is expected to open in Q4 2019. At full buildout, PA8x is expected to support 14 MW of capacity for xScale customers.

  • The FR9x xScale data center in Frankfurt will add 10 MW of capacity in Q3 2020 when the initial phase is opened. At full capacity, the facility is expected to support 18 MW of capacity.

  • The LD11x xScale data center in London will add 10 MW of capacity for hyperscale customers in Q1 2021 when the initial phase is opened. At full capacity, the facility is expected to support 19 MW of capacity.

  • xScale data centers provide hyperscale companies a differentiated value proposition from existing wholesale data center operators in two key areas:
    • xScale data centers offer access to Equinix’s comprehensive suite of interconnection and edge services. These services tie into the hyperscale companies’ existing access points at Equinix, thereby increasing the speed of connections to their existing and future enterprise customers.
    • xScale data centers are engineered to meet the technical and operational requirements and price points of core hyperscale workload deployments. This enables hyperscale companies to consolidate core and access point deployments into one global provider to streamline and simplify their rapid growth.

  • For years, hyperscale operators, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and Google Cloud, have partnered with Equinix to leverage its global platform of more than 200 IBX data centers to directly connect to their strategic business partners and customers. Today, Platform Equinix® offers the most access points—the “on- and off-ramps to the cloud”—to the top global cloud service providers. In addition to these customer access points, hyperscale companies are investing in large-scale data center deployments to accommodate their rapidly growing core workload needs. With xScale data centers, hyperscale companies can add core deployments at Equinix to their existing access point footprints, enabling their growth on a single platform that spans more than 50 global metros and offers direct interconnection—within a vibrant set of ecosystems—to their customers and strategic business partners.

  • Private connectivity between enterprises, strategic cloud service providers and network services is essential as digital transformation fuels higher demand for localized digital services at the edge. According to the Global Interconnection Index Volume 2, a market study published by Equinix, the capacity for private data exchange between enterprises and cloud and network service providers is forecast to grow nearly 10 times faster than public internet traffic by 2021.

Charles Meyers, President and CEO, Equinix, said: “The formation of our JV with GIC is a strategic milestone for Equinix as we continue to deepen our relationships with the world’s largest cloud and hyperscale companies and help them meet their core workload deployment needs and gain proximity to the thriving business ecosystems available at Equinix.”

“Similarly, as today’s businesses are increasingly moving to implement hybrid multicloud strategies for their digital infrastructure, Equinix serves as a unique on- and off-ramp to execute that strategy. We look forward to launching similar JVs in other operating regions and believe these efforts will continue to further differentiate Equinix as the trusted center of a cloud-first world.”

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer at iCompareLoan, said: “major corporations like Google, Alibaba Group, Amazon Web Services have all expanded their cloud infrastructure footprint to facilitate their respective expansion plans over the last few years. This momentum is only expected to continue. On this joint venture between Equinix and GIC could prove to be profitable and lucrative.”

One recent report said that the progressive roll out of 5G networks across the world is expected to fuel demand for data centres. A 5G network could be up to 20 times faster than the current 4G networks and would spur massive consumption of data and unlock new capabilities such as self-driving cars, cloud gaming and a thriving ecosystem of smart appliances that require a constant connection. In Asia Pacific, Singapore is one of the early adopters of 5G and is on track to roll out 5G mobile networks by 2020.

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