For the past few years, civic leaders in Wallonia, Belgium have been trying to attract IT service and data center providers that have a strong international presence, which is necessary for creating a vibrant digital ecosystem in the region.
Now, multinational enterprises and foreign investors are taking notice. Just recently, global data center provider and operator Etix Everywhere announced a partnership with NRB, which is a leading player in Belgium’s information communication technology (ICT) sector. The companies have agreed to develop a new colocation center in the city of Liège, a partnership that will enhance the data housing and cloud offerings in Belgium.
The new data center will provide up to 900 square meters of IT space, and will offer 900 kVA of power when completed. Construction for the project started in May, 2017, and the first module should be ready for its first 100 racks by October. Three modules are being developed, each measuring 300 square meters and supporting 300 kVA of power. And thanks to Etix Everywhere’s technical design, each additional module will be delivered in 16 weeks so that the data center can be adjusted to changing market needs.
The first phase of the data center, which includes the next two modules, will cost €4.2 million and will be co-financed by NRB and Etix Everwhere.
“This new data center demonstrates the attractiveness of Wallonia for foreign investors,” said Jean-Claude Marcourt, Minister for Economic Affairs and the Digital Economy. “This long-term partnership between a global company and a local player testifies to the potential of our region to grasp opportunities. This is, in fact, one of the primary goals of the ‘Digital Wallonia’ strategy.”
Pascal Laffineur, CEO of NRB, also commented on the investment.
“This major investment reinforces the proactive Cloud strategy of NRB,” explained Laffineur. “We offer tailor-made Cloud solutions to our clients. We select for them the best ICT environment possible, whether an NRB private Cloud, public Cloud or hybrid Cloud approach. We connect and integrate the system and we ensure its efficient management. Moreover, with this project, we take a step further towards smarter IT infrastructure, thanks to automation and a smart software-defined data center.”
NRB currently has data centers in Herstal, Belgium that are connected via dark fiber. Moving forward, NRB will be better positioned to offer first-class business continuity to its customers, while Etix Everywhere will market data housing for clients who are seeking to accommodate their servers in the best security and performance conditions of the market. The data center will be carrier-neutral, giving clients the ability to work with the service providers of their choice. The facility will also be equipped with the latest technologies offered by Etix Everywhere and its R&D Lab, with an added emphasis on security.
“We were looking for a partner that shares our vision of innovation,” explained Thierry Engels, Infrastructure Manager of NRB. “With Etix Everywhere, we are assured to have a data center that is always at the cutting edge of technologies, which meets our clients’ demanding requirements.”
Etix Everywhere’s goal is to create a global network of homogenous and interconnected data centers to provide colocation services all over the world. BelgiumDC clients will benefit from IT capacity through the Etix Everywhere network, with a preferential tariff. The data center reflects both companies’ international growth strategies.
“In parallel with the BelgiumDC construction, we are also building a data center in Lille, France,” states Louis Blanchot, Business Director of Etix Everywhere France. “This territorial coverage will create development opportunities for companies on both sides of the border.”