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European Opportunity is Beckoning, but Can Your Data Architecture Answer the Call?

Sue Jones, SVP of Global Marketing, Digital Realty
November 22, 2022

As the world’s largest single market area, Europe has never been more important for companies looking to expand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

London, for example, offers access to one of the world’s largest financial services centers. Frankfurt is home to one of the largest European data hubs for manufacturing, banking, and professional services. Paris, meanwhile, allows access to one of the largest and most centralized consumer markets on the continent.

Rearchitecting towards a decentralized infrastructure

As a first step to succeeding with business expansion in Europe, enterprises and service providers need to adopt a data-first approach that can help them manage ever-increasing data gravity - the phenomenon where increasing volumes of data attract more applications and services, such as analytics and machine learning, creating even more data.

In markets like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, surging data gravity has led to exploding demand for local data storage and processing.

Data creation is expected to grow by 139 percent per year globally by 2024, according to the Digital Realty Data Gravity Index — at which point it is predicted Global 2000 enterprises will be creating 1.4 million gigabytes per second.

Much of this will be concentrated in major business and industrial hubs: London’s Data Gravity Index score, for example, is 167.05 — more than Tokyo (80.32) and New York City (79.61) combined.

Core to this is ensuring that they have the right data architecture — and as research is showing, for many leading enterprises and service providers that means a decentralized approach. Our recent Global Data Insights Survey, for example, found that 57 percent of North American companies and 40 percent of APAC companies are keeping their data very or somewhat decentralized.

Why should this be so? Put simply, decentralizing data so it’s closer to the customer can reduce data bandwidth and minimize performance issues such as latency. It will help customers with more reliable digital experiences, no matter where in Europe they are located.

Meeting the operational requirements of hybrid architectures

For global enterprises, however, enabling this kind of decentralization across an area as diverse as Europe is not always straightforward. For one thing, data needs to be secured and controlled for privacy and compliance requirements.

That’s especially important in Europe right now. The entire continent has seen a surge in investment to meet regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), privacy controls, as well as increasingly strict environmental requirements that may vary from country to country.

Or take the complex hybrid infrastructure requirements typical of most global enterprises — according to an IDG survey, for instance, enterprise workflows now typically use more than 400 data sources.

Winning in this environment requires a decentralized infrastructure that removes data gravity barriers to accommodate distributed workflows that vary by participant, application, information, and location-specific needs.

Traditional data networks that rely on high-traffic backhauls for connectivity won’t cut it. A global enterprise needs a global data network with fast, secure interconnections between workloads, whether they are hosted in data centers or the cloud.

Successfully expanding into Europe, therefore, requires working with a multi-tenant data center provider that can provide key local points of presence as well as access to a powerful global platform.

Accessing connected data communities

At the same time, most enterprises today understand the value of aggregating and sharing their data, where appropriate, to unlock more insights across the company.

Europe can bring vital advantages in this regard. Growing data exchange between metros such as London and Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dublin, and New York is driving the creation of connected data communities — multilateral partnerships created to support common business interests and fueled by the seamless interchange of critical data.

By tapping into these connected data communities, enterprises gain a secure data “meeting place” to power innovation and more efficiently manage their data gravity challenges.

Provided they pick the right data center provider, enterprises can also gain access to a thriving community of the provider’s own partners, which may include connectivity and technology companies, major carriers, and more.

Indeed, connected data communities are becoming crucial to serving today’s customers, who expect services to be fast, responsive, and always available. However, accessing them can be difficult and expensive if you’re trying to service them from data centers in North America or APAC.

From a pure performance standpoint, therefore, it makes sense that you need to have at least one location — and potentially multiple sites — in Europe.

Tapping into the best-connected data center platform in Europe

In navigating all these challenges, the right infrastructure partner can make all the difference — especially if that partner has deep experience and an extensive footprint in Europe, a solid understanding of US and Asia Pacific enterprises, and a consistent range of high-quality services across the globe.

For many businesses operating in Europe, Digital Realty has consistently proven to be the right choice.

Our customers are meeting their operational challenges in Europe with PlatformDIGITAL® — a global network of over 300 data centers spanning more than 50 metropolitan areas in 26 countries, including 15 in Europe.

As Europe’s best-connected data center provider, according to Cloudscene, Digital Realty is offering extensive interconnections services to leading cloud providers — including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud — and access to more than 20 European internet exchanges.

Expanding connectivity across global footprints

This degree of interconnectivity has made PlatformDIGITAL critical for customers ranging from international carriers and global enterprises to games publishers and service providers that require low-latency, high-performance services.

We have also completed extensive work to ensure we can enable enterprises to find the right mix of services to meet their needs. This includes launching ServiceFabric Connect, a cutting-edge solution that uses software-defined networking (SDN) and a new, purpose-built physical backbone network to give customers fast, secure, and flexible connectivity options across their global footprints.

ServiceFabric Connect offers a simple, cost-effective way to connect to four major cloud providers across three continents. As the industry’s largest open fabric-of-fabrics, it is designed to support customers as they transition to a more hybrid IT and data-centric architecture.

Adding a European presence has never been more achievable

The myriad changes of the past few years have challenged enterprises like never before — and overcoming them to drive growth has never been more important. Supporting remote work, data privacy obligations, mission-critical performance, and resilience is crucial to achieving this growth.

That’s why, amid the growing weight of digital gravity, it has never been more critical to have a clear strategy for tapping into the European market.

By leveraging robust hybrid infrastructure solutions such as PlatformDIGITAL, building an optimized regional presence has never been more achievable.

Want to learn more? Download our ebook, Your Data-First Guide to Expanding into Europe.