When you see the Roosendaal telecom & data tower, you wouldn’t expect a datacenter to be sat at the top. Yet more and more companies, such as IP Visie and Hostslim, are bringing their data to greater heights. They do this because of privacy, sustainability and continuity.
‘The television tower.’ That’s what residents call the 126-metre high telecom & data tower in Roosendaal. All 24 telecom & data towers that arose in the Netherlands in the 1960s counted as a beacon for their area. What people usually don’t know is that the role they play is slowly evolving. They started as radio masts that transmitted the television and radio signal. GSM was added later. In this decade, many towers have developed into a location for datacenters. The current owner Cellnex – a European market player who took over the telecom & data towers from Alticom – wants to expand this further.
Establishing datacenters in one of the many telecom & data towers has several advantages, says Maarten Kippers, Sales and Business Development Manager at Cellnex. “In addition to security and sustainability, privacy is an important factor for customers. In our tower in Roosendaal, customers can realise datacenters with 4 to 16 racks. Unlike most other datacenters, they don’t have to share the space with many others. They can even opt for a private floor. Floors can only be accessed by authorised visitors. The lift only stops where the customer has access rights. This vastly reduces the level of activity on the data floor. Certainly in terms of the importance of GDPR this is an advantage.”
IP Visie is the first customer with a datacenter in the Roosendaal tower. This company was founded in 2007 by Jos Beckers and Fouad el Hajjaj. They had been active in data and telecommunications for years. The demand for fast and stable internet connections and the rise of the cloud led them to start a new company. They deliberately chose Roosendaal’s telecom & data tower as the location for their datacenter. Jos Beckers: “Datacenter owners sometimes underestimate how eager customers want to be able to visit ‘their’ datacenter – even if they don’t do it often in practice. By setting up private data rooms in your own region, so not in well-known locations such as Amsterdam or Eemshaven, not only do you provide this accessibility and proximity, but you give the end user the idea that their data is outside the door, but still always close.
Bringing data into the cloud is a matter of trust. The collaboration with Cellnex makes it possible for IP Visie to give that confidence to their customers. This is reinforced by the fact that we can set up our datacenter according to our own wishes and provide it with branding. There’s also room for expansion. “We start on the 13th floor in Roosendaal but it’s a small step to the 14th and there are more possibilities.”
Despite the new role of the telecom & data towers, they are still an essential part of the Dutch emergency infrastructure. Kippers: “In the event of an emergency, these towers will always be active, a 10kV power infrastructure and powerful generators in the towers ensure this”. An additional advantage is that Cellnex has no problems with the power supply. “We see in many regions in the Netherlands that the electricity network can no longer meet the demand for electricity in areas with multiple datacenters. This isn’t a problem for us.”
Not only for IP Visie, but also for Hostslim, another partner of Cellnex, this continuous uptime is a huge advantage. Ralph Karseboom, CEO and founder of the service provider: “We rent the 14th floor in the telecom & data tower in Lelystad. Apart from the fact that Cellnex is one of the few providers for datacenter capacity in our region, we see another advantage in the server environments in the towers. For many companies, they are the perfect fall-back locations for redundant networking – something that is often required for compliance. The fact that the towers are part of the emergency infrastructure is very reassuring. The datacenters in the towers are indeed outsourced from the customer’s perspective, but due to their intimate nature they remain ‘private’. It is truly a private cloud.”
Ultimately, placing datacenters in the telecom & data towers is also sustainable. Kippers (Cellnex): “Firstly, when renovating existing buildings, there is more to be gained in terms of sustainability, but the height of the towers also ensures that the servers in the datacenter are much more energy-efficient”. The cooling elements are located on the high plateau, where there is always sufficient wind for cooling.
Of course the datacenter has fibre optics, but due to the altitude it is also easy to realise broadband connections in the microwave band. “And the next role of the tower is already known. Our towers will be an important building block in the realisation of the 5G infrastructure.”