The Data Center of the Future Begins in France

Equinix to open first carrier-neutral, modular data center in Bordeaux

Eugene Bergen
Régis Castagné

We are excited to announce plans to open our first Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center – and the first carrier-neutral, modular data center – in Bordeaux, France. The reasons for choosing to build in Bordeaux go far beyond the fine wines produced there or the rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire.

Converging forces such as rapid growth in smaller metros and workloads moving to the edge, combined with the urgent need to move to climate neutrality, are beginning to shape the data centers of the future. Location has always been a fundamental consideration for data center design including factors such as proximity to energy sources, connectivity, businesses and users. But evolving edge use cases powered by the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G are driving a need for smaller facilities that can be built more quickly to support distributed workloads outside of major metros. By leveraging proven data center design principles that work together in a standard, modular approach, we are setting the stage for sustainable digital infrastructure that can flex with business needs on-demand anywhere.

Infrastructure Is Everywhere—The Evolution of Data Centers

In this Gartner Report: "Infrastructure Is Everywhere: The Evolution of Data Centers" Gartner states: "By 2022, 60% of enterprise IT infrastructures will focus on centers of data, rather than traditional data centers."

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How Bordeaux is positioned for growth

Digital transformation in France is speeding up in general. But while the European FLAP markets (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris) continue to be core hubs for digital business, France is uniquely positioned for growth in its smaller metros. Many of France’s second tier cities, including Bordeaux, are growing faster than the capital.[i] Located a few hours southwest of Paris on the Atlantic coast, Bordeaux has thriving business ecosystems in the aerospace, laser/optics and digital health and life sciences industries, and, in 2020, it was one of the top three French cities attracting startups after Paris.[ii] Additional growth indicators include:[iii]

  • One of the fastest growing French cities for e-health and digital jobs
  • Top French metro for business creation (+18.7%) – over 10,000 new companies created per year
  • Strong government support for startup acceleration through associations/initiatives such as French Tech Bordeaux
  • Strong digital research base with 1,000 scientists
  • Connected to Paris by high-speed rail (two hours)
  • Relatively dense high-speed fiber deployed as shown in the map below

Source: Arcep

Bordeaux is the fastest growing French city for digital job creation."

Bordeaux is also a strategically important subsea cable terminating point, positioning it to become an international digital hub. The Equinix Bordeaux IBX (BX1) will provide a connectivity hub for a new cable, AMITIE, which will link France to the U.S. and the U.K., creating a new European gateway for data traffic between the United States and Europe. AMITIE and another recently launched Bordeaux cable, Dunant, have higher capacity than all existing transatlantic subsea cable systems.[iv] The arrival of these mega cables near Bordeaux will draw network services providers to the area, which will in turn bring in hyperscalers and cloud services providers that need to expand their cloud edge. This means that enterprises wanting proximity to this new digital market will want to establish a presence in a local, carrier-neutral facility.

Image source: Orange

An innovative modular design for faster data center builds

The Equinix BX1 data center will provide secure, resilient colocation, high-bandwidth connectivity, and interconnection services, along with direct and fast access to the Equinix Paris ecosystem, which already includes 90+ networks, 200+ cloud and IT service providers, 40+ financial services firms, and 60+ content and digital media businesses. The proximity to Paris will also allow digital leaders to build resiliency and enable disaster recovery between the Paris and Bordeaux IBX data centers. Best of all, interconnection services, such as Equinix Fabric™, empower businesses to instantly interconnect with their global supply chain partners to generate new business value as shown in the diagram below.

Bordeaux is a strategically important subsea cable location, positioning it to become a vital global digital hub. AMITIE and another Bordeaux cable, Dunant, have higher capacity than all existing transatlantic subsea cable systems."

BX1 will be the first Equinix facility to leverage innovative modular edge data center design principles to deploy a smaller facility with retail IBX capabilities in a much faster timeframe. Each module groups multiple data center functions together in the same block – for example, all the cooling equipment –, and incorporates best practices we’ve gained from our retail and hyperscale deployments. The use of a standard catalog of design modules reduces cost and deployment time while improving efficiency, scalability and flexibility.

Additional benefits of a modular edge data center design include:

  • Pre-fabricated approach reduces deployment time
  • Modular design supports multiple configurations
  • Scales a common design across multiple physical sizes
  • Deploys capability in otherwise space constrained locations
  • Enables sheltered and unsheltered deployments
  • Decoupled energy platform supports multiple energy sources while providing greener energy storage and enhanced resiliency

The new Bordeaux IBX data center will include over 32,280 ft2 (3000 m2) of space across 12 modules. Phase 1 of the buildout will offer 220 cabinets with 1000kW of power. Phase 2 will add 240 cabinets, with a final planned capacity of 1,440 cabinets and up to 6MW of power.

Artist rendering of BX1

BX1’s modular build is also “Green by Design,” which means it will be certified to meet rigorous environmental and energy management standards. Green by Design reflects Equinix’s commitment to being good stewards of the environment by decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels, minimizing our carbon footprint and creating resilient and efficient data centers. Green by Design also has a practical impact for data center builds in cities like Bordeaux. While some local governments may be leery of the proliferation of data centers within their regions, Equinix’s smaller, modular approach ensures a green design from the ground up, so a data center can bring economic benefits to the area while minimizing negative environmental impact.

With Platform Equinix, companies located in Bordeaux or wishing to operate in France will benefit from a digital infrastructure that enables them to connect securely and efficiently to all their partners and customers on a global scale. With more than 220 facilities across five continents, Equinix enables companies in France to quickly and easily connect to the world’s most important business markets, including financial centers and gateways to emerging economies.

To learn more, read Gartner’s “Infrastructure Is Everywhere: The Evolution Of Data Centers” report.

You may also want to explore our French data centers.

 

[i] ESPON, Second Tier Cities and Territorial Development in Europe: Performance, Policies and Prospects, Jan 2013; Wikipedia, Urban area (France), last updated Feb 2021.

[ii] Sifted, The French tech revolution: How France’s startups made it to centre stage, sponsored by La French Tech, 2021; Wikipedia, Bordeaux Economy, last updated Feb 2021.

[iii] Culture trip, Understanding the Startup Ecosystem in Bordeaux, Aug 2018; Invest in Bordeaux, Digital Metropolis and Territory of Entrepreneurs, translated to English; Arcep, Map of fiber deployments, last updated Jan 2021. The Fiber to the home (FttH) coverage rate of a municipality assesses the proportion of housing or premises for professional use that can be connected to one or more FttH networks.

[iv] Total Telecom, The French Connection: Orange boasts two submarine cables linking France to the US, Jan 2021