Artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and augmented reality are just three of the technological advancements that are gaining headlines globally.
While consumers get excited about how these may change their lives, and business leaders wonder how to leverage the opportunities they offer, there is one essential element necessary for success – edge data centres.
While edge data centres may not enjoy the hype of Generative AI, they are a vital piece of the infrastructure required to make these technologies tick, due to low latency, increased security, greater bandwidth, and more sustainable operation.
Etix Everywhere is a leader and pioneer in edge data centres in Europe – and is now expanding that successful formula into Asia.
Formed in 2012, Etix Everywhere now operates 15 data centres, and has grown quickly in the last three years. The number of data centres has tripled in that time, while turnover has grown eight-fold.
Etix Everywhere is committed to providing colocation solutions that are both sovereign and environmentally friendly, all within 200km of its partners' headquarters. This USP has really helped to drive the business.
“We only focus on the edge market, which for us means bringing the service to the customer and not the customer to the service,” says Etix Everywhere Group CEO Louis Blanchot.
“Our core mission is really to develop a platform of data centres to really bring the infrastructure close to the data end user.”
So, what makes Etix Everywhere different from other edge data centre operators?
Blanchot points to the main USP and reason why customers move to Etix is its scalable edge network with its strong IT marketplace. On top of the colocation factor, Etix is able to deliver interconnection to a long list of IT Partners that can bring added services to its customers to support them in their digital transformation.
“Edge data centres provide customers with access to a lot of solutions to develop their hybrid cloud infrastructure, but also what we see is that there are more and more services that require low latency – for example, autonomous vehicle, IoT, streaming, gaming, all these new trends,” says Blanchot.
“There is a growing demand for low latency and also the question of traffic congestion that you can have on connectivity. So, when all the telco companies want to bring a service to their customer, if they had to send data from Lille to Paris to come back to Lille, or basically to send the data to be computed, like in all those tier one locations, it creates virtual traffic congestion. When the data can be computed straight away, locally, it will save a lot of bandwidth.”
Over the past two years, Etix Everywhere has refocused its efforts on its core expertise – offering a multi-site, sovereign, and decarbonised colocation solution.
The acquisition of CIV has doubled the company’s capacity in the Hauts-de-France and in 2024, Etix will inaugurate Lille #4 – a new data centre just 500 metres from Etix Lille #2, thereby creating a 2.5 MW IT campus with the best connectivity in the region.
Blanchot also points to the recent acquisition of Zcolo France, which has broadened the firm’s horizons – enabling the offer of colocation solutions in three new regions and, as a result, strengthening territorial coverage.
“This acquisition represents a key milestone in cementing our undisputed leadership in the French regional market and accelerates our development in Europe – with colocation capacity now reaching 17.3 MW,” he says.
But the company’s ambitious expansion strategy does not stop here, with a “vision to establish a leading edge data centre platform in Europe and Southeast-Asia, and guarantee our clients highly scalable and connected facilities close to the data end user.”
Data sovereignty is also a key consideration and a hot topic of conversation when it comes to security, and Etix is committed to providing customers with colocation solutions within 200km of its partners' headquarters.
With data invariably crossing borders with hyperscalers, protecting data sovereignty is a challenge, and that’s why more businesses are taking greater control of their data and keeping it within domestic borders, or even closer to home via edge data centres.
Sovereignty is a cornerstone principle for Etix. Domiciled in France with a majority of its capital held by French stakeholders, Etix operates under the jurisdiction of French law for the provision of all its services.
It’s a commitment to sovereignty that not only underscores the company's dedication to maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct and legal compliance, but also ensures accountability and compliance within the French regulatory landscape.
“In this way, Etix demonstrates an allegiance to home turf while contributing to the growing French business ecosystem,” says Blanchot.
Along with a commitment to sovereignty, what makes Etix particularly appealing is its offering of a modular solution, a feature it has provided since its inception in 2012. Back in 2012, it was innovative, but now many operators are trying to use modular architecture.
“It's funny. It's what we created,” declares Blanchot. “It was our innovative design when we created Etix, and the design that we have sold to all our customers ever since – because the benefits are obvious.
“Firstly, you only invest in what you need, and you align your CAPEX with your sales ramp-up.
“The other main benefit is that we know that the PUE [Power Usage Effectiveness] is really related to IT usage. So, when you achieve around 50% usage and exceed that, the PUE is better. That's why having a modular data centre improves the IT load and helps you achieve a good PUE.”
PUE is essential for data centres as they try to become more sustainable, and that is a core focus for Etix Everywhere. As well as aiming for PUE 1.3 for all of their data centres, the Nantes-headquartered company also strives to use no water for cooling (WUE <0.01 L/kWh), employ low-carbon electricity, recycle residual heat, repurpose existing buildings, and add solar panels.
It’s a bold ambition, and one that was cemented when Etix joined the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact in 2021 with the goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. So how will it achieve those goals?
“We have three ways, the first being to work on the energy efficiency of the data centre and improve the PUE,” says Blanchot. “Renewing the technical equipment can really improve performance.
“Then you need to work on how you ‘feed’ your data centre with green energy, and how to recycle the energy that you are producing.
“Ultimately, the idea is to switch from being an energy consumer to an energy producer, to create a virtuous circle.”
Evidence of how Etix is looking to expand its footprint in a sustainable manner comes with its first edge data centre in Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
Etix has chosen to focus its development on the capitals of emerging countries with what it considers exponential growth potential. These include Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila.
The Bangkok site is strategically located in an industrial zone that offers a stable and reliable power source, and also has good road access and telecommunications infrastructure.
The modular infrastructure provides flexibility when it comes to scalability, meaning Etix can meet the future growth needs of operations at the same site.
“What we like in the Southeast Asia market is that we can use the same recipe that we used in Europe – developed and duplicated quickly,” says Blanchot. “That's why we started with Bangkok. The government is really supporting the digital economy, the country is stable, there is a high number of ‘eyeballs’, not to mention a high number of telcos.”
Instrumental in this expansion into Asia is trusted partner Schneider Electric – the energy consultancy regularly voted the world’s most sustainable company.
Blanchot points to several factors that Etix Everywhere had to tackle, from culture to climate, and how Schneider Electric’s expertise helped them to navigate these challenges.
“Having the support from a big partner like Schneider Electric is huge,” says Blanchot. “That's why we only work with such a world-class supplier. They have been brilliant for us, and have been able to deliver the same level of quality in a new country.
“Working with Schneider, they helped provide a turnkey solution, so we can just push the button and know exactly the price, the timing, and the level of quality.
“It's just a copy and paste of how we worked with Schneider Electric in Europe, and being able to rely on them has been a big comfort and given me the confidence that we can deliver for our customers.”
Looking ahead to the opportunities on the near horizon, from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving, those are going to require eye-watering amounts of data, which has to be good news for data centre operators?
Blanchot agrees, but reckons it is a little bit of a ‘chicken-and-egg’ situation – the technology cannot really take off until the capacity is there to enable it.
“We discuss this a lot with our customers, and urge them to think about the world tomorrow,” he says. “I can tell you that all the main telcos understood it well and see these trends coming.
“When we started Etix in 2012 and began investing in edge, I think it was a little early, but now the market is ready. There are more and more investors trying to develop huge platforms to invest in edge, because this is the future.”
If this is indeed the future, you can bet that Etix Everywhere will be there, leading from the front when it comes to edge data centres.