$1.3bn data centre court war ends with operator accusing university of ‘deliberate sabotage’
By João Marques Lima Published: 00:15, 20 March, 2017 Updated: 00:15, 20 March, 2017
Data centre development was projected to occupy a piece-of-land of 43 acres and include a 279 MW power plant.
A two-year court lawsuit has been settled between the University of Delaware and Data Centers LLC after the provider accused the higher education institution of sabotaging its project to build a $1.3bn data centre complex and power plant where the university campus now sits.
The lawsuit has now been dismissed by judge Eric M. Davis of the Delaware Superior Court.
Both parties have been ordered to pay for the court fees and costs, according to Delaware Online.
Data Centers LLC opened the case in February 2015 and has been represented by law firm McCarter & English.
The company was expecting to get $5m to pay for ‘damages’ which it said amounted to $200m .
The provider alleged that the university had avoided community opposition to the data centre development and deliberately sabotaged the project which beforehand was in favour of.
In the lawsuit it reads: “Succinctly, the university repeatedly lied to the public to save the skins of its internal bureaucrats who had signed all the contracts to bring the project to Delaware, but who had failed to anticipate the backlash from local objectors and extremist activists.”
The data centre campus was planned to occupy an area of 43 acres and also include a 279 MW power plant to power the facilities.
The land has since then been turned into the Science Technology and Advanced Research Campus for the University of Delaware.
Pakistan inks South Korean deal on 42-acre IT park with data centre on the way
By João Marques Lima Published: 16:49, 22 March, 2017 Updated: 16:49, 22 March, 2017
Government also unveils plans to build two more technology parks in other major cities.
The government of Pakistan has unveiled plans to build one of the country’s largest IT parks ever which will count with a data centre and be able to accommodate more than one hundred IT companies.
The Islamabad park, part of the country’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Digital Pakistan vision, has been priced at 9.2bn rupee ($88m) and is going to be built with the help of a South Korean bank.
A$76.3m loan deal was signed between Pakistan’s Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Tariq Mahmood Pasha and executive director of Korean Exim Bank, Younghoon Chang.
Also present at the ceremony was the Minister for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rehman, the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and the Korean Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Dong-gu Suh.
The loan will be made under the Economic Development Cooperation Framework (EDCF) arrangement evaluated at $500m signed with Korea in October 2015.
The park is set to include a data centre, 500,000 sqf of office space and a capacity for more than 5,000 workers.
In addition, the park will also include gyms and other sports venues and day care facilities.
Dar said: “The government has a clear programme to a digital and financially inclusive Pakistan.
“[The park] will provide a conducive environment where IT companies would be able to work together and leverage each other’s expertise.
“Pakistan looks forward towards Korea for closer cooperation.”
Chang said: “Pakistan was making headway in the field of IT. Pakistan’s digital landscape will be further expanded through the new IT park.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, Rehman hinted that other IT parks will be built in other cities across the country.
She said: “After Islamabad, international standard information technology parks will also be set up in Karachi and Lahore.”
Denmark’s left calls for temporary BAN on new data centres over ‘disastrous’ renewable energy policy
By João Marques Lima Published: 01:02, 14 March, 2017 Updated: 01:02, 14 March, 2017
Parliamentary parties accuse government of hesitating in its own green energy policy, less than three months after Facebook announced its first Danish data centre.
A new report by Denmark’s Energy Regulatory Authority has caused much stir amongst the nation’s political class with calls made to parliament for a temporary ban on new data centre developments.
The controversial report predicts that Denmark will fail to reach its goal of powering the country’s energy needs through non-pollutant sources by 2030 if current policies continue to be followed.
This has led opposition party SF (Socialistik Folkeparti; Socialist People’s Party) and green political party Alternativet (The Alternative) to label the current situation a disaster and call for a moratorium on new data centres until national renewable energy plans match the country’s energy consumption.
Christian Poll, Alternativet’s spokesman for environment, climate, energy, agriculture, animal welfare, fishing, food and transport, said: “It will be a disaster for the climate and Denmark’s reputation if CO2 emissions rise by 2030, as the baseline projection anticipates.
“We already have a large task to ensure a green transition. A task the government has just made more complicated by eliminating the public service obligation (PSO) [tariff over power bills] and by opening the country to data centres.”
The SF party together with the Danish Unity party – which has no parliamentary representation -, both accused the government of hesitating around climate policy.
SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr said: “It is obvious that the plan to adopt renewable energy not only runs the risk of stalling, but also going backwards if we do not make agreements on new investments in the energy sector.”
However, despite the calls for action, it is unlikely that the SF, Alternativet and Unity’s plans to block data centre buildouts will take any effect as the three parties together only account to 16 of the 179 members of the Danish parliament.
In the last few months, Denmark has made headlines for its growing data centre ecosystem.
In January this year, Facebook unveiled plans to invest $100m in the construction of a data centre in the City of Odense.
The data centre has been projected to measure 607,084 sqf and will be built in a piece of land measuring more than 5.3 million sqf.
In October 2016, Apple announced an investment plan worth nearly $1bn in which it will invest $950m in the development of a large data centre campus in Foulum.
The first hub will have 166,000 sqm of data centre flooring and will be powered by 100% renewable energy. At the same time, Apple announced it would be investing $3m to be used on biogas research at University of Aarhus.
According to research firm BroadGroup, Denmark has 46 data centres, the second largest portfolio in the Nordics behind Sweden which tops 171 facilities.
Brexit. UK gov’t digital strategy vows to build infrastructure in search for £241bn data economy
By João Marques Lima Published: 11:22, 1 March, 2017 Updated: 11:57, 1 March, 2017
Department for Culture, Media and Sport also confirms the UK will adopt the GDPR once it comes into force in May 2018.
The UK government has released a seven-point digital strategy for the UK post-Brexit in which it promises to build a world-class digital infrastructure and ecosystem.
From mobile devices, to digital skills, enterprise digital transformation, cybersecurity and digital government, Downing Street has also for the first time laid out its intentions around data infrastructure, including data centres.
On point seven, “Data – unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use”, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport talks through its plans around the infrastructure that supports data processing and storage.
In the document it reads:
“Data infrastructure refers to the assets, technology, processes, and organisations that not only create data, but open it up and allow it to be shared.
“It includes storage facilities, software tools, networks, cyber-security systems, and data-management platforms.
“By strengthening our infrastructure we will create new opportunities for organisations to use data to produce market-changing new products and better public services.
“From easing travel congestion to enabling cheaper insurance, and from speeding up the development of new medicines to helping prevent crime, data has the potential to significantly improve people’s lives.
“This infrastructure is also integral to the successful development of technologies such as connected and autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and the Internet of Things.”
The government’s intention to build on the infrastructure supporting the data economy comes as research by Cebr and SAS shows that the cumulative value of big data and IoT to the UK economy between 2015 and 2020 is en route to top £322bn, about £54bn per year. In total, this is set to represent 2.7% of the UK’s GDP.
From 2015 to 2020, the companies estimate the total benefit to the UK economy of big data analytics to amount to £241bn, or £40bn on average per year. This is equivalent to an average of 2.0% of GDP.
In order to take full advantage of such economy, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has recognised that infrastructure is a crucial asset and data centres are at the heart of the digital age.
However, the data centre industry might experience in the first few months and even years following Brexit a slow-down, according to Keith Breed, research director at Tariff Consultancy.
He told Data Economy: “I suspect that there will be a slow-down in new speculative data centre schemes as there will be some business uncertainty. It seems certain that some financial service firms will relocate to other EU-based hubs. But total 3rd party UK Data Centre space is the largest in Europe – over 700,000m2 – so perhaps growth will level off as the market matures and power and space usage becomes more efficient.
“Also, the investment by Cloud Providers (IBM, Microsoft, AWS, Google, OVH) in the UK will continue due to their need to cater for data sovereignty issues.
“In balance data centre growth is likely to be lower than in the past, due mainly to market maturity, but with opportunities in the UK regions away from London.”
In the digital strategy paper, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “We must ensure businesses and government are able to use data in innovative and effective ways.
“This includes creating a strong data infrastructure, having a high level of regulatory compliance, developing a data-literate workforce, and increasing the number of people with advanced data skills.”
Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK said: “This Digital Strategy is an important step forward for the UK’s world leading digital economy. It’s both ambitious and comprehensive, and most importantly, it recognises how strategically important our digital know-how is for the rest of the UK economy.
“Importantly, the Strategy recognises that digital is disparate – it is both a sector but also an enabler as technology helps to transform existing industries. That is why the Strategy shrewdly brings together the range of policy areas that underpin digital, recognising that effective policymaking cannot be done in isolation.
“Recognition that data is the lifeblood of the digital economy is spot on, as is the pledge to ensure the UK is at the forefront of robust and effective data protection regulation. Above all, our data must be secure so the emphasis on cyber security is paramount.”
The government has also confirmed that the UK will implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by May 2018.
“This will ensure a shared and higher standard of protection for consumers and their data across Europe and beyond,” it said in the digital strategy document.
“As part of our plans for the UK’s exit from the EU, we will be seeking to ensure that data flows remain uninterrupted, and will be considering all the available options that will provide legal certainty for businesses and individuals alike.”
Building a data centre? Data privacy regulations now weigh more than tax reductions
By João Marques Lima Published: 13:14, 16 February, 2017 Updated: 13:14, 16 February, 2017
With GDPR to come into force next year, operators are having to re-adapt to the new reality in Europe as governments take data regulation to the next level.
The increasing number of data privacy regulations, both business and personal data, is leading the data centre industry to choose locations for new builds based on regulation and less on tax reductions.
That is according to the “2017 Fact Sheet” published by the Dutch Datacenter Association (DDA) in collaboration with legal advice agency ICTRecht.
The paper says: “Data has quickly become one of the most valuable assets of many companies and organisations. Privacy and the protection of data is a pivotal concern for businesses around the globe.
“The time that businesses let their location choice depend upon national tax laws has already been banned to the past for a long time. Nowadays, the really interesting and valuable good seems to be the protection of privacy and personal data.”
The association has looked at the upcoming changes that will change the data landscape in Europe with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018.
The GDPR is aimed at creating a, fragmentation free, legal data protection system within all the Member States of the European Union (EU). For companies, the EU will become one large playing field that provides for obstacle free cross-border flows of personal data within the Union, the DDA said.
Taking the Netherlands as an example, the DDA explains that currently, data protection is within the country arranged by the ‘Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens’ (Wbp). However, the Wbp will be replaced by the GDPR once it comes into force.
The DDA warns that privacy regulation compliancy will increasingly become a valuable proposition for any company that handles privacy sensitive data.
Failure to follow the rules in the GDPR could lead to fines of a maximum amount of €20m or 4% of the worldwide annual turnover of a company.
Stijn Grove, managing director of the DDA: “A rapidly growing amount of data is stored within Dutch borders and distributed through the Netherlands to Europe and beyond. Dutch data centres are renowned for their reliability, very thorough privacy and data integrity safeguards and dedication to privacy related certification and compliancy.
“In addition, the broader Dutch digital infrastructure is well suited to serve as Digital Gateway to Europe. These two assets combined, as well as the favourable geographical position of the Netherlands in Europe, make our country a very popular place to distribute data from.
“As a part of the EU Single Digital Market, the Netherlands is ideal for the distribution of data and digital services to other European countries.”