Publishing Date: Apr 20, 2022

Datacentres for better security

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PRESS RELEASE: Interxion is expanding at an accelerated pace in Belgium as it says it wants to erect a fourth data centre in Zaventem, for different reasons.

Not even a year after the announcement of ‘BRU 3', colocation provider Interxion, whose full name is Interxion: A Digital Realty Company, is making a big deal about its next big project: ‘BRU 4'. It is a question of a data centre of three floors, providing 13.6 megawatts of power to customers and occupying an area of ​​6,700 square meters devoted to their servers.

The new data centre will be built entirely from scratch, but the choice of location, close to BRU 3 in Zaventem, is partly due to the – difficult if any – to close BRU 2.

“When ‘we start building a data centre, the goal is to stay there for the long term. But the building we occupied with BRU 2 was sold with a view to creating student accommodation there,” explains Dirk van de Geer, managing director of Interxion.


“Our lease was for a few more years, but the reality is that a building full of student dorms is not an ideal location for a data centre. Don't be naïve: a data centre causes nuisance to those who live above it. Think of the generators that are tested monthly. The location is therefore under pressure due to complaints. That's why we looked for another place.”


“It happened at a time when a few large customers were asking us for more capacity, which led us to consider various options.”

The choice finally fell on a new building just behind BRU 3, itself a former IBM data centre which is currently being renovated and which will house the new offices of Interxion.

“We are in the rather small BRU 3, close to the much larger BRU 4.”


The whole process actually happened much faster than expected. “Obviously we were looking for land close to other existing data centres, so that we could extend the connectivity with fibre optics by 2-3 kilometres for cross-connection purposes,” says David Louis, sales manager at Interxion.


“So we find ourselves in Nossegem-Zaventem, a location that is ideal in combination with our existing infrastructure.”

The administrative journey also turned out to be better than expected. ‘We always fear a long process because of all the necessary permits, but in this case, everything happened surprisingly quickly. What helped us is that we received a lot of help from our suppliers, architects, consulting bodies, but also from the municipality. We are located in an industrial park that Zaventem intends to upgrade, and what the municipality did not want was a large building with a large daily comings and goings of people. A data centre is ideal in this respect: it certainly accommodates people, but in a relatively limited way.'

As with BRU 3, consideration will be given during construction to how the remaining heat from the data centre can be used to heat neighbouring businesses or homes.


Keep data locally

Interxion's expansion is not unique, as its competitor LCL is doing the same, while a cloud provider like Microsoft is also building a Belgian Azure data centre. In addition, there is still Google, which has been present in Belgium for years and has added new data centres there several times. And this, while our country was previously often set aside in favour of data centres located in Paris, London, Frankfurt or Amsterdam.

‘The ‘cloud' evolution of recent years plays a role in this,” says van de Geer.


“As well as the digital growth in Belgium and the obligations due to the GDPR, while the Belgian authorities clearly prefer that the data remain on the national territory. Although we obviously never ask the exact reasons why our customers require more space in Belgium.”

The fact that the Netherlands currently hardly allows the construction of new data centres has no impact. “Not at all. Customers who now need more capacity started thinking about it two years ago.”

van de Gerre also wants to qualify the criticism here, that data centres are big consumers of energy (and often buy green electricity in the Netherlands):

“Data centres remain essential for our economy. No one wants to own personal gear on such a scale. It is therefore preferable to opt for a cluster. If everyone did this in their own little data centre, it couldn't be as efficient. At the same time, what is needed is a reflection of the economy.”

BRU 4 will open in phases. On April 1, 2023, Interxion intends to finalise one and a half floors for immediate data centre use. From there, there will be space for new customers. A new acceptance of the works will take place six months later, while everything should be finished three to six months later, i.e. in 2024. ‘The corona is the main brake. As a result, delivery times are under pressure, which can result in delays,' concludes van de Gerre.


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