Interxion: The Marseille connection

Interxion: The Marseille connection

Interxion is set to open its second Marseille data centre, MRS2. Director of strategy and market development Mike Hollands tell us opportunities this offers the industry

Interxion is to have its opening ceremony for its second data centre in Marseille (Interxion MRS2) next week (May 16th). What’s driving demand for colo services in that market?

Marseille is Europe’s gateway to and from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The 13 submarine cable systems that land in Marseille connect the city to 43 different countries in these markets. Network Operators, content providers and cloud platforms therefore find Marseille a very cost effective and efficient location from which to serve multiple markets, and this is the key driver of demand.

Can you give some indication of the growth that Marseille has experienced over the last two or three years?

Marseille has transformed from a transit location to one where data is stored and exchanged. Over the last three years the number of connectivity providers with network infrastructure in Interxion MRS1 has grown from 50 to over 130.  Within that we have seen strongest growth from international network operators from China, India and Africa. 

Another indication of he city's growth as an interconnection hub is the number of networks joining the exchanges present in Marseille (DE-CIX, France-IX, NL-ix and NetIX).  Traffic flows are switching from more northern European cities to Marseille as networks exploit the technical advantages of peering privately and publicly in Marseille.

Do you expect more submarine cable systems to land in Marseille?

Yes, there are a number of subsea projects that are currently finalising technical evaluations for terminating in Marseille before the end of 2019.  These projects will see the total potential capacity in Marseille double from today’s 152Tbps to 320Tbps.

Why does Marseille continue to be so attractive for submarine cable systems?

Firstly, the community of interest present in Marseille’s data centres is a ready-made market place for the subsea operators.  The success of projects such as AAE-1 and SMW-5 illustrates how the commercial viability of a cable system is enhanced when so many potential buyers of capacity are in the same data centre as the system’s SLTEs.

Secondly, the local authorities in Marseille have an integrated vision for transforming the city into a digital hub.  This includes facilitating the landing of submarine cables in the city, ensuring the permits and infrastructure needed is in place to accelerate project timescales.

And finally, the large number of backhaul providers (over 30) connecting Marseille to other key European cities ensures operators of subsea traffic have a wide range of commercial and technical offers to select from. This is a key ingredient for making the city a true gateway – serving the needs of traffic coming to Europe as well as that departing.

Is Interxion’s second data centre in Marseille simply a case of adding colocation capacity to the city?

That’s certainly part of the story, as demand is high from content platforms wishing to take advantage of Marseille strategic location.  However, Interxion MRS2 also provides diversity to our customers. Six backhaul providers have already deployed their networks into the facility, offering routes out of Marseille that are independent of our existing data centre, Interxion MRS1.  

How do you see Marseille developing in the future?

The density of connectivity providers will continue to grow, but the biggest transformation (already well underway) will see Marseille become a leading location for the storage and processing of content. The symbiotic relationship between the connectivity community already present and digital media and cloud platforms is clear. 

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