Edging towards the future
Big Interview

Edging towards the future

Giuliano Di Vitantonio AtlasEdge.jpg

Giuliano Di Vitantonio, CEO of AtlasEdge, tells Capacity’s Natalie Bannerman about his company’s plans for expanding and building out its global edge platform.

AtlasEdge has been going though a period been of advancement. Formed by a joint investment by Liberty Global and DigitalBridge, this European edge data centre platform has gone from strength to strength. Following the company’s acquisition of Germany’s Datacenter One, Giuliano Di Vitantonio, AtlasEdge’s chief executive, told Capacity where the deal, and others it is developing, sits within the company’s wider expansion and growth plans.

“Our mission is to build a Europe-leading edge platform. We have a plan to take data centre capacity to more and more locations across Europe,” says Vitantonio. “If you look at the market today, it’s concentrated in around 30-40 markets across all of Europe, and we believe that over the next decade, we’re going to see at least 100-150 markets become relevant – possibly even more.”

Germany is top of that list of the countries where this is likely to happen first. Due to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), which Vitantonio says is “better distributed” and not concentrated in a big city, such as with London or Paris, meaning “there’ll be more and more need for a distributed data centric capacity to support that”.

Additionally, Germany has distributed in-country digital infrastructure, with at least four or five markets, in addition to Frankfurt, as European hubs, such as Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich. “And we see that pattern continuing, with maybe markets like Stuttgart, Cologne and so on,” says Vitantonio. “That’s why Datacenter One was a very natural addition to our portfolio.”

Towards the latter part of 2022, AtlasEdge became a signatory of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, joining trade associations representing data centre owners and operators within the European Union.

The decision to join the Pact comes from a combination of corporate responsibility and driving towards a more sustainable data centre industry, the other part is role of edge computing in sustainability.

“We believe that edge is actually part of the answer, because part of the problem with having all these massive data centres in the main four markets in Europe – the famous FLAP markets, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris – is that it makes sustainability challenges much, much harder,” says Vitantonio.

Spreading out

AtlasEdge customers are saying that distributing capacity into more locations means it can be better managed and makes sustainability problems more trackable.

“Also, when you look at initiatives like recycling heat or recycling emissions that we produce as a data centre provider, when you can actually do this at the local level in a more distributed fashion, you have more people who benefit from those initiatives,” Vitantonio adds.

Most recently, AtlasEdge and Megaport inked a partnership that will see AtlasEdge use Megaport’s on-demand software-defined networking (SDN) technology across its portfolio. Under the terms of the collaboration, the initial phase of the partnership will begin by making two of AtlasEdge’s UK locations Megaport-enabled.

“Customers who are in our data centre, they want to access the cloud and carriers,” says Vitantonio. “We’re not isolated pockets. We’re part of this global digital infrastructure and having players like Megaport is absolutely critical for enabling that connectivity across the different assets.”

As a carrier-neutral player, AtlasEdge believes that to create the most value for customers it must give them access to multiple carriers, so from its outset the company decided against becoming a single-carrier provider, hinting that its partnership with Megaport is going to be the first of many.

Subsea also seems a natural fit for AtlasEdge’s ecosystem, with Vitantonio commenting that “we’re establishing partnership with those guys”, without giving any names, but that this work is still in the “early stages”.

Software, particularly automation, is something that AtlasEdge is continually invests in, specifically for operating and managing its data centre. Vitantonio says this is “so customers can get access to information on their deployments, and they can access to information on energy which is becoming increasingly important”.

Understanding the applications that are driving demand for edge services is central to AtlasEdge’s offering, and is being driven by a few trends. The first is ‘cloud out’, where cloud deployment is highly centralised, but smaller nodes or local zones are moving closer and closer to end users.

“Then there is, what we call the ‘edge in’, where the application requires more data to be stored and processed in close proximity to the end user,” says Vitantonio.

With the macroeconomic picture still uncertain, Vitantonio predicts a 2023 will be more manageable than 2022, largely owing to “stabilisation, both in energy prices and supply chain and inflation”.

AtlasEdge’s roadmap is pretty clear, according to Vitantonio, as the company will be “taking our customers to more and more markets”. “2023 is a year of expansion for us,” the CEO confidently adds.

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