Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Data4 is a relatively young company in our country, although it has more than 16 years of experience in Europe. Its growth in Spain is based on a network of highly connected, resilient and sustainable data center campuses. We spoke with Juan Vaamonde, his country manager in our country, about the formula for the success of his “data center campuses”.

Interview with Juan Vaamonde, country manager of Data4

For those who don’t know you, what is Data4?
Data4 is a Group that finances, builds and operates its own data centers. Our proposal is based on offering our clients secure, scalable and high-performance data hosting solutions. In my opinion, one of our main values ​​is that we are a 100% European supplier. We have been in this task for more than 16 years and right now we are managing 26 data centers distributed between France, Spain, Italy and Poland and Luxembourg. This means that we have more than 137 hectares of land and more than 384 megawatts of installed power. Another aspect that also makes us a little different is our campus model, in which what we seek is to create a safe environment for our clients. Security that not only affects the data center itself, but also the outside and what surrounds the data center. For example, in our campus model, we have different buildings within the same geographical area in such a way that communications run in a controlled environment, which makes it easier to manage any risks that may exist. That is, if, for example, the typical case of an excavator that can break a fiber line were given, because the campus is a controlled environment, nois provides an advantage that means that it does not have repercussions for the client. Finally, another important characteristic is that we want to be responsible with our environment, and thus we have a clear commitment to sustainability that is part of our innovation strategy.
Your business is that companies migrate to your data centers, but this is a very competitive market. Why should you migrate a data center?
Migration must be understood as a process. Currently, the data center is already something that requires specialization and the need for increasingly well-trained professionals who know how to manage it. And this, it is increasingly difficult for companies to find it. We provide that expertise. With the advent of the cloud and the movement of services to it, companies are reducing the size of their own data centers, so having an on-premises data center is becoming increasingly obsolete. So organizations are undergoing a restructuring process to optimize costs. We know that migration is a complex issue and represents a barrier for our clients, but we have a very client-oriented approach and we want to be with the client from the beginning, adding value to this migration and facilitating and being with him from the beginning in a process that is complex, requires a lot of planning and involves risks. Also, once a customer relationship is established, it is long term. Normally we talk about contracts of five or ten years, so the client will appreciate that he has a partner at his side who is specialized in what he does, who accompanies him at all times and who allows him to optimize his IT costs. .

Juan Vaamonde, country manager of Data4Juan Vaamonde, country manager of Data4. Photographs of Jesus Umbria
Yes, but we are talking about a market with many suppliers. What do you offer that is different?
Clearly our customer orientation. Our main value is based on generating trust with our clients and that we always go hand in hand. I usually say that it is similar to high-end restaurants, where the kitchen is behind glass, and the customer can see at all times how the dishes are prepared and what material is used. Here it is the same, the client sees at all times how we work. We don’t hide anything. To establish this relationship of trust, it is important that there is coordination between us and the client. We trust our experience and we know that the data center is a very important element for the client and that the companies that work with us can see from the first day. Another important point is the commitment to sustainability. Companies are giving more and more value to energy efficiency and we are clearly committed to offering the least possible environmental impact.
How complex is it to migrate the data center? How are they attracting customers?
It is a very complex process. We are aware of its complexity and right now it is a significant barrier to entry, especially for companies like us that have just arrived in the Spanish market and we find potential clients who have contracts with other competitors. We see that many of them are not completely satisfied with their services, but since the process is complex, they have a hard time deciding to make the change. Because here not only the factor of cost or the services that can be provided comes into play, but for example the risks that they believe they can encounter when making the migration. For this reason, our commitment to accompany the client from the beginning and at all times is important. We want the client to participate in this migration process and to experience the improvement of the service that the change can bring.

We are seeing how many companies continue to have their own data centers. Is this an outdated policy, especially considering the rise of the cloud?
I believe that it will be less and less frequent to find companies that have their own data center in their facilities. The majority trend is to lean more on integrators, on companies that offer services and that they are the ones that provide companies with solutions to meet their needs. It is about companies going about their business and others managing hardware and energy and space and air conditioning. This is happening in numerous sections. As far as the data center is concerned, and this is what differentiates us from other competitors, our campus policy means that we have everything in a space where everything is controlled, where the client sees that there are important physical security guarantees, as well as guarantees of electricity supply and air conditioning that will keep your equipment working at all times.
But it can also be managed from a fully cloud environment…
That’s not happening either. We see that a hybrid model is taking hold, because it has been seen that the cloud does not fully optimize costs. In the end, companies see that certain services are convenient and more profitable both technically and economically to have them in the cloud, but there are others that interest us in having our own data center. The point is that, for example, having your own 250 kW data center is much more inefficient and much more insecure from the point of view of physical security, than going to a colocation provider that will guarantee you that the risks will be minimal.

One of the sections that customers value most is security. How does Data4 work in this regard?
The cybersecurity and protection of your data must be carried out by the client. What we offer are cybersecurity tools for our environment and our facilities. We have, for example, a building monitoring management system to ensure that it is not accessible by someone external. The logical security part is managed by the client, but we complement it with that physical security, making sure that before someone can touch a piece of equipment or a rack belonging to our clients, they have had to go through at least seven different security controls. . In addition, our own clients subject us to audits to verify that the security is what we promise.

By Alvaro Rivers

Award-winning student. Incurable social media fanatic. Music scholar. Beer maven. Writer.