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The data centres driving technology hub dreams

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As Cyprus boldly steps into the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, data centres are multiplying in order to meet the growing demand of businesses that recognise the island’s potential as a regional technology and business hub.

Providing extensive connectivity at the crossroads of Europe, Middle East and Africa – enhanced at the national level by the development of FTTH and 5G infrastructure and services – Cyprus is revealing herself to be an ideal destination to establish a digital or physical presence.

This digital transformation has accelerated during the global pandemic and many businesses are moving into ecommerce, driven by consumer demand, the need to work from home, technology on demand, start-ups and the availability of EU funding.  All these factors are contributing to high business growth and great future prospects.

Connectivity and location are also the main draws for data centre investors. As data centre migration is also a highly complex process, tenants usually remain in place for more than ten years, offering investors a long-term income stream as well as a measure of security.

In layman’s terms, a data centre is a building, or dedicated space, that houses computer systems and their associated components such as telecommunications and storage systems. As IT operations are crucial to business continuity, they generally include redundant or backup components and infrastructure for power supply, data communication connections, environmental controls and various security devices.

Today, Cyprus is home to a number of data centres, including CL8 and CytaGlobal.

CytaGlobal recently signed an agreement to participate in the new PEACE subsea cable system, connecting Asia, Africa and Europe – which will be operational in the beginning of 2022 – increasing significantly available network capacity and resilience.

According to a survey released at the end of the last year conducted by Real Estate Europe, data centres were among the top ten sectors to invest in, following logistics facilities and residential-based assets classes. Experts also predicted that demand would grow dramatically within the next five years.

Globally, there are currently 63.4 million square feet of data-centre space, and another 4.3 million square feet under construction. One of the developments pushing the trend is the roll-out of 5G. Another apparent draw for investors is the scope for profit with returns said to be higher than traditional real estate sectors.

Invest Cyprus has been quick to recognise this ‘alternative real estate’, understanding the island’s potential for data centres as well as the huge economic advantages the industry can bring to the island.

CEO George Campanellas said: “Data centres offer various facilities and services such as colocation cabinets, disaster recovery, connectivity and private suits as well as the hosting of individual servers. Therefore, they have become an integral part of our ecosystem to meet the demand of increasing foreign tech investments into Cyprus and the expansion of multinational companies into the region via Cyprus, the latest example being the multinational fintech company, Murex.

“Being a full member of the EU and part of the British Commonwealth, Cyprus is strategically placed to bridge the gap between the EU and MENA, making the island an ideal location with bright prospects for investments in state-of-the-art data centres.

“In the coming years, we expect to see even greater interest from multinational organisations providing cloud services – such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – in order to cater to the increased business triggered by the uptick in remote working due to the pandemic.”

Given the ever-evolving nature of the tech industry, digital entrepreneurs and state players are already exploring future ideas and investment opportunities such as the establishment of a public cloud provider by entering into partnerships with giants such as Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle. Other initiatives include the establishment of private cloud providers to host enterprises and private data centres covering the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region from Cyprus.

CytaGlobal has two data centres in Cyprus, located in Nicosia and Limassol, certified with ISO 27001 and compliant with the European Union Data Protection Act GDPR, offering data security, daily backup and data encryption which can serve customers demand for hosting, cloud or any other tailor-made solution that might be required. Cyta has plans to enhance these services offering by developing a new Data Centre facility that will embrace the latest technologies in operations including energy use.

Yiannis Hadjikyprianou of CytaGlobal said: “Through investing in international state-of-the-art infrastructures, Cyta aims to enhance its role as an international telecommunications service provider and a telecommunications bridge between East and West.”

According to a survey released at the end of the last year conducted by Real Estate Europe, data centres were among the top ten sectors to invest in, following logistics facilities and residential-based assets classes. Experts also predicted that demand would grow dramatically within the next five years.

Globally, there are currently 63.4 million square feet of data-centre space, and another 4.3 million square feet under construction. One of the developments pushing the trend is the roll-out of 5G. Another apparent draw for investors is the scope for profit with returns said to be higher than traditional real estate sectors.

Invest Cyprus has been quick to recognise this ‘alternative real estate’, understanding the island’s potential for data centres as well as the huge economic advantages the industry can bring to the island.

CEO George Campanellas said: “Data centres offer various facilities and services such as colocation cabinets, disaster recovery, connectivity and private suits as well as the hosting of individual servers. Therefore, they have become an integral part of our ecosystem to meet the demand of increasing foreign tech investments into Cyprus and the expansion of multinational companies into the region via Cyprus, the latest example being the multinational fintech company, Murex.

“Being a full member of the EU and part of the British Commonwealth, Cyprus is strategically placed to bridge the gap between the EU and MENA, making the island an ideal location with bright prospects for investments in state-of-the-art data centres.

“In the coming years, we expect to see even greater interest from multinational organisations providing cloud services – such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS – in order to cater to the increased business triggered by the uptick in remote working due to the pandemic.”

Given the ever-evolving nature of the tech industry, digital entrepreneurs and state players are already exploring future ideas and investment opportunities such as the establishment of a public cloud provider by entering into partnerships with giants such as Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle. Other initiatives include the establishment of private cloud providers to host enterprises and private data centres covering the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region from Cyprus.

Investors and multinationals can easily move here, with minimal entry barriers enjoying all the benefits of cloud computing and cloud economics; pay-as-you-go, no big upfront IT investments, expand on demand, expertise and security,” he said,

“We are also seeing great initiatives to digitally transform public sector processes and procedures, and cloud computing can help achieve this faster and at a lower cost.  Transforming slow bureaucratic government processes to digital is another big advantage which is constantly improving.

“Our strategy is to align with the public cloud and partnerships with global leaders such as Microsoft enabling our customers to have a unified, hybrid, multi-cloud architecture with the public cloud. Our customers enjoy the advantages of all worlds, local datacentre, a personalized customer centric approach, together with the benefits of the public cloud, like Azure, Microsoft 365, Equinix and others. All these under a single contract, one support organization, and no finger pointing when things go wrong.”

In addition to its strategic geographical position, and access to EU markets, Cyprus also provides a safe “disaster recovery location” for businesses based in neighbouring countries with political and security issues. Business are able to relocate to Cyprus and immediately continue their business operations.

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