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Looking beyond Brexit - inward investment to Poland

Warsaw is a magnet for data centres

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Cloud computing, AI and 5G are accelerating the growth of data centre development around the world. Increased demand for IT services and the rapid growth of e-commerce are key drivers of the growing interest of global tech companies across CEE. Warsaw is a hotspot for data centre development, says a report from global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

According to the firm’s Data Centre European Secondary Markets report, Warsaw has received considerable interest from hyperscalers [IT infrastructure providers that can scale up service provision seamlessly] and developers as they determines how best to service the CEE markets. As the largest city in Poland (and among the largest regionally), Warsaw has attracted considerable investment from international companies, headlined by Microsoft’s recent decision to invest over $1 billion in local infrastructure, training, and cloud services for enterprises and government. Not to be outdone, Google has made its own $2 billion investment announcement, expecting its own cloud region and associated infrastructure to go live this year. Global data centre REIT Equinix has three locations in Warsaw; edge-computing player EdgeConneX is a more recent entrant that has announced relationships with Megaport and Ori Industries for improved local connectivity. These companies are joined by Italian cloud firm Aruba, locally-based Atman with two large facilities, and a host of smaller operators. Of note is American hyperscale operator Vantage, which plans on entering the market in 2021 with the first phase of a campus that will consume 64 MW of power at full build-out, or double the current size.

“We are now witnessing a revolution in data centre development. Large companies and governments alike continue their technological transformation on an ever larger scale. This is also illustrated by figures - hyperscale cloud spend alone was an €8.7 billion business in 2019, with an anticipated rise to an incredible €50 billion by 2024. Paradoxically, the pandemic crisis is likely to accelerate this transformation as a host of new locations have joined the data center landscape across Europe and the world. Tech companies are now focused on European capitals such as Warsaw, Vienna, Madrid, Berlin and Prague,” says Joanna Sinkiewicz, partner, head of Industrial & Logistics Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.

Data centres, once an afterthought for global enterprises, are now a cornerstone of the information economy, and well over $100 billion has poured into the asset class over the past decade, according to Cushman & Wakefield's Global Data Centre Market Comparison report. The 2020 pandemic accelerated the change in corporate IT strategy, as companies rapidly shifted to the cloud. Continuation and optimization of this shift will continue throughout the next several years, creating further emphasis on cloud services availability and data center development.

“We should remember that data center operators report non-standard expectations – such facilities have to meet specific technical requirements for security, availability of utilities and distance from large city centres,” says Ms Sinkiewicz.

Construction of new product has skyrocketed, with 1.6 GW of power consumption under construction across markets studied last year swelling to 2.9 GW this year. Emerging markets continue to grow in importance, with areas particularly in Europe and Asia of interest as some workloads move to the edge. These secondary locales often provide greater margins for data center operators, with some growing to primary market status in future. Read more in Cushman & Wakefield's Data Centre European Secondary Markets report.

“Looking ahead, Poland’s data centre development potential is likely to grow. In addition to such advantages as Poland’s geographic position in Europe and competitive land prices in comparison with other countries, there is also developers’ growing experience in delivering such projects and the experience of the government and utility suppliers who are critical in such undertakings,” says Kamil Żach, senior negotiator, Industrial & Logistics Agency, Cushman & Wakefield.

The Global Data Centre Market Comparison is the first data centre report of its kind, describing and ranking top markets for site selection and investment. This study reveals the thought process that underpins all data centre work on behalf of clients at Cushman & Wakefield, providing a rigorous and analytical approach for maximum value.

The study evaluated 1,189 data centres around the world, using a unique weighted methodology to rank 48 global markets and arrive at our Overall Top Ten markets. Key emerging data centre markets are also identified in the Ten Markets to Watch section.

To download the full report, click here.

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