A number of multinational firms have invested heavily in building huge data centers in Greece over the past two years. After over a decade of being at the bottom of data gathering in southwest Europe, Greece is slowly becoming a European data super hub.
The acquisition of Lamda Hellix by Digital Realty earlier this month was the largest one of a technology and information company in Greece. It was also one of the largest acquisitions of a Greek company, regardless of economic sector.
Digital Realty launched its construction of the new Lamda Hellix Data Center in Koropi in early October, with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis officiating at the ceremony. The PM said the new investment was a vote of confidence in the “great effort we make for Greece to be at the forefront of the digital transformation of its economy.”
The Athens 3 data center inside the campus in Koropi, will be the largest data center in the country. It will have a capacity of 6.8MW, larger than the total capacity of the operating data centers in Greece. It will also be able to house more than 50,000 servers.
This investment, topping €70 million, will be completed by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, Digital Realty will submit plans for the approval of building conditions for Athens 4, also within the data center campus.
Athens 4 is an additional data center of equal capacity (6.8MW ) with Athens 3 and and an equal amount of investment. The company is now studying the design and construction of additional data centers, both in Attica and in Northern and Southern Greece.
The Digital Realty investment comes a year after Microsoft Corporation announced its “GR for GRowth” initiative. It is a significant technological commitment to support the people, government and businesses in Greece with technology and resources.
Microsoft announced its intent to build new data centers that will establish a Microsoft Cloud region in the country. In this way, Greece will join the world’s largest cloud infrastructure footprint, delivering access to low-latency, enterprise-grade cloud services.
Microsoft data centers all over Greece
Additionally, Microsoft also announced its plan to skill approximately 100,000 Greek people in digital technologies by 2025. They will include public sector, business and IT professionals, educators, and students, to support the digital transformation of public and private organizations.
Last May, Cloudrock announced the creation of “smart” data centers in the wider Attica region within the next 5 years. The investment from the firm, which provides “smart” data center services, will be in the amount of €2.5 to 3 million.
Cloudrock seeks to make data centers “smarter,” utilizing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). The company is based in Agios Stefanos, Attica, where its 1,000 sq.meter (10,763 square-foot) privately-owned data center is located. To date, the company has invested over €1 million.
The Cloudrock investment might look insignificant, compared to those of Microsoft and Digital Realty, but it follows a trend. The Greek company joins the ranks of data service providers who see Greece as the next big data hub on the continent.
Another Greek cloud service firm announced last December is the creation of a carrier neutral data center in northern Greece. Lancom is constructing an all-new proprietary facilities are being constructed in the Kalochori area of Thessaloniki.
It will be built on an initial plot of 2,500 square meters (26,909 square feet), with a planned expansion to 10,000 square meters. To be named “Balkan Gate I,” it will be directly connected with all main national, Balkan, and international telecommunications providers. Balkan Gate I will operate exclusively as a carrier-neutral data center.
It will offer the full spectrum of Cloud and Data Center solutions. The new building will house Lancom’s research and development department on Cloud, Big Data, AI, and IoT. It will also include an innovative hub that will host startup companies focusing on the aforementioned technologies.
Along with the data/cloud service investments, the satellite internet technology is another area where Greece is exceeding. Last July, Hellas Sat successfully completed a live demonstration of 5G satellite back-hauling capabilities in Greece.
New Greek 5G satellite
The Greek company, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year, recently launched its own 5G satellite. It was fully integrated into the 5G network and received 5G transmissions from the Earth. It then delivered them to remote Greek areas.
And then there’s Elon Musk‘s Starlink internet service’s official launch, which comes at the end of the month. It will provide internet access through a network of low-Earth-orbiting (Low Earth Orbit-LEO) satellites.
There are two reasons driving these massive investments from data providers to Greece. The first has to do with its virgin data status. The country has yet to embrace technology to its full potential, thus the government is leading the way to Greece’s “digitization.”
This opens the ground for tech investors around the world. Taking advantage of the opportunities the country offers to digital creators, multinational data providers are investing in a local market with close to zero competition.
The second reason has to do with the country’s geolocation. Situated between two continents and being the entry to a third, Greece appears to be an ideal intercontinental data hub.
Data executives see Greece as a major link location for the data stream coming from Asia and Africa to Europe – and vice versa. So the country could be heading towards the second major data center in Europe, after Marseilles.
The French port city has become Europe’s biggest data transfer route in the last six years. Hundreds of millions of euros have been poured into the city, creating thousands of meters of fiber optic underwater cables. Google and Facebook are already planning on creating thousands more.
So, has Greece found its economic Shangri-La in international data and cloud services? Only time will tell. For the moment, just the much needed job-creating investments will have to do.