For multi-national companies rolling out data centers across multiple countries it can be a fine balancing act between adapting to local market conditions and regulatory requirements and at the same time taking a holistic approach to a businesses’ entire IT infrastructure across national boundaries and jurisdictions.
Mike Hughes is Senior Vice President of Schneider Electric’s IT Business in EMEA. I caught up with him at Data Centers Europe 2013 in Nice earlier this year and started by asking him to talk about some of the challenges faced by Schneider Electric customers that have multiple locations throughout Europe.
Mike said: “Yeah sure Damien and that’s a great question, and again it’s a big part of the discussions that we are having here at Data Centres Europe this week. A lot of our customers are having data centres in multiple countries, can be 3, can be 8, can be more, OK? And what their customer is demanding of them is to have the same level of service available whether the data center is in Moscow or it is in France.”
“Now what they are looking for companies like Schneider Electric to do, is to be there in those countries with the right competence, with the capabilities that they get in their home market for example, and to help them to deliver the same level of service around designing data centers, building data centers and operating data centres, so that for them they can give to their clients the same level of service. That’s a big discussion at the moment, a clear trend in the market, very exciting for us because that’s where we believe we are very well positioned to deliver that.”
I then asked Mike if this meant delivering ‘cookie-cutter’ data centers from one country to the next? This isn’t always seen to be prudent because even a simple thing like prevailing weather can have a significant effect upon data center infrastructure equipment choices. You only have to look at the various conditions within the countries comprising the EU, from climate to language and legislation.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of different regulations in each country. The electrical specifications are not the same, the norms for data centers are not the same, so that’s where the, let’s say the beauty and the complexity comes, is that yes you want the same but you cannot get exactly the same so you need to have a balance of local knowledge but also the central over-view of what’s going on. You don’t, as a customer, want to end up with 10 totally different data centers, much more difficult to manage, much less efficient but you still need a local knowledge to say ‘OK – this is how we meet the specifications but still keeping some harmony for the overall solution.’ ”
“Ultimately Schneider Electric is here to provide a unified solution to your IT infrastructure across the spectrum of countries that your business operates in. However, within this roll-out it is our knowledge and experience of the intricacies of local markets that allow us to build a capable and competent IT machine that functions across borders”.