Impact of COVID-19
The coronavirus crisis underlines this necessity. The fact that many of us have been forced to work from home in recent months has resulted in a huge increase in data traffic. ‘Many of our customers have had to increase capacity, especially to ensure communication via Zoom, Skype or Teams is possible for those working from home,’ explains Schless. ‘Not only the Netherlands but the whole world started working from home, and we witnessed this increase in our data centres.’
The company, which began life as a start-up in YESDelft as The Datacenter Group, has developed into a regional player in the past few years. The merger with NLDC (the former data centre business of KPN) last year was the reason for the change of name to NorthC, a reference to the expression to follow your true north. ‘It symbolises our mission to do our utmost for our customers,’ says Schless. The ‘C’ stands for customer, cloud, connectivity and content.
Connectivity has progressed in leaps and bounds, and this explains NorthC’s success. In the past it was necessary to be located in the vicinity of the AMS-IX (Amsterdam Internet Exchange) for fast internet connectivity, but the introduction of fibre-optic cabling has meant that this is no longer the case. And this makes regional data centres more appealing for companies as they can remain in the vicinity of where their data is stored. The building in Delft is located close to an international ‘highway’ for fibre-optic cables. This is an essential requirement if you are to function as a connectivity hub and is therefore one of the reasons why NorthC set up on TU Delft Campus.
But there are other reasons too. ‘The university is located here, as well as other tech companies,’ explains Schless. ‘It is beneficial for a data centre to be located in the middle of such a technological environment.’ NorthC provides network services to TU Delft and has also helped start-ups in the past. The company also buys renewable energy together with TU Delft and is looking into sustainable ways of using the residual heat that is produced.