back to article London tipped to lead European data market. Yes, despite Brexit!

London will remain the most important European market for data, according to a report from data centre giant Equinix – even with Brexit looming and Frankfurt catching up. The firm yesterday published its second annual Global Interconnection Index, which measures global traffic exchange, interconnection, or direct and private …

  1. Chris Miller

    Having glanced at the report, it's not clear what it's measuring. What happened to AMSIX, for instance?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      AMSIX is deprecated as a function of geography, and probably 'services'. The report's focused on interconnection, because that's the game Equinix is in. So it flogs bitbarn space and rents people expensive cables to interconnect services.

      From an Internet/telecomms perspective, the UK benefitted from being an endpoint for most transatlantic cables, and intermediary for Europe-US connectivity. Traditional 'Global' players did the old FLAPS (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm) for European connectivity, and RoW connections flowed through London. Ish. Or Cornwall/Dover, but they're less sexy. Then there's the exciting world of high finance and high frequency gambling. Equinix also hosts a lot of that and offers the ability to interconnect with international trading exchanges from the comfort of Slough. So many transactions zipping through the UK. Then there's stuff like the UK's role in other exchanges, like the ICE or Baltic exchanges.

      And i guess for the 21st Century, tax minimisation has also helped the UK. So Microsoft/Google/Amazon/Apple etc all operate out of Ireland, which is mostly connected to the RoW via cables across the Irish Sea to the UK. Equinix also sells connectivity to AWS from the comfort of Slough. That doesn't necessarily help with latency, but tax efficiency is more important to the owners.

      So geographically, Amsterdam's kind of out on a limb, and topologically speaking, it's usually more of a node than a hub/transit point. Frankfurt tends to do better in that respect as a gateway into Eastern Europe, and sometimes Russia/China/Asia avoiding the wet bits via the Med and around India. Amsterdam may pick up some of that traffic via Baltic routes, but far less than UK's position as gateway to the US.

      But the shift to 'Cloud' hasn't helped Equinix or other bit-barns. They've relied on customers collocating their servers in Equnix facilities. If customers are instead shifting services into AWS servers, Equinix loses revenues from rackspace rental. Faced with that decline, it's been looking to capitalise as an exchange point between services and make money renting cables between service providers, hence this survey.

  2. LegalAlien

    The report...

    ... https://equinix.box.com/shared/static/8z38w0gjkbsajgzkaq3qoelalop5hr6x.pdf does not really have the Brexit/data protection/adequancy decision angle that the author claims. It is purely about bandwidth and global/regional interconnect volume forecasting, and it's not clear the report has actually taken Brexit into account (it's not mentioned once).

    Whether the UK gets an adequacy decision is certainly an open item. The Commission has taken the UK to task for years on its surveillance activities and other data protection/privacy shortcomings, and that pressure is only going to be greater if/when UK no longer a full EU member. Just like the UK taking banking jobs and automative jobs from the UK post-Brexit, it does not take a wild imagination to assume that EU countries/businesses will be looking to use GDPR (non) compliance as a means to exert competitive pressure against the UK post-brexit (if brexit goes ahead, which for full transparency, I hope it does not)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: The report...

      An adequacy decision ? Frankly I think UK Gov is dreaming there. With the current rise of heckles around privacy, and Europe already forcing Microsoft and others to have data centers on EU territory not under MS hold in order to block any overzealous (aka the usual) US judge from having immediate access, I highly doubt that the UK, with its privileged ties to the US (and to the NSA) will get a buddy treatment on that point.

      Just like I highly doubt that the UK will get preferential treatment on any point. You're leaving and that's it. Once you're gone, you don't get to keep a set of keys.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    London Ahead?

    Not if Barnier has his way.

    How about we agree to your plan for the border in Ireland and in return, all London financial markets move to Frankfurt? Oh, and that includes Lloyds btw.

    Deal or No Deal?

    1. Doogie Howser MD

      Re: London Ahead?

      Let's be honest, it's all about the cash. Even if the UK leaves without a "favourable" deal (whatever that means), if UK tax laws get even more lax to encourage big business, that will be the deciding factor. How big are my bonuses?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: London Ahead?

        "if UK tax laws get even more lax to encourage big business, that will be the deciding factor."

        A delicate balance to reach. If they become too lax, they'll be branded a tax haven, and EU entities will face additional hurdles and scrutiny when dealing with them.

    2. Justthefacts

      Re: London Ahead?

      Deal!

      Engineering Reality check. Ignore Brexit, the major investment banks would love to save Square Mile rent by moving to cheaper premises. But the latency for HFT trading means that *even going outside the M25* is just too much to remain competitive. And you propose Frankfurt?! That’s nearly 10ms behind London to the crucial transatlantic connectors, which land in Cornwall. It’s physics light flight time, plus a bit of repeater delay.

      Barnier as Canute “make lightspeed infinite to keep our European credentials pure”!

      Plus, absolutely nobody wants to live in Frankfurt. It’s like Slough but without the charm and nightlife. You just don’t earn a million a year and live there. In the finance world, being transferred to Frankfurt is like Traffic Duty for police - it’s the standard way to tell people they are going no further and should resign.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: London Ahead?

        Sorry thats utter bollocks on all fronts. Have you ever even worked in Banking?

        HFT is a tiny bit of what banks do from a personnel perspective, if that was a blocker they would have a small HFT hub in the City and everything else outside...

        Very few traders need/want to live in the City when their bonus can buy a big house in the burbs and an Aston or E8 and wang it in at 6am. That applies equally to FFT and LON.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "absolutely nobody wants to live in Frankfurt"

        That's why they will move to Paris. More charm, and the nightlife...

        1. fandom Silver badge

          Re: "absolutely nobody wants to live in Frankfurt"

          Charm? Paris?!!!

          Ok, it may have the marketing, but real charm?

          You have to be kidding.

      3. ntevanza

        Re: London Ahead?

        Bankers thinking they're the second coming of Bono is actually part of the problem.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "it's probably worth taking this report under advisement."

    The advisement will be found under a large pinch of salt. I take it Equinix has an interest in this prediction coming true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I take it Equinix has an interest in this prediction coming true.

      As a US company with a global data centre portfolio, not really. According to Wikipedia they do have 12 UK data centres, but they have 55 in other European countries. To an extent you can argue that they would want to protect existing investments, but for most businesses change creates more opportunity than threat, so if there were a need for more EU data centres they'd not be complaining.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        but for most businesses change creates more opportunity than threat

        Tell that to the 175,000 UK SMEs threatened with a shitload more paperwork to do if we're not in the single market after Brexit, plus increased transport overheads and WTO tariff costs if it's a hard Brexit.

  5. jmch Silver badge

    European data market

    It's not really clear what that means. Taken at face value that's the buying and selling of data. Since the EU tends to frown on the marketing of personal data, Brexit would increase London's importance in this sector,

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: European data market

      hoping for a UK one-stop-shop for business data harvesting?

      Depends on whether GDPR compliance is upheld or at minimum seen to be upheld.

      Perhaps this whole exit thing was not so much about sovereignty as liberty to sell off the data of subjects (of interest).

      Pity the state IT systems will still be in shambles for some time in the aftermath, maybe time to fallback to huge Victorian leatherbound ledgers (just don't expect available cash for another candle or a piece of coal for the fire.

    2. teknopaul Bronze badge

      Re: European data market

      "Since the EU tends to frown on the marketing of personal data, Brexit would increase London's importance in this sector"

      If uk biz knew how to make money out of such data uk would be a buyer.

      As it is uk gives data to google and facebook and they make the money.

      This is the digital equivalent of having your natural resouces sold off cheap.

      Your not "in the market" if you are the product.

  6. phuzz Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Where?

    "Report puts English capital ahead"

    London is the capital of Britain.

    While I suppose it's not incorrect to say that it is the capital of England, it's not an independent country any more than Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Where?

      While I suppose it's not incorrect to say that it is the capital of England, it's not an independent country any more than Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are.

      another prediction then....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where?

      >London is the capital of Britain.

      London, for now, is the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Don't be a politician and forget about that piece of land across the Irish Sea in the hope that it will go away - which it probably will eventually after a democratic referendum.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Where?

      @Phuzz

      While I suppose it's not incorrect to say that it is the capital of England, it's not an independent country any more than Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are.

      yet

      I'm tempted to have a decent flutter at Paddy Power on whether England will be a sovereign, independent state again within ten years, for the first time in many centuries. Get rid of those blasted Celts! Viva la Revolutión Inglés! #indyengland.

  7. M7S

    London top for data

    is that because of the amount that HMG supposedly is collecting on us all?

  8. maffski

    This is an interesting definition of 'catching up'

    '...Frankfurt catching up...

    ...Although Germany's Frankfurt is tipped for faster growth – at 58 per cent compound annual growth rate compared with London's 52 per cent – the English capital has twice the capacity....'

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: This is an interesting definition of 'catching up'

      Frankfurt has it's own set of challenges. Ok, on the plus side, there is a 'gentlemans club' offering a full range of services & convenient for Cisco and a couple of large bit-barns. Downside is it's expensive real estate, and developers look to exploit it. Much like with some UK Docklands sites. Land owners can potentially make a lot more money turning a datacentre into an office block or luxury apartment complex. All part of gentrification and turning the Isle of Dogs, knaves, and ne'er do wells into facilities for white collar criminals.

      But I digress.

      So Frankfurt also decided it didn't want it's roads dug up frequently to feed fibre into data centres. So like other cities, used it's planning powers to put stops on civils. And as sales people liked flogging dark fibre, that creates.. challenges when ducts are full and diggers can't dig. Which can also be a challenge around Amsterdam and other bits of Europe. Also gets complicated by some landlords, eg Slough Trading Estate is private, or getting fibre into the aforementioned Isle of Dogs when it's guarded by Canary Wharf, DLR or the Port of London.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    33 zettabytes a year?

    That's a LOT of cat photos.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 33 zettabytes a year?

      "That's a LOT of cat photos."

      No, just one really big one.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: 33 zettabytes a year?

        Not so much cat photographs as pussy photographs. Just ask Mrs Slocombe...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: 33 zettabytes a year?

          I'm naming my next two cats Yoni and Lingam.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    FAKE NEWS from BREXITERS

    are we allowed to bring that up, or does not only apply to "remoaners"?

  11. Loud Speaker

    As I hear it from the Remoaners, or was it the Brexiteers? (I forget), after Brexit, every single IP packet will have to be inspected by HM government on entry to the UK (using a magnifying glass to BS standards, of course).

    That should put the mockers on any prospect of nasty, foreign data getting in. (or making money).

  12. Bavaria Blu
    Meh

    relative to London's size not that impressive

    Considering London is the biggest city in Western Europe and had more banks and other data users it is to be expected it has the most data. In Germany many companies are spread out in other cities, not all centralised in one place. Frankfurt is a city about the size of Nottingham. Nine million Londoners must also contribute, cat photos and all?

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