The AI and machine learning boom is fuelling data centre demand

VIRTUS has made significant strides in 2023 providing sustainable and cutting edge data centre solutions and there are further plans in the year ahead to meet the increasing demands of this growing digital economy

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Although I am honoured with the European CEO award, it is only because of the collective effort of everyone at VIRTUS that this achievement has been possible. Great data centres are nothing without great people, and the whole team at VIRTUS can be proud of our success. Last year was filled with ambitious expansion into exciting new cities and countries, innovative sustainability initiatives, and industry recognition that propels us even further toward our vision of becoming Europe’s leading data centre provider. 2023 was an incredible year and we are excited for 2024, and beyond, for ourselves and our customers!

Expansion into mainland Europe
In May 2023, we made a bold announcement that set the tone for VIRTUS’ European ambitions – the Marienpark Campus in Berlin.

Neil Cresswell, CEO at VIRTUS Data Centres

This brand new 56MW campus is situated in the heart of Berlin’s AI technology hub and is testament to our commitment to providing cutting-edge data centre solutions that are AI ready and can become the home of AI infrastructure and machine learning (ML).

Hot on the heels of this announcement, we unveiled plans for a 300MW data centre mega-campus in Wustermark, which is set to be one of the greenest in Europe. We are also continuing to hold our position as the leader in the UK market, launching our new LONDON11 data centre in Slough this year, which will be followed by LONDON12 and LONDON14 in 2025, and 2026 respectively. Our portfolio across Europe now approaches 500MW of power and space for our customers.

Sustainability remains at our core
At VIRTUS, we understand the responsibility that we bear for the future of our planet. Our commitment to sustainability is unwavering, and in 2023 we made significant strides towards achieving our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The launch of our sustainability report marked a pivotal moment, showcasing our progress in reducing energy consumption, increasing the use of renewable energy, and revolutionising waste management practices. It’s not just about being a data centre provider; it’s about being a responsible global citizen, and we’re delighted to continue working to raise awareness and lead the way for the wider industry.

We are at the start of a once in a generation shift in computing with AI

We are working closely with our customers and design consultants to deliver data centres that are AI ready in a sustainable fashion, and I am pleased to say that last year we delivered another industry leading liquid cooled system, building on our first of many such solutions going back over three years. We continue to innovate to lower our PUEs to 1.1, lower our WUE and in turn our reliance on generators. We already use only 100 percent renewable energy in the UK and this year we will enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) to use dedicated solar and wind farms to power both our London and Berlin data centres.

Strategic investments and milestones
Last year marked a significant milestone for VIRTUS as we welcomed Macquarie Asset Management as a strategic investor alongside ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, the existing majority shareholder. Their collective belief in our vision has fuelled our drive towards becoming the leading data centre provider in Europe. With over 200 talented individuals now forming the backbone of VIRTUS, we’ve built a family that shares a common goal – a commitment to excellence.

What’s in store for 2024?
We are at the start of a once in a generation shift in computing with AI, changing the way the world uses and accesses its global store of learned knowledge – a shift that is arguably as important as the birth of the internet in the early 1990s and then again with the burst in cloud computing in the 2000’s. We remain committed to delivering data centres that underpin the ever-growing digital economy, powering the information and applications that we all rely on day-to-day.

The boom in AI and machine learning, coupled with continued growth in cloud and enterprise workloads, demands a re-evaluation of data centre strategies, designed in partnership by operators and customers. Beyond proximity, power and speed, success in this age necessitates foresight – solving customer challenges before they arise. This includes managing sustainable power at scale, implementing designs that support rapid and scaleable AI deployments and resonate with operational needs, while consciously aligning with values that benefit the data centre provider, the customer and wider society responsibilities.

This opens up exciting opportunities for VIRTUS to further push the boundaries of innovation and redefine what’s possible in the data centre industry. Our commitment to excellence and sustainability remains at the core of what we do.