Step inside one of the biggest datacentres in Europe: Photos

Step inside one of the biggest datacentres in Europe: Photos

Summary: This week saw the opening of the biggest datacentre in Europe – a new facility in the Portuguese city of Covilhã. ZDNet went for a look around.


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  • A clock in Covilhã's town square counted down the hours to the datacentre's inauguration on 23 September.

    It's hoped the datacentre will bring economic renewal to an area that saw its economy and population shrink throughout the 1990s as a result of the decline of Portugal's textiles industry. The new datacentre will directly create 400 jobs and indirectly create 1,000 more in the region.

    Portugal Telecom will be working with the city's public university, the University of Beira Interior, to develop cloud computing skills. Local government authorities hope that the datacentre facility will also attract investment into the town from other technology companies in the years to follow.

    Image: Lance Harris/ZDNet

  • Portugal Telecom will use the new facility to help deliver datacentre services, cloud, and IT outsourcing in Portugal, as well as the rest of Europe and Brazil. In Europe, Portugal Telecom hopes that lower labour and energy costs than the continent's average will give it an edge.

    The operator also hopes to expand into Africa's datacentre market through partnership agreements in the months to come. Portugal Telecom will offer a white label platform to enable African service providers to launch their own branded cloud services.

    The launch of the datacentre is an important landmark in Portugal Telecom's ongoing transformation from the country's incumbent into a modern converged services provider. Speaking ahead of the launch, Portugal Telecom CEO ZeinalBava said that data today contributes more than half of the operator's revenues.

    Other elements of the transformation strategy Portugal Telecom embarked on in 2008 include the launch of its pay TV, triple-play and quad-play offerings for consumers; investment in a national fibre transmission network and a fibre to the home access network; and construction of a national  4G LTE network.

    Image: Lance Harris/ZDNet

  • Portugal Telecom looked at a number of factors in its selection of the site for the new datacentre and eventually choose Covilhã out of 26 options.

    Covilhã's cool climate, abundance of rainfall, and low risk of earthquakes all helped to push it to the top of the list.

    Situated in Portugal's highest mountain range and near its only ski resort, Covilhã is in the only region the country to experience regular winter snowfall.

    Image: Lance Harris/ZDNet

Topics: Data Centers, Datacentre Tour, Telcos, EU

Lance Harris

About Lance Harris

Lance Harris is a writer with more than 18 years of experience. Over the years, Lance has written about technology in business, the business of technology, and the African telecommunications industry for many of South Africa’s top business and IT publications.

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  • Yet Another Vast Room Filled With Featureless Metal Cabinets

    Why can't datacentres look more like this?