From the ground to the Cloud with Interoute

Under the motto ‘From the Ground to the Cloud’, Interoute offers Connectivity, Communications and Computing services from their reliable and secure cloud platform. This platform consist of 15 data centres, 17 virtual data centres and one of Europe’s largest fibre optic networks and connects to all major business hubs across the globe. Interoute chose Minkels as supplier for their data centre in Amsterdam. An interview with Alex Loobeek (Manager Field Operations Interoute).


At Interoute, Alex Loobeek (Manager Field Operations) is responsible for among others the fibre optic network in the Benelux. “This means that I constantly work on the management and expansion of the fibre network, but I’m also responsible for the data centres and the technical locations. Me and a team of engineers make sure that all facilities are always up and running – from cooling to power. A must in this sector.”


Interoute provides its customers with Connectivity, Communications and Computing services. Loobeek explains: “We offer our customers hosting services. They can make use of our servers and decide whether we manage the environment or that they do so themselves. We also provide fibre services at transmission level. Thanks to fibre, we can offer a wide bandwidth and long transmission distances. For example, when a customer requires a connection between Amsterdam and Madrid, we can simply plug the customer into our local data centres. We also provide network services on the fibre network. We link our global network to local parties, for example KPN and Tele2 in the Netherlands and Telefónica in Spain.”


Interoute’s private network creates a striking difference from the competition, according to Loobeek. “If a customer buys hosting services from for example Microsoft or Amazon Web Services, they make use of the Internet. At Interoute we do not use an open network. We make use of our own closed MPLS network. That provides our customers with extra security.” The Interoute customer portfolio is enormously diversified: from global to local, from large to medium sized companies. “We mainly work for the profit sector, including some very well known companies. One of the names that appeals to the imagination, probably is the UEFA. Almost all applications and systems for the management of the Champions League and the European Championship are hosted and managed in our cloud network. Including the website and the core application FAME (Football Administration and Management Environment).”


For the delivery of its services, Interoute’s data centres play a major role, says Loobeek. “We have 15 data centres in Europe. The most important ones are located in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and the UK. Since that’s where most of the ‘traffic’ takes place. Despite the far-reaching standardisation, each country makes its own choices for the design of the data centre.” For Loobeek, Minkels was a logical choice as supplier for the data centre in Amsterdam. “After submitting an RFP, Minkels was selected. Minkels offered value for money and the flexibility and reliability we were looking for. The solutions – from cooling to racks – are always delivered quickly. Therefore, I want Minkels to be our data centre supplier in Belgium too.”


Interoute has a data centre in Amsterdam of 2,000 square meters, of which currently 1,200 square meters is being used. Loobeek explains: “The data centre has a PUE of 1.45 and a capacity of 2 Megawatts. Energy-efficiency is becoming increasingly important for us. Everything that we build, we realise as efficient as possible. For example, in Amsterdam we are using a very efficient cooler. When it’s 2 degrees Celsius outside, the cooler only uses 10 kW but cools 200 kW. The PUE is about 1.05. But that is only a snapshot. In the summer, cooling is less energy-efficient. Minkels has helped us to select the right cooler. Based on our data, application, and air and water conditions, various scenarios were developed with different coolers. Based on these calculations, we have selected the cooler that works most efficiently: maximum cooling power versus power consumption and investment.”


Besides row-based cooling, Interoute opted for hot aisle containment. “By separating hot and cold air flows we can further increase our energy-efficiency. In addition, we can work very scalable. We do not completely equip a room of e.g. 150 square meters immediately. We begin with about a quarter of the space and place 20 racks. From there, we expand if the demand is there. Because of the modular design of among others wall panels, roof panels and doors, equiping a room works the same every time – and that’s very helpful.”