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Everybody who’s anybody has a cloud in Germany

German flag woman happy at Berlin Brandenburg Gate

With Rackspace’s new data centre announcement this week, Germany is slowly positioning itself as the it-place for cloud companies worldwide.

Maybe it’s the two litre beers, the slow-cooked pork or the brutal and attractive efficiency, but anyone who wants to be someone is setting up a data centre in Germany. There is a temptation to continue to list German stereotypes, but the real reason is a bit more practical. Regulations surrounding data protection and privacy in the country are probably the most stringent in the world.

Rackspace has announced it is opening a new location in Frankfurt to serve customers across Germany, Austria and Switzerland this week, just after Alibaba has launched its assault on the international cloud market. The Chinese internet giant will open four new data centres with one being located in Frankfurt. AWS also has a data centre in the country, as does IBM and Microsoft Azure. Google is the only one of the big four cloud providers that doesn’t.

The Germans have always been recognized as an area of expertise in the technology world, but this move is more likely to do with data protection regulations and legislation. It’s been a very sensitive topic over recent months, especially with intelligence agencies seemingly able to access data whenever they want, but the Germans have been very tough in protecting the civil and privacy concerns of consumers and enterprises.

Does German data protection rules make a German data centre more attractive?

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A prime example is the WhatsApp/Facebook saga, with the messaging platform sharing its user’s data with the parent company. Governments around the world have been vocal in condemning the move, vocal without actually doing anything, and it would appear there has been enough pressure to put plans on hold for the moment.

But the Germans went one stage further in banning any data sharing activities between the two before any other government had done anything. Everyone else condemned the plans or set up investigations, but they didn’t stop WhatsApp/Facebook from doing anything. This is just one example of the German government ignoring the financial might and influence of internet giants where others may have folded, but it is certainly not the only one.

This in itself may be what is making the country so attractive to cloud companies. Yes, meeting the demands of a very stringent and regulation heavy administration is tough, but once you are compliant it’s a great message to send out to customers. Marketers can now genuinely say data protection and privacy is at the top their agendas, they have a data centre in Germany after all.

The number of data centres around the world are only going to increase and the variety of locations will as well as cloud providers aim to bring data as close to the customer as possible. That said, Germany is putting itself at the top of the rankings with a strict view on data protection and privacy. Who would have thought standing up for the little guy would actually pay off?

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