In a move designed to kickstart what CEO Mario Di Mauro describes as “a new digital game”, international service provider Sparkle laid a symbolic foundation stone for the company’s latest data centre on 21 January. Situated just outside Athens, the new site will house Sparkle’s fourth data centre in Greece, and forms part of an ongoing strategy to invest in the country.
Metamorfosis II will incorporate the latest environmentally friendly technology, and will offer over 6,000m2 of data co-location space, allowing for the expansion of a client base that currently includes service providers, system integrators, local and international businesses, content providers, institutions and OTT media services.
A key player in the global telecoms market
As the international arm of Italian telecommunications giant TIM, Sparkle has a presence in 33 countries, with a proprietary backbone of around 530,000 kilometres of fibre optics across four continents. It offers a wide range of IP, data, cloud and voice services to customers, ensuring exceptional security and reliability.
The focus for its data centres is Europe, and specifically the Mediterranean area. Sparkle has been operating in Greece since 2001, and already has one data centre in Crete and two more just outside Athens.
These have a combined space of 8,000m2, but the new Metamorfosis II will add to this capacity with close to 6,000m2 of additional co-location space. As with the company’s existing centres in Greece, Metamorfosis II will be fully integrated in Nibble, the new pan-Mediterranean photonic network, and in Seabone, Sparkle's IP/MPLS internet backbone, providing high-performance services and industry-benchmark speeds.
Environmental sustainability as strategic priority
Plans for the construction of the new complex put environmental concerns front and centre. “The new European Commission has made sustainability the key issue in the future policy of Europe,” says Salvatore Rossi, chairman of TIM. “Every private company acting in the market has to understand that this is a business opportunity, not a cost.”
Sparkle’s commitment to environmental sustainability is nothing new, and its business operations were the first of their kind in Greece to be awarded with the ISO 14001:2015 certification, which recognises the company’s environmental-protection measures.
Sparkle’s Istanbul data centre is held to be something of a blueprint in the industry, and a recent expansion and renovation saw the addition of state-of-the-art technology that enabled the company to increase capacity by 40 percent while reducing consumption by 14 percent.
A key factor was the introduction of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, an innovation that will also play a role in the Metamorfosis II centre, along with the latest energy-efficient light, power and cooling systems. These will jointly allow a carbon-footprint reduction of around 28,000 tons a year, or – in simpler terms – will require close to half the energy required to run a regular data centre of comparable size and capacity.
Recognising local potential
But technology is only half the picture. For five years in a row Sparkle has won Infocom awards that acknowledge the company’s success in the cloud and data industries, as well as its contribution to the development of the Greek market overall.
As the green shoots of recovery emerge from Greece’s long period of stagnation and austerity, Sparkle sees boundless possibilities in the region. “For us, it’s very important to develop our activities in the centre of the Mediterranean area,” says Alessandro Pansa, chairman of Sparkle. “We want to extend our activities in Asia, in Africa, in other parts of the world, but Athens will be the focal point for our next activity.”
The question is not merely one of economics. Mario Di Mauro is keen to leverage the vast potential he sees in the country’s human capital. “We have here people who are capable of playing this innovation role, and these people are important.”
Laying out his vision for the future, Di Mauro predicts that this investment in Greece and its workforce will not only benefit the company’s operations within the country, but that he hopes to “capitalise on all this knowledge for all the global operations of Sparkle.”