A WW II German U-boat base submarine base in Marseille will become France’s second-biggest data-storage centre after Paris.
The Dutch cloud services firm Interxion plans are investing €140 million to turn the 1943 “Martha Base” bunker into a data centre for corporate clients. The first part of the restoration is set to be completed by March 2020.
During the German occupation of France in 1943, the 25,000 square metres bunker was used to hide 20 U-boats; however, Allied forces bombed the city in May 1944 and the base was not completed and was used after the war as a storage facility.
Filling an area of, the data centre will consume 24 megawatts of electricity, the equivalent of a city of 20,000 people, and will have its own back-up diesel generators to protect against blackouts.
Typically, when talking about the internet’s geography, people think of a few key cities where most networks converge: New York and Ashburn in the Eastern US; Miami and Dallas in the American South; Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo in Asia. In Europe, the hubs are Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, and Paris, or FLAP.
But the explosion of demand for digital content in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia means European interconnection hubs now play a much bigger role, hence Marseille. The port city is building up its image as a welcoming tourist destination and is taking advantage of its image a bridge to Africa and the Middle East.