Data Center News Roundup: An End to Switching Fees, New Saudi Data Centers

In this week's top data center news, cloud providers ease off on switching fees, and data center companies make deals for new facilities in Saudi Arabia and the US.

Dylan Fisher, Digital SEO Content & Copy Editor

March 8, 2024

4 Min Read
Data Center News Roundup: Top Data Center News
pichetw / Alamy Stock Photo

With data center news moving faster than ever, we want to make it easy for industry professionals to cut through the noise and find the most important stories of the week.

The Data Center Knowledge News Roundup brings you the latest news and developments across the data center industry – from investments and mergers to security threats and industry trends.

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Switching Cloud Providers Becomes Easier

At Mobile World Congress 2024, Microsoft announced a goal to make it easier for users to export and transfer data to rival cloud providers as part of the company’s new AI Access Principles.

As regulators increase scrutiny of the business practices of cloud service providers, Microsoft isn’t the only one to make this move – though its announcement is notably more ambiguous than its competitors.

On Tuesday, AWS announced it would no longer charge customers wanting to switch to a rival provider.

“Beginning today, customers globally are now entitled to free data transfers out to the internet if they want to move to another IT provider,” said AWS Vice President Robert Kennedy.

Back in January, Google, too, announced an immediate end to its cloud switching fees.

Related:UK Data Center Event Addresses Industry’s Biggest Challenges

Atos At Risk

Amid efforts to regulate Big Tech in Europe, Atos, a French on-prem data center management firm, is facing financial trouble and potential dismantlement by the French Senate.

Former CEO Thierry Breton, who is now an EU commissioner overseeing said regulation, denied any responsibility for the company's current state, instead placing blame on leadership after his 2019 departure.

However, critics say acquisitions made under Breton’s leadership left Atos burdened with debt and “a patchwork of disparate businesses that struggled to adapt to changes in the IT industry.”

Data Center Deals and Developments

In data center developments, a slew of deals were announced at this week’s LEAP tech conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Among the planned investments:

  • AWS will invest $5.3 billion to create a new infrastructure region that will open in 2026.

  • DataVolt, a Saudi-based data center company, will invest $5 billion in developing data centers with a capacity of over 300 MW.

  • IBM will invest $250 million in a software development center in the region.

  • ServiceNow, a software company, will invest $500 million to localize services in Saudi Arabia.

In the US, Amazon purchased a 960 MW data center campus in northeast Pennsylvania from Talen Energy for $650 million. Known as Cumulus, the campus is located next to a nuclear powerplant, offering an energy-hungry infrastructure direct access to nuclear power. As power consumption outpaces power production in the States, the Cumulus data center may offer a significant case study for renewable energy in the data center.

Related:America Is Running Out of Power, Are Data Centers to Blame?

Elsewhere, in Georgia, Microsoft bought nearly 21 acres adjacent to its existing Palmetto data center campus for $6 million.

Finally, Prologis, a major owner of warehouses across the United States – clearly with space to spare – announced a pivot from warehouses to data centers. Over the next five years, the company plans to invest over $25 billion in date center development projects.

For more data center development news, read our deep dive into the builds and investments announced in the past month.

Other Great Reads on DCK This Week

Key Trends and Technologies Impacting Data Centers in 2024 and Beyond. Omdia Research Director Vladimir Galabov breaks down the latest global data center trends and his expectations for the industry in 2024.

Data Centers Push into New Territories in Pursuit of Energy, Space. Out of room and out of power in their favorite spots, North American data centers are moving into various up-and-coming locations.

Explosion of Data in the Cloud Era Leading to Observability Complexity. There's just too many applications and too much data for IT professionals to easily monitor, but there are solutions that might help.

Defining AI's Role in Network Management. AI isn't going to put human network managers out of work. It will, however, help managers become more insightful and efficient.

IT Workers Support DEI Programs, Despite Broader Backlash. The IT sector sees resilient growth in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, a new DEI in IT report finds.

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About the Author(s)

Dylan Fisher

Digital SEO Content & Copy Editor

Dylan Fisher is the Digital SEO Content & Copy Editor at ITPro Today, Data Center Knowledge, Information Week, and Network Computing. He's the author of "The Loneliest Band in France." He lives with his wife, Danielle, and their two adopted dogs, Rosie and Daisy, in Atlanta, GA.

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