How Microsoft’s German Cloud Could Accelerate the Realisation of “Industrie 4.0”


A McKinsey survey conducted in January and published last week shows that at least four out of 10 German companies say they have made no or only limited progress in adopting a strategy for Industrie 4.0. Many of Germany's small- and medium-sized enterprises are moving slowly to achieve the marriage of technology and industry that policymakers and business leaders believe is essential to maintaining the country's industrial leadership. The main five barriers quoted include cybersecurity concerns and the lack of a clear business case to invest in the underlying IT infrastructure.

Microsoft’s announcement (in German) last week that their first customers can now start previewing the German Cloud, could mark the starting point for an acceleration of the adoption of industrie 4.0. Microsoft’s decision to build a dedicated German cloud that guarantees data storage and distribution in Germany, breaks some of the key barriers that were highlighted in McKinsey’s survey, as the business case for investment in IT infrastructure has suddenly become a lot easier, whilst cybersecurity and data privacy concerns are effectively addressed.

The launch of Microsoft’s German Cloud comes at a time that the most privacy-conscious country of Europe is finally starting to adopt cloud-based services. “German companies are slowly adapting to cloud-based technology, but are still reluctant to put all their knowledge in remote systems”, said Sabine Bendiek, the new head of Microsoft’s German operations. “For a long time in Germany, all you heard about the cloud was how very difficult it was. Data protection and data security have always been problems. But that started to change one or two years ago. We have now reached the point where cloud computing is on a roll” she said.

So what does this mean for IT departments of German organisations? We believe that the German Cloud forces any organisation in Germany to reevaluate their current IT infrastructure and networking strategy. The traditional model of on-premise hosting of IT in corporate data centres will be replaced by hybrid cloud strategies. Hybrid cloud allows companies to leverage the flexibility and efficiency benefits of the public cloud, whilst colocating mission-critical, real-time workloads and sensitive data in data centres in close proximity to the German Cloud. We call this ‘colocated hybrid cloud’.

The Microsoft service that enables these hybrid cloud strategies is ExpressRoute. ExpressRoute delivers a private connection to the German Cloud, guaranteeing the security and performance SLAs that German organisations require in the Industrie 4.0 era.
There are only five service providers in the German market that are able to deliver ExpressRoute services, including Interxion. For organisations that are considering to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy and invest in their IT infrastructure platform supporting their Industry 4.0 strategy, it is crucial to understand in detail how to optimise connections into the German Cloud. Selecting the physical location to house your private IT infrastructure and where to interconnect with the public cloud has therefore become a strategic decision that every IT infrastructure professional in Germany will have to take within the next few years.

To learn more about how to optimise connections to the German Cloud and about Interxion’s Cloud Connect service, please contact us to set up a meeting with one of our networking specialists or visit Colocate with the Clouds