plusserver is a new member of the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany. The initiative was founded in 2018 under the umbrella of the eco Association and is an association of leading representatives of the digital infrastructure ecosystem. In a three-question interview, plusserver CEO Alexander Wallner talks about opportunities and challenges for Germany as a digital location and what he believes should be at the top of the political agenda.
Mr Wallner, how do you assess Germany as a digital location in terms of digital infrastructure?
Essentially, Germany fulfils all the requirements for an outstanding digital location. We are in a good position both in terms of high-performance data centres and transmission networks. Companies like plusserver and other local providers are doing significant work and driving innovation. However, the state certainly still has some work to do. This is because the legal framework conditions do not yet match the future challenges and requirements for developing Germany as a digital location. This is exemplified by the high non-wage labour costs, which make it very difficult for SMEs in particular to recruit skilled workers from DAX companies or global players.
In addition, political decision-makers must become aware of the issue of data sovereignty: If we do not rely on local solutions in the development of Germany as a digital location, but increasingly on foreign providers, we risk a de facto encroachment by third-party providers with sometimes strongly divergent legal interpretations.
So what should be at the top of the political agenda?
In my view, two issues will shape the coming years:
On the one hand, there is the digital arms race. This is symbolised by the chip crisis and the courting of providers by several countries who are planning corresponding factories. It is no secret that such projects are highly investment-based. However, policymakers should approach the issue with caution and pursue an integrated investment strategy. Without the roll-out and ongoing modernisation of the digital infrastructure, we lack the foundation on which we aim to advance Germany as a digital location.
On the other hand – also with regard to the foundation – it is a matter of making it more resilient. Especially for the (critical infrastructures (KRITIS) structures in this country, we need robust and efficient concepts for protection in a time characterised by insecurity and aggression. Fail safety and disaster recovery are already irreplaceable for maintaining our day-to-day business.
Plusserver is the latest member of the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany. Why did you join the initiative and what are you looking forward to in the exchange with the other members?
As one of the leading German cloud providers, we are convinced that a digitally sovereign infrastructure is the foundation for a modern information society. In order for us to reap the benefits of this sovereignty and innovative technologies together – whether through economic value creation or digital citizenship – this backbone must be strengthened. We can only achieve this in cooperation with others. For this reason, we are looking forward to working together in the Alliance and are excited about the lively exchange on strong digital infrastructures in Germany.