Lobby Anna Claft leads the German Data Center Association

sI came and decided to stay right away. It didn’t take a week to turn Anna Claft, a northerner who grew up in Bremen, into a convinced resident of Frankfurt: “I like it, there’s nothing better,” enthuses Claft, who was also the head of the German data center association in Frankfurt that works well. Publicly in her favorite city for a year. Data centers have not contributed anything to this love. In the year of their move, 2013, Klavt was still working for Wisag, selling and coordinating their facility management services for malls. “All I knew about data centers was that they existed.”

Inja Janowicz

Editor-in-chief of the regional department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and responsible editor of the trade magazine Metropol.

This was only to change in 2018, when service specialist Wisag also became aware of this new type of building, which is built especially frequently in the Frankfurt area – which, like other large estates, maintenance technicians, security and cleaning staff, winter services and the like that. Klavt, formerly a specialist in the world of shopping malls, has been commissioned to rebuild this commercial sector. Klavt actually devoted himself to facilities management while studying: “From an industry perspective, they’re both built with technical infrastructure, but data centers are a new industry. I needed a new network for that.”

Administrators not involved

Klavt quickly found the key people, and by 2021 at the latest, with the move to CBRE, one of the world’s largest providers of commercial real estate services, he has immersed himself deeply in this branch of the economy, which likes to describe itself as the backbone of digitization. Claft coordinates specialized facility management in data centers across Europe for CBRE. “I wanted to be successful and I have already achieved most of my goals,” she commented on her career.

While creating their new network, Klavt came across the German Data Center Association (GDA) in Frankfurt. The lobby was established in the spring of 2018 with a clear program: “The stated goal of the GDA is to increase the attractiveness of investments in German sites, improve the framework conditions for the long-term operation of data centers in Germany and stimulate growth. About the industry and its perception in Germany to strengthen the economy, society and politics”, states in The founding announcement of the association.

The dissatisfaction with a lot of bureaucratic requirements and especially the high prices of energy in the international comparison, which speaks from these sentences, can be heard everywhere in the industry. However, representatives of large, mostly international companies, which dominate the market in Frankfurt, were initially not interested in the new lobby association. The Department for Global Development was in danger of doing a little better than the “Digital Hub Frankfurt Rhein-Main” association, which was founded about ten years ago and which has grown completely after a few initial activities. It appears that the directors of Interxion, NTT, Equinix and Co. They have little interest in the work of associations.

Anna Claft is completely different. She has already been a member of the board of directors of the “Women in the Real Estate Industry” association, and she enjoys working in the association. As a newcomer to the circle of data center managers, technology service providers and outfitters, she knows it’s time for the industry to not only build high-tech property after another and report on high-yield sales figures. But the industry must explain to the public why these massive buildings, which consume a lot of space and energy, should be located in an urban area like Frankfurt. “I questioned what GDA was, realized there was a gap and said, ‘I’m going to build it now.'”

Sports as a source of energy

Claft brings a few youngsters to its side, organizes round tables, conferences, and sometimes a meal, and puts topics like resource consumption, sustainable building, air conditioning technology and of course dialogue with politicians on the agenda. In order to demonstrate their seriousness in their pursuit of innovation, GDA is now announcing a sponsorship award, which this year aims to use for the first time to honor scientific work to improve data center operations. The association has become notable and now has 70 good member companies, including industry giants.

“It’s a full-time job,” Claft says. How do you accommodate that in a life where there is still hard work, a child, a three-year-old and a husband? Anna Claft gets up early, every morning at five in the morning. She does not go to work, but does sports, burns energy and draws strength from her tasks and projects. I have learned that with diligence and effort, one can go far.

‘Part of the solution’ for climate protection

It was too late for Claft and her comrades at war to express their opinions. The debate over cubes, energy consumption, surface sealing and heat emission has taken on a negative hue. The modern world counts on servers inside, while the outside building seems to be done. Therefore, the city of Frankfurt wants to restrict data centers with the help of a building permit. Claft commented on the plans on behalf of the GDA and pointed out openly to Frankfurt residents that the neighboring cities also had beautiful plots of land and fast internet connections. But at the same time she made an offer to speak to the city: the industry wanted to participate constructively in the development of climate and heating concepts. Since Klaft and GDA are convinced of this, data centers are not a problem for climate protection, but could be part of the solution.

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