Switzerland is the ideal location for establishing or consolidating your pan-European data centre operations. First, Switzerland offers a very low-risk environment. In 2008, the Institute for Management Development (IMD) ranked Switzerland the top country for personal safety and security (see Fig. 1). The IMD ranked Switzerland high across the board for its relationships with other countries, internal stability, low crime-rate, law enforcement, and lack of censorship/limitations on personal freedom.
The 2004 World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, ranked Switzerland higher in political stability than Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom (UK).
The 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit’s Risk Briefing stated Switzerland has the lowest risk in world for things like terrorism, civil unrest, labour conflicts and accidental explosion-threats that are real in many other European countries (see Fig. 2).
The World Economic Forums Global Competitive Index ranks Switzerland at the top; even ahead of the United States (U.S.).
According to Ernst & Young, Switzerland is the first European choice for international corporations needing headquarters, R&D centres, or even administrative or accounting offices. By 2007, Switzerland already had a very high density of multinational Fortune 500 corporations based in the country, as compared to the Netherlands, the UK, the U.S., Belgium, Germany, and Italy (see Fig. 3). Table 1 shows the major multinational IT corporations based in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s GNP growth rate is as good or better than many major European countries, with a lower inflation rate, compared to others. Switzerland has high entrepreneurial activity, low unemployment, and a high annual work rate, with good employer workplace flexibility. The quality of education is high in Switzerland, with 87% of students completing secondary education. The country ranks high for infrastructure quality. It has lower rent costs than several European countries. Switzerland’s government is known for having flexible, laisser-faire policies, concerning business operations.
The price and availability of electricity is important to IT operations, and Swiss market prices for electricity are amongst the lowest in Europe. Switzerland produces a surplus of electrical power, with 40% coming from nuclear sources and 55.3% coming from hydroelectric power. Just 4.7% of Swiss electricity originates from fossil fuels. Low fossil fuel-weighted power generation makes Switzerland less susceptible to fossil fuel availability/price variations, possible CO2 emissions controls, and political/external events affecting energy supplies.
Low risk, competitiveness, government flexibility, positive market aspects, and abundant clean/cheap electricity make Switzerland the ideal location for your data centres. These trends are expected to continue well into the future.