Former Microsoft Israel head in Netanya server farm project

Shelly Landsmann has teamed with the Levinstein Group and UK firm Goldacre to build a server farm on the 13,500 square meter.

https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-former-microsoft-israel-head-in-netanya-server-farm-project-1001483092

Former Microsoft Israel country manager Shelly Landsmann, together with the Levinstein Group and British investment firm Goldacre, is constructing a server farm in Netanya at an investment of NIS 1.1 billion, “Globes” has learned. The server farm will extend over 13,500 square meters, and is designed to connect to undersea cables that will land in Netanya. With the delay in laying the cable by Cinturion because of the continuing war, determined efforts are being made to find an undersea cable that will reach the area.

The server farm is believed to be intended for the global giant cloud computing companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Nvidia, which already take up the capacity of all the new server farms built in Israel.

The Israeli-British partnership, NED, controlled by Goldacre, began operating in 2022, but last month it was reported to have made several appointments and taken steps to expedite construction. Landsmann joined as a co-founder of the project alongside Daniel Efrati, formerly an investment banker with Israel Discount Bank of New York, and David Bloom, a partner in British investment company Noé Group, of which Goldacre is the technological arm.

Regulation and heavy costs

The new server farm represents unexpected competition for the veteran companies in the field, such as Shonfeld Engineering, Serverfarm, and MedOne, and real estate companies that have entered it, such as Kardan Israel and Geva Real Estate. The server farm construction and maintenance sector in Israel is difficult because of heavy regulation, the high cost of power and computing, and shortcomings in the power infrastructure. It is not surprising that companies have exited the sector, such as Azrieli Group, or have decided against entering it after considering doing so, such as Melisron.

Among other senior figures from Israel and abroad who have joined NED are Dani Simis, who will be CTO, and who was responsible for managing the sever farms of Bezeq International and the deployment of its undersea fiber-optic cable that connects Israel to Italy, and Gerard Thibault, formerly CTO of data centers company Kao Data (of which David Bloom is the founder and chairperson and in which Goldacre is invested), who will be an advisor to the project.

NED and Levinstein have bought a 13,500 square meter site in the Si’im Park, part of the Poleg Industrial Zone in Netanya, for NIS 90 million in equal shares, and they are sharing planning and construction costs equally. They have each invested tens of millions of shekels in obtaining permits and initial work on the site, which formerly housed telecommunications company Cellcom. The aim is to connect between the undersea cables due to land in Israel and technology industry centers in Netanya, Herzliya Pituah and Tel Aviv.

In the initial stage of development, a small, 16 megawatt server farm will be built, covering a total of 50,000 square meters on several floors. The server farm will be expandable in accordance with the number of customers. The project includes the possible construction of a 35,000 square meter scientific research campus.

The server farm will mostly be built underground, with cooling systems to reduce power consumption. Goldacre is owned by David Bloom and Leon Noé, who was one of the founders of British Israel, which was sold to Melisron. Through Kao Data, they have built several server farms, with total capacity of 40 megawatts, in London and Manchester, one of which has hosted Nvidia since 2018.

Separately, another new server farm is being built in the Kfar Sava industrial zone by Serverz, owned by Kardan Israel, Geva Real Estate, and Rani Zim. The server farm will comprise 12,500 square meters underground and 4,000 square meters above ground, with a total capacity of 10 megawatts. It will probably be launched at the end of this year, with an initial capacity of just 2 megawatts, at an investment of NIS 80 million. The construction cost of the server arm will be NIS 350 million. HPE has been selected to operate the server farm and recruit customers, to which it will offer its cloud technology.

Assaf Gilead 1 Jul, 2024

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