Birst, the cloud BI vendor, has today announced an extension of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnership that will see the company offer an Ireland-based data centre on which to run its cloud platform for European customers and prospects. Growing its European presence has been an ongoing priority for the US-headquartered company, but it stepped up a gear when it secured $38 million of funding last year from investors.
Birst isn’t starting from scratch here though—the company claims that around 20% of its revenue already comes from international business. And it appears there’s also been an uptick in European customer signings with recent wins from companies such as Financial Times, Reckitt Benckiser, Argus Media, Dialogue Communications, Itsu Sushi and EAT. Providing access to a European data centre will help accelerate this growth, especially amongst companies looking for a more secure and localised way of accessing their cloud data at a time when EU regulatory requirements governing the storage of data continue to ramp up.
Birst seems to be following a trend when it comes to European data centres. It follows cloud companies such as Google, Microsoft and, more recently, Salesforce, who announced the opening of three European data centres in the UK, France and Germany. Whilst these companies do have a substantial European customer base to support, it appears this isn’t the only motivation; many industry commentators point to the fact that storing cloud data in U.S. locations is becoming either more problematic or less desirable for private and public sector companies alike, especially in light of incidents unveiled by whistle blowers such as Snowden.
In contrast to Salesforce however, Birst isn’t building its own data centre facility; instead it’s turning to Amazon to provide this capability. The company already partners with AWS around Redshift—its data warehousing component—enabling the company to instantiate a relational database schema on a Redshift cluster using its own automated data modeling and load capabilities. This partnership now extends to using its data centre in Ireland and, by virtue of this, the company can offer customers or prospects a better story around provisioning flexibility through AWS’s ability to scale up and down and IT management capabilities for failover and redundancy, for example. Birst isn’t the only company looking towards AWS, however. Rather coincidentally, MicroStrategy has also recently announced a deepening of its partnership with the cloud computing giant that will see it deploy its own software on the AWS cloud platform.
To help it compete in this fast moving cloud BI marketplace, Birst has also decided to work with more regional system integrators, including 16 new partners across Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. Our view? Bringing more localised BI expertise and knowledge across a diverse and heterogeneous region such as Europe is a necessity if the company wants to translate some of its US success over here.