Dr Christopher Stief
Co-Founder and CEO at DATA CASTLE
Dr Christopher Stief is the Co-Founder of DATA CASTLE and leads the business as its CEO. He has a PhD from Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz in Business Administration, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Alliant University of San Diego, California.
With a background starting at NTT Global Data Centres, Dr Stief was responsible and involved in site selection across Europe before moving to 7280 Improving Assets focussed on the acquisition, developing and selling of data centre sites.
“After that, I came to the conclusion that I want to found something on my own,” he says. Off the back of his experience in the wider data centre industry, Dr Stief founded Data Center Advisors, Data Center Developers and then DATA CASTLE.
“Whether it's a development company, advisory company, construction company, security company — it all then benefitted DATA CASTLE,” he adds.
Dr Stief started his professional career at Amazon in Strategic Development in 2015. “That was a company I liked and I liked the business model,” he reminisces. “Especially how the cloud started to get bigger and bigger at that time.”
It was at this point that Dr Stief realised that AWS was an interesting part of Amazon’s business: “When you looked at the growth rates, Amazon.com was awesome, but the AWS numbers were insane. That was the reason I realised that this was a super interesting business model and I tapped into AWS and the entire cloud business.”
It was from gaining a further understanding of the cloud and working alongside the likes of AWS that steered Dr Stief toward working in the data centre space. “That was basically the link where I said I want to work in the data centre industry,” he adds. “And then from there, I got my foot into the door at NTT.”
Now armed as an expert with a proven track record from large colocation and hyperscale developments to aggregate more than 250MW, primarily across Tier 1 and Tier 2 European data centre markets, Dr Stief utilises his expertise to collaborate with other industry veterans and bright minds to shape the future of sustainable data centres with DATA CASTLE.
With a varied experience and, like many, far from conventional entry into the data centre space, he is motivated and inspired by how perspectives across the sector are varied and that it is ever-evolving and changing.
“When talking about your favourite things when it comes to data centres, it’s a good question to ask because when you speak to different people you always get different answers,” he shares. “There is a definition for everything. Oftentimes things are not clear and there is no answer, or there is not right or wrong.
“When you ask 10 people ‘what is an edge data centre?’ you would probably get 10 definitions. There's no right or wrong and that's something I really like about the industry. It's still new and there is so much information that is missing in the industry, and it's a little bit foggy when you look at certain information and it's very hard to get others, especially insights, especially information really from the market, not a shiny report from a large company.
“Really, really good information is so hard to get in our industry, it's like a myth — and that's what I like. It's not crystal clear. Everything is a little bit more complex which I think makes it so interesting.”
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