Big Step for Croatian Data Security From a Not So Big City in North of Croatia

Paul Bradbury

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September 5, 2023 – A boost for both Varaždin and Croatian data security, with CRATIS about to open DC North, the biggest data storage and disaster recovery centre in Croatia.

Since natural and other disasters are a relevant topic nowadays, we decided to have an alternate look on the challenges that earthquakes, floods and wildfires bring and how a progressive company from Varaždin has decided to be one step ahead. Ahead of the market, ahead of the thought processes of their competition and maybe a step ahead of what climate change/nature must throw in our way. Time will tell…  

Still, DC North (meaning Data Centre North) is about to launch soon, in October, and it will become the biggest Data storage and Disaster recovery center in Croatia, the only one with Tier III Facility certification. Meaning the safest and most secure place in Croatia to store Your data.  

Croatian companies have stepped heavily into the digital era. The whole of humanity heavily depends on it. Cloud technologies that provide critical services and the underlying server infrastructure that runs them are collocated in various kinds of data centres. Some of them are in rather suspicious, or sometimes comical locations. Basements, attics, garages, pantries, barns etc. (Server colocation is a technical term of the act of hosting your servers in a data cente) 

Two Questions: “Do you even know where your company has its data centre”; and “Does Your company have a disaster recovery centre?”.   

It is mandatory that this type of infrastructure is always on and running smoothly. Although data centres are designed to be earthquake-prone with high-security standards, outer infrastructure is not. If someone cut the fibers, destroys the manholes, floods them, data centres would be quite exposed, probably for hours or days before an adequate response. Even more relatable is the season of climate and natural disasters that has struck the Globe in the last few years and Croatia is no exception. With no positive change in sight. We have experienced it recently. Floods, Wildfires, Earthquakes also influence our digital, telecommunication and other IT infrastructure. That’s why there is a clear and present need for disaster recovery places/centers in Croatia.    

Croatia, an EU country that heavily relies on digital infrastructure has centralized all data centres and IX points (places where Internet networks come together) in one city – Zagreb. Obviously, that is not the best solution, from a security and safety perspective, without even going into detail to explain it. The what if scenarios… Important to mention is also the fact that Croatia is severely lacking data centre space and more so disaster recovery locations. Therefore, a couple of years ago, with all the mentioned challenges in mind, an idea for a new, alternate location data center was born.   

In the process of choosing a location in which a data center outside of Zagreb should be located, CRATIS (, the investor, one of the largest Managed Cloud Providers in Croatia, had a few options but ultimately chose the former Capital of Croatia. There was obviously some regional bias since the investor originates from the same area. However, Varaždin is very close and well-connected to Zagreb, which is the logistical, governmental, and industrial hub of Croatia. Also, Varaždin is the place through most of backbone fiber cables from Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia are passing towards Zagreb; and is in a different MCS zone (which is important in the case of another big earthquake). In a nutshell, it was a perfect place to build a data cente in Croatia.   

Still, old habits are hard to shake off, so most Croatian telecommunication companies have a habit of erecting data centers in Zagreb. Similarly, when choosing a provider for data storage, Croatian companies commonly look to Zagreb. Knowing that, CRATIS, the investor, knew they had to incentivize companies to store their data in DC North, so they decided to make the highest standard Data Centre in the whole of Croatia, a literal – Croatian Fort Knox for Data Storage.   

From a historically poetical view, the once capital of Croatia is once again becoming the capital of Croatia just from a data-security perspective. In the process of planning the investment, CRATIS, adopted a certain philosophy: “… a customer should never be allowed to choose minimal quality and security configuration; both maximum security and levels of quality should be a part of standard plan…”.   

In a conversation with Matija Grabar, CRATIS CEO, and the man behind the idea, he explains how DC North is a greenfield project that will be the first and the only data center in Croatia, certified as Tier III Facility by the Uptime institute, the standard bearer for Digital Infrastructure Performance ( No other data centre in Croatia was able to attain this certification before. He continues, “After we take certification into account, the only thing that is left is the reliability of the equipment, and that is why the investor has chosen only Schneider, Perkings, Siemens, Vertiv and other world-renowned brands to provide services to their customers. Our RedOps team will be providing all kinds of on-site services, such as hands-on migration, configuration, you name it. To get into technical details, we have 6 rooms, each providing 96 configurable 52RU very fancy secured cabinets and 480kW of IT and cooling power per room, totaling 2,8MW of IT power. Whether you are a national agency, bank, Amazon, or Microsoft – we can and will collocate you. Connectivity? Everything passes through us to Zagreb. Our DC North will be the Secondary Croatian IX (LOI signed) and will have all Tier I and nation providers available within”.  

We were so lucky to visit DC North while the mentioned partners from the company Vertiv, were doing their inspection. They are probably the leading global critical digital infrastructure provider. They have supplied around 300 data centres in the World in the last couple of years, reaching from the EU, UAE, US, the Far and the Middle East. By their standards, DC North would be in the global TOP 10 of Data Centres, as one of the managers in Vertiv mentioned.   

With all that being said, DC North is kindly inviting companies to look for themselves even before the grand opening in October. The time to reserve a cabinet, cage or even room if you are a big player is right now. Since they pride themselves of being the biggest and the best facility out here in Croatia, you should be able to find the space and accommodate your company’s data storage needs and secure that your business runs smoothly through all the challenges ahead. 


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