This story begins at home, with a blanket in front of the TV. When you watch a Netflix series, it’s actually stored on a computer server somewhere else. The same goes for checking your email, for instance. Servers are, in short, important, even if you don’t always realize it. And one of the world’s largest server manufacturers is operating a 200,000-square-meter factory in Den Bosch, right along the A2 highway.
This immediately raises a question. Because when you look at the world map in Silicon Valley, Den Bosch is not on it. How did the American tech company Supermicro end up in the capital of Brabant?
“That’s only logical. The city has everything we’re looking for,” says European Director Vik Malyala. Supermicro established a service center in Den Bosch in 1998, followed by a factory in 2000. Currently, about 450 people work at the facility, half of whom are Dutch nationals. “They source components from all over the world, and they assemble them in Den Bosch. What Supermicro does here is like an advanced version of Ikea,” says tech journalist Frank Everaardt of the Hardware.info website.
The proximity to major transit hubs in the area, such as the Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport, is the reason for choosing Den Bosch, according to Malyala. Not only because of import but also because of export. “Most of our customers are in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. It makes sense to be close to them.”
This year, servers worth around 800 million euros will be produced in Den Bosch. The company is secretive about its customers, although Malyala mentions a “large semiconductor company” as a client. Everaardt explains that within the server industry, Supermicro is known as the ‘house brand’ for companies large enough to provide their own technical support.
In addition to the location, there are two other reasons why Supermicro finds Den Bosch attractive, according to Malyala. “The city is small but still accessible and relatively affordable. And the surrounding area is open to and focused on technology companies.”
Besides the location, there are two more reasons why Supermicro finds Den Bosch attractive, says Malyala. “The city is small but still accessible and relatively affordable. And the surrounding area is open to and focused on technology companies.”
Because the ‘leading data city’ Den Bosch sometimes gets criticized for hitching the horse to the cart with that title, Malyala’s words are music to the ears of Councilor Ralph Geers (VVD, Economy). “We have a strong foundation as a data city. Thankfully. High-tech companies are needed to create new jobs, especially because other jobs are disappearing due to technological advancements.”
As far as employment is concerned, it’s currently going a bit too well. If Malyala has to name one issue at the Bosch factory, it’s the shortage of personnel. “We could hire as many as fifty people because we want to continue growing in the coming years.”