Data Centre expansion underway

Thursday 29th September 2011
Data Centre campus at Cobalt Park. In the image the planned buildings are located to the left and right of the completed centre DCI building

The next great expansion of the world’s digital infrastructure is under way in developing markets like those of China, Brazil and Argentina, according to a global census of the industry by London based DatacenterDynamics. But no word at present of any Scottish developments.

Despite growing concerns of a global economic slowdown, the companies that construct and operate data centres that run the Internet and store vast amounts of corporate and government data expect growth next year to match levels last seen in the world economy’s boom years: about 19% reports
DatacenterDynamics, that said it conducted some 5,400 interviews this year with industry officials around the world.

Those officials are responsible for about 100,000 data centres, the company said.Officials interviewed cited cost and availability of energy for power-hungry computers as top concern in planning future operations. Such energy concerns were driving them to design more efficient data centers.

Google for example made recently made headlines with new seawater cooling at its Finland data centre and it plans to build data centres in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore having acquired land in each territory with a $200m. investment. These will be its first owned and operated data centres in Asia with sites expected to be operational in two years.
"Some of the key things we look for in a site include closeness to our users, robust infrastructure, reliable power, availability of skilled workers, reasonable business regulations and cost," says Taj Meadows, (right) Google Asia policy communications manager.

The DatacenterDynamics census, which expressed results in energy use, showed projected increase of 46% in China over the next year.

“Imagine what might happen when India and China get the pedal to the metal in terms of data centre growth and the effect that will have upon global energy consumption in the sector,” commented George Rockett, a DatacenterDynamics co-founder.

The company also said projections of brisk growth in the Nordic countries could be partly a result of the availability of renewable energy there.

In the UK TelecityGroup has RECENTLY bought UK datacenter operator UK Grid with a Manchester based colocation data center Manchester One@Synergy House for £11.7m. By purchasing UK Grid, Telecity is instantly adding 1.5MW to its portfolio in the North West of England.

Manchester One has 25,000ft2 of Data Centre and is Tier II certified. It connected to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) recently in a deal signed with IX Reach whose CEO Monica O’Meany (right) said “Manchester is a fast growing city in Northern Europe with continuous influence in the telecommunications market which makes it one of the key cities that has captured out attention”.

Telecity UK MD Adriaan Oosthoek said the Manchester site offers room for further expansion. “The demand for data center capacity in the region is clear, and this acquisition will further enhance TelecityGroup’s ability to grow in this increasingly important digital and technology hub.”

Meantime Highbridge Properties Plc published designs for the final stages of its data center campus at Cobalt Park, on Tyneside in the North East of England. Two new buildings, DC2 and DC3 received full funding earlier this year, and will be constructed beside the existing DC1 data centre.

Construction on DC2 and 3 is scheduled to begin in Q4 2011.

When completed the site will have a combined 5,760 m2 of net technical space. Guy Marsden  (right) of Highbridge Properties, said: "DC2 and DC3 will commence construction in Q4 this year. Each will uniquely benefit from existing power supply drawn directly from the National Grid."

The campus will offer a minimum Tier III N+1 Uptime Institute standard with 2N UPS systems, and will be powered by four diverse 20 MVA supplies fed by two independent substations

Another player, Colt is completing the manufacture of its first modular data centre (left)  for an overseas customer with Verne Global, which operates from an old air force base in Keflavik, Iceland, awaiting delivery of a 500m2 facility in October. The modular data center will sit inside the existing shell at the site and will run on ‘free’ air, with no chillers being shipped with the system.

Colt data centres are manufactured at a factory on Tyne and Wear and the ‘chillerless’ model shows the flexibility of the design. Once in place the facility will be powered by geo thermal and hydro electric power.

Bernard Geoghagen, executive VP at Colt Data Center Services, said: “Verne Global has an existing  shell and we have retro fitted the solution to fit into the space available. The flexibility in the product has allowed us to engineer a completely free air solution.”

"Partnering with Colt enables us to have a purpose-built facility that will be in operation before the end of 2011, supporting our mission of delivering the world's first dual-sourced renewably powered data center," said Jeff Monroe, CEO at Verne Global. "We see a strong demand in the colocation market and we required a partner who could provide highly resilient, flexible data centre space, configured to our specific technical requirements."

And if HP is considering its profile, Europe based aircraft manufacturer Airbus has no doubts in doubling its usable supercomputing power with containerised HP Performance Optimized Datacenters (PODs).

In the final phase of a 4-year high-performance computing (HPC) deployment, Airbus has taken delivery of two HP PODs, making this the world’s largest industrial HPC system and one of the first confirmed commercial HPC container contracts.

The deployment is the 29th biggest computer in the world according to the official TOP500 Supercomputer list published on June 20. Manufactured and tested by HP, the modular HP PODs were delivered to Airbus sites in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany.

The HP PODs have enabled Airbus to quickly expand data center capacity, boosting computing performance for aircraft development while saving space and energy. Compared to an installation in a nearby customer data centre, the water-cooled HP PODs consume up to 40% less power.

With a near-optimum Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.25 from The Green Grid consortium, Airbus decreased operating expenses while delivering power capacity in excess of 15 KW/m2.

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