Clarification from the Data Centre Alliance

15 November 2018

Following our September issue article about data centres (‘The centre of attention, pp11-13) Steve Hone, CEO of the Data Centre Trade Association, has asked us to publish the following clarification regarding some of the points that were attributed to him:

“Whilst London is still a popular data centre location, the quality and quantity of power in the city is starting to become an issue, resulting in data centre providers opting to build further into the commuter belt. The attraction of these out of town locations is simple – lower land/real estate costs, and more power availability.”

Hone points out that at any one time, the National Grid only has about three per cent capacity held in reserve, and while this has so far not led to brownouts, any unplanned strain on the grid – caused, for example, by a cold winter spike – could leave more than just the capital susceptible to unplanned power outages.

He continues: “Availability to international telco networks continue to make London popular in terms of a data centre location. However in general terms, with so much choice now on the outskirts of London offering both competitive pricing and the promise of higher power density per rack, it would be mad to automatically make a beeline to just Docklands unless your business needs absolutely demanded it.

“Most data centre providers remain busy, but there are some who appear to be struggling. These tend to fall into two camps. There are legacy data centres who, despite operating good facilities, simply have too much space and not enough power to deliver the higher rack densities clients are now seeking. This can only be solved by giving them 200ft2 of colo space just to host five 6kV racks – far from ideal.

“The second group who appear to be struggling are the single site operators who, despite having high quality facilities with all the power required, find it difficult to offer secondary facilities or backup/redundancy locations. To counter this threat, these independent operators have been partnering up so that they can offer the client an end-to-end solution and compete on a level playing field with the ‘big boys’ who already have multiple data centre location offerings.”