Volta To Build Reliable Data Centre In The Heart Of London
Old Reuters building will become a state-of-the-art co-location facility
Specialist data centre developer Volta has today announced its first project in Central London– a flexible data centre space located in the old Reuters headquarters in Great Sutton Street.
Situated in close proximity to the City, the West End, and a stone’s throw from the Silicon Roundabout in Shoreditch, the facility will provide sub-millisecond latency connections for surrounding financial and media industries.
Volta is a combined real estate, infrastructure and IT business. Once the renovation of the building is complete, it will offer co-location services – resilient power and cooling for single or multiple server racks, and private caged data suites for especially security-conscious clients. The company doesn’t sell the servers – but it does pretty much everything else.
In the middle of things
The new data centre is expected to fit nicely into the UK government plan to create a European tech hub in the capital. Research from 2010 named London the largest European data centre market, and it continues to grow.
“Last year, this interesting opportunity arose, which led to the creation of Volta Data Centres,” one of the investors, Matthew Dent told TechWeekEurope . “It started with us looking at the building on Great Sutton Street. It had been used by Reuters, and later, BT. What we liked about it is the location and a very unique power supply. It was already connected to several existing carriers, and the building itself was very secure.”
Commercial director of Volta Julian King, who previously worked for Global Switch, noted that buildings that can house data centres in close proximity to the City are few and far between. And being this close definitely has its benefits.
“The central location allows us to offer ultra-low latency that a certain number of highly specialised users require. These might be clients from the financial sector who need fast, reliable connection between various sites for computations, or media providers who need to stream information at high rates. We are going for very specific type of customer, at the leading edge of technology.“
Once the refurbishment of the 8,500 square meter space is complete, the basement and ground floor will house electrical plant equipment, while four self-contained data floors will hold the servers. The roof space is reserved for the chiller and heat rejection plant.
The data centre will benefit from the infrastructure created for a global news provider. It is already connected to a number of carriers, including Colt, Verizon, C&W, BT, AboveNet, EU Networks and Geo Networks.
More importantly, Volta claims the building has the most resilient data centre power supply available in Central London. It sits on the link between two major National Grid sites that feed the capital, drawing 33kV power from each. Even if one of the substations goes down, the data centre will remain operational.
Fundamentally, data centres are not “green” because they take a lot of power. And yet, there are steps developers can take to soften their impact on the planet. “Because we are doing a complete refurbishment, we can start from scratch and use the most efficient equipment we can find on the market today,” said Julian. “There have been great advances in UPS system efficiency, free cooling and auxiliary equipment. We believe the Great Sutton Street facility will become a class-leading, efficient data centre. “
”We are using free air cooling to reduce energy consumption. From the roof, the chilled water will be circulating through the building. We will also be introducing a hot and cold aisle cooling layout. We have really looked at every way we can improve the efficiency of the data centre. We want it to be running for the next 25-30 years, and it is what our customers would expect of us”.
The project is entirely backed by equity funding. £50 million has already been invested, but the total could creep up to £100 million over time, as further phases are delivered. The data centre is expected to welcome its first customers in January 2013.
What about the depressing economic climate? Is this really the time to sink so much money into a data centre? “The economy is where it is,” says Matthew. “But the actual market for co-location retail has remained very strong and buoyant. We are quite confident it will be received well by end-users, and we will get our return.”
”We believe in the Silicon Roundabout and the City of London,” agrees Julian.
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