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DCA Meeting Report - BIS & UKTI

Posted By Simon Campbell-Whyte, Wednesday 30 April 2014

DCA BIS/UKTI Workshop – UK Meeting Report

The DCA met with UK Government officials from Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) on 28th March at University of East London to discuss initiatives to boost data centre industry trade both in UK and abroad. 

The meeting reviewed the current material UKTI provide to potential foreign investors. The benefits of the UK were discussed and confirmed in general within the context of the data centre, however the participants highlighted the following evidence of the specific strength of UK data centre sector:

·       Rich Connectivity – digital gateway to Europe and global markets

·       World Class Data Centre Engineering Expertise and Skills – great export           potential

·       UK Leadership on Data Centre Standards, industry development and                  Project Management – e.g. EU Code of Conduct, DCA Certifications, EU          PEDCA project, BIM for DC’s.

·       Environment is ideally suited to Energy Efficient data centres

·       USP is UK has three diverse Internet Exchanges, i.e London, Manchester,          Leeds

·       Universities engaged in new discoveries in data centre sector e.g.                        University of Leeds, South Bank and UEL.

Further debate on the threats posed to the UK data centre industry were noted, these included high costs of energy and changing global competition. brain drain and improved skills and experience in some countries.

BIS, DCA & UKTI – Discussed major global trade events. The participants highlighted the Middle East, Far East, Americas and Eastern Europe as hot spots for trade opportunity for data centres. It was suggested that a trade delegation programme could be undertaken to promote both the digital infrastructure for inward investment and data centre engineering for export opportunities. Participants agreed a more targeted consulate approach designed to identify and target specific businesses which we have a strong hunch would be looking to have a digital presence in Europe, this would avoid UK missing out on recent large projects.

Discussion moved on to the merits of a further workshops with industry partners on UK data centre market proposition – the DCA would like to ensure the UK’s Data Centre Sector’s role in attracting inward investment is fully exploited it would also like to ensure the sector’s export opportunity is also fully realised.

The DCA also recommends the Data Centre sector should contribute a more proactive role in shaping the UK and Europe's R&D agenda in order to maintain and grow market share.

Finally the DCA was invited to join the Government 
Trade Fair Access Programme, and Trade Challenge Partnership Agreements for Industry Associations working with UK Government.

My thanks to DCA Members who participated, 
Duncan Clubb (CS Technology), Dylan Crompton (British Gas), Chris Orange (London & Partners), Huw Owen (Ark Data Centres), Matt Pumfrey (SCC) and John McComish (PTS Consulting)


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It’s all about the network – data centre connectivity

Posted By Tanya Passi, Geo Networks, Wednesday 30 April 2014
Data centres cannot operate in isolation, so it is surprising that many operators continue to invest so much time and effort in the physical building, with little thought about the connectivity requirements of their target customers. To maximise investment, connectivity must go hand in hand with the infrastructure build, rather than being bolted on as an afterthought.

As demand for data centre space continues to grow rapidly, spurred by the increasing move to cloud computing and big data initiatives, huge levels of investment are being poured into this sector. New facilities are springing up in the capital and beyond, as enterprise customers realise that they can store less critical information slightly further afield. Significant focus is placed on the construction and interior of data centres to ensure maximum levels of security, power and operational efficiency, but what about connectivity? Whilst SMEs may be satisfied with only one carrier at a data centre site, large enterprise customers are looking for diversity.

An open access connectivity model can enhance the data centre operator’s proposition by offering its customers a choice of telecom service providers. Open access involves deploying fibre to the data centre and making the underlying infrastructure available to any other network operator or end user so that they can connect directly from the site to the network, or networks, of their choice. This approach is a long term investment rather than a short term remedy, requiring data centre owners and network operators to work in harmony, offering control to the site owners and choice to the end user.

Well-connected data centres present an attractive proposition to end users because as well as choice, they ensure a strong level of competition between different network providers, guaranteeing that connectivity is competitively priced. For operators, there is no need to make multiple investments with different operators, paying each to build a bespoke link to the site, when it’s possible to contract with a single provider and achieve the same goal. It ensures optimum delivery of fibre to the site, so that customers can get access to their data everywhere and anywhere once connected, and the best return on investment for owners.

An open access model, if undertaken correctly has the potential to benefit all: the data centre operator, network provider and most crucially the end user. Connectivity can no longer be an added extra. For the most successful, innovative operators it must be a fundamental part of the data centre proposition from the get go.

Tags:  connectivity  data centre  infrastructure 

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From Fantasy to Reality

Posted By Michelle Martin, Geo Networks, Thursday 24 April 2014

Adventures in Subterranean London - a guest blog by Ian Livingstone CBE

In East London overlooking the Olympic Park I am waiting in line for my turn to venture down the dark tunnels of an underground infrastructure that has been in place for over a hundred and fifty years.

As I watch my fellow fortune seekers take their turn to climb slowly down the iron ladder which runs the length of the brick-lined shaft of this eerie Victorian structure, I feel somewhat unprepared for a challenging quest with no sword or shield or even potions of strength or healing to protect me. I am convinced a horde of Zombies is lying in wait in the murky depths below.

As I approach the ladder I take a couple of deep breaths of fresh air, unsure of what the air will be like in the subterranean tunnels. I descend slowly and inhale my first lungful. It’s not a bad as I had imagined. I reach the bottom of the ladder where it disappears into slow-moving brownish water. The air is dank and mildly unpleasant, but at least there are no Zombies. I step down into the foul water, thankful for my long Wellington Boots, feeling them sink into the silt-covered floor. For a moment I worry my boots are not high enough to keep the dark liquid at bay.

My eyes soon adjust to the semi-darkness. Peering into the gloom, I imagine a hideous creature from my own Deathtrap Dungeon to leap out of the shadows. Around the corner in a narrow section of the tunnel, I half expect a Bloodbeast to rise up from the foetid waters to attack me with its stinging tail.

Luckily for me, nothing that dramatic happens on my tour of the Victorian sewers. My footwear was leak-proof and there were no man-eating creatures stalking the tunnels.

I began this adventure as a result of speaking at a conference on the subject of broadband. I referred to the genius and forethought of Sir Joseph Bazalgette who in the 1860s ignored all his critics when building London’s sewers. He insisted on making the sewers six times bigger than required for the anticipated demand. I likened his visionary decision about sewage pipes to those that must be made today about building super high-speed broadband pipes for the digital world to ensure there is enough future capacity for the exponential growth in data consumption.

What I didn’t realise when I was giving my talk was that there was one organisation coincidentally using Bazalgette’s 150 year-old Victorian infrastructure to house its own future-proofed fibre optic network. After my talk I was invited by Geo Networks to see for myself how these two impressive feats combined; one in construction engineering and the other in high technology.

I’ve been privileged to work in the games industry for nearly 40 years. I co-founded Games Workshop in 1975 with an old school friend Steve Jackson with whom I also co-created Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in the 1980s. I made the leap into video games in the early 1990s, and as Chairman of Eidos launched Tomb Raider in 1995. These days my business interests lie in helping new digital games developers such as Playdemic and Midoki to become the world’s best games makers. The video games industry is big business. Annual global revenues from software are $50 billion and forecasted to rise to $90 billion by 2016. With console games, PC games and mobile games, there is something for everybody to play these days, both for men and women, and young and old. Games have become part of mainstream culture and are socially, culturally and economically important as music and film.

The games industry is in constant transition due to constant changes in technology. Moving away from boxed products sold at retail to digital services online, one thing in common that most new games have today is the need for big bandwidth.

The cloud computing phenomenon that is taking place right now is certainly helping the growth and profitability of the video games industry. Super high-speed broadband is a must-have requirement. Cloud Gaming is the streaming of game play whereby players download a small client to gain access to the game running on a separate server. Server-based games also help solve piracy issues which were so prevalent in the boxed product era of video games.  With cloud gaming it is vital that bandwidth and latency issues are resolved to allow games to run at optimum speeds to keep players happy. Bandwidth affects the quality of play, and big bandwidth is needed so that people can enjoy the full experience. Also on hand are data compression solutions such as technology developed by Tangentix Ltd which compresses games ~ 3x. Bandwidth and connectivity should be a given so that game developers can concentrate on creating the best gameplay experience rather than worry about latency issues.

After surviving my fascinating tour of London’s sewers, I exited the impressive Victorian infrastructure via the same ladder that I used to begin my quest. As I stepped back out into the sunlight there was no crowd of cheering people awaiting my return to the outside world or the infamous Baron Sukumvit of Fang there to hand me a purse of 20,000 gold pieces for surviving his cruel dungeon. Although, let’s be honest, it was a safe bet that under the watchful eye of the brilliant Thames Water team I was always going make it out alive and well, Bloodbeast or no Bloodbeast! 

Follow Ian on his adventures by following him on Twitter @ian_livingstone

Tags:  connectivity  infrastructure  London  network 

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Trim The Cost Of Going Green

Posted By Rob Wallace, AVK|SEG (UK) Ltd, Thursday 24 April 2014

AVK are proud to the announce that our range of ultra-efficient UPS systems are now approved on the Carbon Trust's ETL (Energy Technology List).

Businesses looking to protect their power supply with AVK's range of UPS systems now gain even more added value and benefit as they can claim back up to 100% of the cost of expenditure on power protection equipment whilst simultaneously helping to protect the environment. Get in touch to find out more how we can work to reduce your costs whilst delivering maximum efficiency.

Tags:  Green 

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DCA Anti-Contamination Workshop Reminder

Posted By Kelly Edmond, Tuesday 15 April 2014
Here's a reminder to all who may be interested in attending the DCA Anti-Contamination Workshop on Thursday 24th April 2014.

This is the annual review meeting for this specialist steering group. The group's aim is to discuss, advise and recommend practical solutions to the members of the Data Centre Alliance on the control of dust, dirt and contamination of the data centre. In particular, preventing damage to equipment; loss of data and conservation of energy. This workshop is to gain your views on what collaborative action(s) are required by the DCA. All members are welcome to contribute.

All details of the workshop are in the Event Calendar. Don't forget to RSVP! 

Tags:  air management  anti contamination  data centre cleaning  Date Centre  docklands  university of east london 

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Access to Data Centres: more than just an afterthought in times of crisis

Posted By Anne-Marie Lavelle, London Data Exchange, Thursday 27 March 2014
Updated: Thursday 27 March 2014

Access to Data Centres: more than just an afterthought in times of crisis

We are all hoping that the severe floods experienced recently in parts of the UK are now behind us. However damaging they may have been to the public and businesses alike, they should have acted as a wake up call for business planners & those responsible for running critical infrastructure to revisit their approach to business continuity and disaster recovery planning

As media reports have highlighted, the importance of the right disaster recovery plans in the advent of a natural disaster is even more crucial with the ever changing unpredictable weather patterns we now seem to be faced with .

The recent floods should have also prompted a further consideration for business planners, namely as to where to their locate their data centre resource, and how accessible it will be during a natural disaster.


The floods were especially severe along large swathes of the Thames Valley region, including Slough and other locations along the M4 corridor, which are popular data centre locations. Staines and Egham for example were particularly hard hit because of their proximity to the River Thames, and were at times completely inaccessible.

Physical access to data centres is therefore a vital element that can often be overlooked or ignored by business planners. Because if you cannot access your data centre physically, then how can engineers access the data centre to ensure it remains operational or repair faults, or even to top up the diesel for the backup power generators? Diesel generators can only operate as long as they have the fuel to run them. If a server running mission critical applications for your business went down due to a fault, what would happen if one your engineers tried to visit the Data Centre to replace a faulty machine and they simply could not get to the facility because of road closures due to flooding making access impossible?

This last point was starkly illustrated when Hurricane Sandy hit New York in late 2012. When it hit the ‘Big Apple’, a lot of websites were knocked offline as local data centres became flooded or lost power. One data centre (Lower Manhattan’s Peer 1) managed to remain operational because physical access was still possible. This allowed volunteers to carry diesel fuel in buckets after flooding had shorted out a basement fuel pump.

Thus physical access is a vitally important consideration for business planners, if data centres are to remain operational in times of crisis. It is not just a question of having the appropriate disaster recovery plans and flood defences.

Business planners who are choosing a data centre location need to consider the following factors. Is the facility on (or near) a flood plain? Are there major roads nearby that are likely to remain open? What are the public transport links like? Not all data centres are created equal in this regard. But some have much better accessibility options than others. Many Data Centre operators will state that their facility is not on a flood plain and this maybe the case, but what business planners should look more carefully into is the proximity of the facility to areas that may be prone to flooding that could impact accessibility to the Data Centre they are hosted in.

LDeX for example has a 22,000sq ft carrier neutral colocation facility located at Staples Corner (North West London). The facility is not on a flood plain and it is elevated 65 metres above sea level which is one the highest points in London. Accessibility is guaranteed because it is situated at the convergence of a major road network (the M1 motorway and A406 London Ring Road) and in close proximity to the A40, M40, M25 & M4. It also well within the boundaries of the M25, meaning that public transport links are also plentiful.

Therefore business planners need to reassess their disaster recovery plans following the recent floods, and factor in some new considerations. They need to factor in the physical accessibility of their chosen data centre in any future plans.

Data Centre operators whether corporate or multi-tenanted should also be considering these issues when planning investment and doing feasibility on their next Data Centre build

After all, it is worth remembering that yes, network connectivity is very important, power always on paramount, but physical connectivity is equally crucial and should not be ignored.

Arpen Tucker, Group Commercial and Strategic Director at LDeX Group


Tags:  Datacentre  Date Centre  disaster recovery  Flooding  LDeX Group  London 

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A guide to data centre metrics and standards for start-ups and SMBs

Posted By Anne-Marie Lavelle, London Data Exchange, Thursday 27 March 2014
Updated: Thursday 27 March 2014

A guide to data centre metrics and standards for start-ups and SMBs

Having made that choice to co-locate your organisation’s servers and infrastructure to a trusted data centre provider, companies need to be able to understand the key metrics and standards which they should use to evaluate and benchmark each data centre operator against. With so many terms to get to grips with and understand, we felt it necessary to address the most prevalent ones for data centres.

Green Grid has developed a series of metrics to encourage greater energy efficiency within the data centre. Here are the top seven which we think you’ll find most useful.

PUE: The most common metric used to show how efficiently data centres are using their energy would have to be Power Usage Effectiveness. Essentially, it’s a ratio of how much energy consumption is it going to take to run a data centre’s IT and servers. This would incorporate things like UPS systems, cooling systems, chillers, HVAC for the computer room, air handlers and data centre lighting for instance vs how much energy is going to run the overall data centre which would be taking into account monitor usage, workstations, switches, the list goes on.

Ideally a data centre’s PUE would be 1.0, which means 100% of energy is used by the computing devices in the data centre – and not on things like lighting, cooling or workstations. LDeX for instance uses below 1.35 which means that for every watt of energy used by the servers, .30 of a watt is being used for data centre cooling and lighting making very little of its energy being used for cooling and power conversion.

CUE: Carbon Usage Effectiveness also developed by The Green Grid complements PUE and looks at the carbon emissions associated with operating a data centre. To understand it better you look at the total carbon emissions due to the energy consumption of the data centre and divide it by the energy consumption of the data centre’s servers and IT equipment. The metric is expressed in kilograms of carbon dioxide (kgCO2eq) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and if a data centre is 100-percent powered by clean energy, it will have a CUE of zero. It provides a great way in determining ways to improve a data centre’s sustainability, how data centre operators are improving designs and processes over time. LDeX is run on 100% renewable electricity from Scottish Power.

WUE: Water Usage Effectiveness simply calculates how well data centres are using within its facilities. The WUE is a ratio of the annual water usage to how much energy is being consumed by the IT equipment and servers, and is expressed in litres/kilowatt-hour (L/kWh). Like CUE, the ideal value of WUE is zero, for no water was used to operate the data centre. LDeX does not operate chilled water cooling meaning that we do not use water to run our data centre facility.

Power SLAs: Service Level Agreements is the compensation offered in the unlikely event that power provided by the data centre operator to a client as part of an agreement is lost and service is interrupted affecting your company’s business. The last thing your business wants is to have people being unable to access your company’s website and if power gets cut out from your rack for some reason, make sure you have measures in place.

Data centres refer to the Uptime Institute for guidance with regards to meeting standards for any downtime. The difference between 99.671%, 99.741%, 99.982%, and 99.995%, while seemingly nominal, could be significant depending on the application. Whilst no down-time is ideal, the tier system allows the below durations for services to be unavailable within one year (525,600 minutes):

  • Tier 1 (99.671%) status would allow 1729.224 minutes
  • Tier 2 (99.741%) status would allow 1361.304 minutes
  • Tier 3 (99.982%) status would allow 94.608 minutes
  • Tier 4 (99.995%) status would allow 26.28 minutes

LDeX has infrastructure resilience rated at Tier 3 status offering customers peace of mind that in the unlikely event of an outage–and therefore protecting your business. We like to operate closed control cooling systems in our facilities enabling us to operate tight environmental parameter SLA’s. LDeX operate SLA Cold Aisle Temperature parameters at 23degreesC +/- 3 degreesC and RH (Relative Humidity) 35% – 60%.

Some data centres run fresh air cooling systems which make it hard to regulate RH and quite often their RH parameters are 205 – 80% and beyond. This can lead to increased humidity in the data hall and has on occasion resulted in rust on server components or a low RH can produce static electricity within the data hall. Make sure you look into this and ask about it.

Understand the ISO standards that matter to your business

ISO 50001 – Energy management

Using energy efficiently helps organisations save money as well as helping to conserve resources and tackle climate change. ISO 50001 supports organisations in all sectors to use energy more efficiently, through the development of an energy management system (EnMS).

ISO 50001:2011 provides a framework of requirements for organizations to:

  • Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
  • Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy
  • Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
  • Measure the results
  • Review how well the policy works, and
  • Continually improve energy management

ISO 27001 – Information Security Management

Keeping your company’s intellectual property should be a top priority for your business and ensuring that your data centre provider offers this sort of resilience is imperative. The ISO 27000 family of standards helps organizations keep information assets secure.

Using this will help your organization manage the security of assets such as financial information, intellectual property, employee details or information entrusted to you by third parties.

ISO/IEC 27001 is the best-known standard in the family providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS). An ISMS is a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information so that it remains secure. It includes people, processes and IT systems by applying a risk management process.

It can help small, medium and large businesses in any sector keep information assets secure.

Like other ISO management system standards, certification to ISO/IEC 27001 is possible but not obligatory. Some organizations choose to implement the standard in order to benefit from the best practice it contains while others decide they also want to get certified to reassure customers and clients that its recommendations have been followed. ISO does not perform certification.

PCI DSS – Banks and businesses alike conduct a lot of transactions over the internet. With this in mind, the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) developed a set of international security standards to ensure that service providers and merchants have payment protection whether from a debit, credit or company purchasing card. As of 1st January 2015, PCI DSS 2.0 will become mandatory. This will be broken down into 12 requirements ranging from vulnerability assessments to encrypting data. Make sure to ask if your data centre operator has this standard.

With the increased stakeholder scrutiny that has been placed on data centres, steps need to be put in place to make sure that the data centre operator that you are looking at choosing is aligning its strategy not only to some of these metrics and standards mention, but to other security, environmental governmental regulations that have been brought in.

Working for a successful data centre and network services provider like LDeX has enabled me as a relative newbie to the data centre industry, to get to grips with these terms to facilitate client understanding regarding where LDeX sits in comparison with our competitors.

Anne-Marie Lavelle, Group Marketing Executive at LDeX Group

Tags:  connectivity  Cooling  CUE  data centre  Datacentre  Date Centre  efficiency  ISO standards  operational best practice  PCI DSS  PUE  WUE 

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The LDeX guide to streaming satellite feeds over IP

Posted By Anne-Marie Lavelle, London Data Exchange, Thursday 27 March 2014
Updated: Thursday 27 March 2014

The LDeX guide to streaming satellite feeds over IP

Since launching our first ever data centre company UK Grid back in 2004, the management team at LDeX has been involved with colocation clients that stream satellite feeds over IP. Although the Manchester based company was acquired in 2011, the management team went on to create LDeX, bringing with them a clear vision of wanting to maintain and enhance the relationships formed with media clients looking to stream their services through the usage of our facilities and low latency connectivity.

In the early days, the system was completely based on coax cabling and daisy chained multi switches which were quite difficult to manage and scale. Since then, the team at LDeX1, which is our new Data Centre facility in London, has developed a streaming platform that addresses the early pitfalls. The platform is working very well and we are attracting a global client base into LDeX due to our experience and knowledge of this infrastructure. I’m going to discuss below the elements which make our platform unique and attractive to the streaming world.

Optical Distribution for scale

Our Satellite system uses optical LNBs – this means the LNB is connected into our satellite distribution racks via a simplex fibre optic patch. The LNB takes the four polarities and stacks them together and then converts them to light, rather like a network trunk carrying multiple VLANs. The fibre patch is ruggedised as part of it is exposed to the outside elements. The fibre patch then connects into an optical splitter, which can split the light up to 32 times without amplification. From this point, the light from the splitter via another fibre patch is converted into electrical current using a Quatro convertor.

On the output side of the convertor, we can split the signal again and from this point, we use coax to connect into 32 way multi switches. We can then hand off feeds to our clients via coax cable that runs through our cable management system. Each individual coax feed is stacked with the entire frequency of the given satellite. The system is highly scalable and uses a single LNB, which enables us to deliver 2048 satellite feeds to clients. More than this could be possible – I’ll let you know when we get there.

All of this means we can hand off a single Coax to a client, we can hand off the four bands via 4 coax feeds and they can put their own multi switches in or we can simply hand off an optical feed and they can build their own distribution system. There is also another option for a client to site their own satellite dish within our compound on our gantry systems. We can go as far as offering N plus 1 satellites with two satellite dishes sited in different locations connecting into a common multi switch.

Low Latency Bandwidth for TV

Once our clients have converted their feeds into IP, they need a low latency multi-homed network to get the content to the users. We provide this on our network platform by peering with the largest IP networks in the world and also by peering on the largest Internet Exchange Points in Europe. This means we can connect our clients directly with the major ISPs globally and remove network hops and latency giving a consistent and fast direct connection. The network needs to be resilient and we have built in dual core network architecture especially for streaming with two major network POPs in LDeX1 and Telehouse North giving the capability to burst up to 10 Gbps.

Hand holding

Our support team here at LDeX1 has extensive knowledge in the physical infrastructure required to deliver satellite feeds and we also have the testing equipment on site to troubleshoot any issues with signal strength. We can deliver a satellite feed to a rack in LDeX1 on the same day as requested. The majority of our overseas clients ship equipment to us and we install it, configure it and cable for them using our in house team.

We also know that some of our clients don’t necessarily understand IP networks, BGP, routing etc – they don’t need to. Our experienced team of network engineers do understand this and we can provide the full network wrap around for any clients, our network team is qualified and highly experienced in Cisco and Juniper from CCNA up to CCIE.

LDeX is also developing a media eco system within LDeX1, which we have named ‘the London Media Platform’. Our clients are making full use of the platform already by doing business with each other. This eco system enables our clients to offer additional services to each other within the confines of LDeX.

To give an example of how it works, we have a media client in LDeX1 that requires channels from a satellite which can’t be picked up in the UK. This client has been able to liaise with another one our partners within our platform, which operates in the geographical area of the required satellite footprint. They are streaming this Satellite back into LDeX and onto the media client who then streams the channels to his end users.

So in summary, our streaming platform is comprised of three core elements.

1. A scalable distribution system
2. A scalable and resilient low latency network
3. A highly skilled team of Data Centre technicians and Network engineers.

Hopefully you can see how LDeX is rapidly becoming the media streaming platform of choice for streaming customers – we are certainly cooking up a stream!

Patrick Doyle, Operations Director and Co-owner at LDeX Group

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  connectivity  Date Centre  IP  latency  optical distribution for scale  satellite systems 

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Senior Management Team key to datacentre success

Posted By Anne-Marie Lavelle, London Data Exchange, Thursday 27 March 2014

Senior Management Team key to data centre success 

I am often asked what the key ingredients to running a successful company are. Particularly one which operates world class carrier neutral data centres in the UK. My answer is simple – having a well-oiled Senior Management Team (SMT).

Having seen data centre operators come and go over the last two decades, those that stick around or have been acquired are generally those that have a solid SMT-a leadership function that Winston Churchill would be proud of.

Since we hit the financial crisis of 2008, increasing pressure has been put on our FD’s and CFO’s to ensure that supply chains are as robust on the inside as they appear on the outside. Credit scoring and financial due diligence is becoming par for the course and general procurement pessimism is at its peak.

This “procurement pessimism” is felt throughout the industry with protracted sales cycles and longer than ever lead times on contract completions following months of contract negotiations on “what if…” scenarios and clauses. Everyone is cautious  not to expose their company to potential unnecessary liability and  prudent not to put their job at risk…knowing oh too well such things like jobs are like rocking horse manure in times of austerity.

This is why it is imperative at this crucial time to ensure you have your ducks in a row. A quality SMT comprised of professional, dedicated and highly experienced individuals is essential in order to  ensure that  all aspects of a well-oiled machine; remain well-oiled and regularly serviced.  The highly geared asset rich nature of a data centre operator requires a keen balance between cash flow and debt.  One doesn’t want to starve the business of cash to allow for the next phase of construction to begin, however one also doesn’t want to overly expose the company to mountains of debt that is unserviceable. One also needs to keep a keen eye on the company’s order books to ensure whichever route the CFO decides to take to fund the next phase, there is sufficient technical space available to furnish the new orders, on time.  This is a prime example where the COO and CFO need to work in harmony.

Finally, a well-oiled SMT needs to know how to delegate.  There isn’t much point in being well-oiled, if the SMT are the ones applying the oil, and for this reason, delegation is another key skill which is  crucial to a successful SMT and the successful operation of a data centre.  Having the ability to communicate the key objectives as well as being able to articulate the  company’s ethos and message statement down the chain is an important attribute to have.  Your staff will look to you for leadership and how the SMT is portrayed in their day to day roles will rub off on them.  Remember, whatever message you are putting out to your team will eventually filter all the way down to your customers…so make it a good one!

It takes years to gain the relevant experience within an SMT to orchestrate this fine balancing act required within a data centre operator.  Procurement managers and CFO’s will no doubt look to the balance sheet to give them comfort that their preferred supplier of data centre services will be here not just today, but tomorrow as well.  Secondly, however, if not at the same time, the SMT will be interrogated on experience and their ability to gel well together as a leadership function and share the same company direction and ethos and its ultimate goals.  They will look to the SMT for a team of sensible, responsible individuals who have the company’s best interests at heart and who can steer the ship through bumpy waters and come out of the other side relatively unscathed.

What does all this mean - well get it right and it could mean more golf, which is good for all of us. Get it wrong and the consequences could be disastrous.

Rob Garbutt, CEO at LDeX Group

Tags:  Datacentre  Date Centre  LDeX Group  London 

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A Day in the Life of a Data Centre Supervisor

Posted By Anne-Marie Lavelle, London Data Exchange, Thursday 27 March 2014
Updated: Thursday 27 March 2014

A Day in the Life of a Data Centre Supervisor 

If you’re reading this blog, you are probably somebody who follows the data centre industry closely and are use to reading about the data centre trends and developments. With all this in mind, I thought I would give you a high level insight of a day in a life of a data centre supervisor with some of our best practices that we follow in our facility.

I am responsible for the day-to-day operations at our North West London facility that include, managing the team of data centre technicians, supporting our clients, maintaining the high operational standards, as well as following our PPM plan.

As the data centre supervisor I have a number of tasks every morning as well as a checklist that our on-site data centre technicians would carry out. I have listed the 4 key points from my checklist below:

1. Data Centre Security

When my day starts at 07:00 I have to make sure all of our security cameras are running effectively as well as checking the security night report, this can be obtained by on site security or from our third party monitoring centre.

2. Data Centre Cooling

Also included in my morning checklist is to check the facilities temperature and humidity graphs that are retrieved from a number of probes placed within the data halls. I have to make sure we stay within our data centre service level agreement (SLA) and this is carried out by a number of alarms in place that will alert us 24 x 7 of any fluctuations.

3. Data Centre Operations

As you know the data centre needs 100% uptime. Firstly I would check our on-site power generation and then move onto our three string UPS system to check for any unusual activity.

4. Data Centre Cleanliness

I believe a clean data centre is a happy data centre. My team of data centre technicians are always making sure the data halls are clean, dust free and well presented.

If you are looking for any more in depth information on the above click here

As a data centre supervisor, I believe everything is your business and this is exactly why I go that extra mile to make sure all our customers are always fully supported and comfortable with every aspect of our service.

Jesse South - LDeX Group Data Centre Supervisor 

Tags:  data centre cleaning  Date Centre  London  operational best practice 

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DCS Awards - Nomination Extension

Posted By Administration, Tuesday 18 March 2014

Due to the popularity DCS have extended the DCS Awards deadline to the 21st March. Make sure you get your nominations in by Friday - it's free of charge!

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DCS Awards - Nomination deadline extended!

Posted By Kelly Edmond, Friday 7 March 2014

We are pleased to announce that we have extended the deadline for the Datacentre Solutions Awards so if you haven’t entered yet, it’s not too late.

New deadline: 14 March 2014
23 categories - no entry fee!

The DCS awards are designed to reward the product designers, manufacturers, suppliers and providers operating in data centre arena. The Awards recognise the achievements of the vendors and their business partners alike and this year encompass a wider range of both facilities and information technology award categories designed to address all of the main areas of the datacentre market in Europe.tional food and excellent entertainment and of course, proud award winners.

Angel Business Communications. 6 Bow Court, Fletchworth Gate, Burnsall Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV5 6SP. Registered in England & Wales with number 1972952.

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DCS Awards - Only two weeks left to enter!

Posted By Kelly Edmond, Friday 28 February 2014
The DCS awards are designed to reward the product designers, manufacturers, suppliers and providers operating in data centre arena. The Awards recognise the achievements of the vendors and their business partners alike and this year encompass a wider range of both facilities and information technology award categories designed to address all of the main areas of the datacentre market in Europe.

The editorial staff at Angel Business Communications will validate entries and announce the final short list to be forwarded for voting by the generic public in April. The winners will be announced at a gala evening on 15th May in London. What better way to reward your team for their hard work than to take one day off their busy schedule and to celebrate your success? 

You can expect an evening to remember: high-class venue, exceptional food and excellent entertainment and of course, proud award winners.

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Tender Opportunity - Royal Holloway, University of London, Surrey

Posted By Kim Cooper, Wednesday 26 February 2014

Monitoring, Maintenance Repair and Testing of Data Centre Support Infrastructure

Reference number: RHUL/MSC017/14

Closing Date for accessing documents: Tuesday 18th March 2014

Pre-qualification Questionnaire Submission Date: Midday on Wednesday 19th March 2014

We have today published an opportunity that may be of interest to your company under the ‘Current Tenders’ section of the College’s In-tend electronic tendering system. If you would be interested in bidding for this work, please go to the College website via the link below, and after reading the terms and conditions of submission for electronic tendering, progress (via the link at the top of the page) to the Intend website, to register your company details and view the tender documents. The system will email you once the registration process is complete. The Intend system is widely used throughout the university, and local government sector – so you may have come across it before during other tenders. If you are new to the system, please visit the ‘Help’ and ‘User Guidance’ information on the website, which goes through the process in detail.

We will be using the online ‘Correspondence’ and ‘Clarification’ tools for distributing any further updates/information during the tender process, so that any information is retained within the system for audit purposes.

If you have any questions regarding the registration process or any difficulties in registering your company on the system, please contact the Central Procurement Unit at the College on the number below.

If you have any questions regarding the tender documentation or the tender process itself, please send them via the ‘Correspondence’ section of Intend.

Kim Cooper - Purchasing Manager, Central Procurement Unit

Tel: +44 (01784) 414181

Tags:  data centre  maintenance  monitoring  support infrastructure  tender 

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Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Workshop Reminder

Posted By Kelly Edmond, Monday 17 February 2014



A reminder to all members that the DCA are holding an Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Workshop which is being held at the University of East London. This will be on Tuesday 25th February. 


The purpose of this workshop is to discuss/review the following ISO standards and EU Code/EN updates. All members are welcome to contribute.

If you are interested in attending please go to our Event Calendar for more information and RSVP. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this. We hope to see you there!

Kelly Edmond

DCA Membership Executive 

Tags:  efficiency  London  university of east london 

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CeBIT - Call for DCA Members

Posted By Simon Campbell-Whyte, Thursday 6 February 2014

UK Partner Country at CeBIT - Call to DCA Members

Hannover 10-14 March 2014

The UK will be Partner Country at CeBIT, the world's largest IT event, where the key theme this year is the sustainable and responsible use of Big Data ('Datability' in the organisers' jargon).

Highlights of the UK programme

Opening Ceremony: The Prime Minister and the German Chancellor will open CeBIT on Sunday 9 March and then tour the UK pavilions and other halls the following morning, 10 March

UK Main Pavilion in Hall 6 with more than 50 innovative businesses, many at CeBIT for the first time, and informal meeting facilities

Launch of UK Innovation campaign in the Research and Innovation Hall, with a holographic stage presentation on technology and R&D driven organisations in the pavilion, including at least six Universities and the Connected Digital Economy Catapult

British Business Lounge with a daily programme of seminars on Big Data, Cloud, Smart Cities, Mobile, Social Media

UK/Germany Technology Summit on 10 March led by Lord Livingston, Minister for Trade and Investment

Press event on the main pavilion for UK businesses to meet financial and trade journalists

Networking event for UK exhibitors and their guests in the British Business Lounge

Members of DCA are invited to contact UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) about

Exhibiting in the UK main pavilion (limited space is left)

The seminar session on Big Data - are you interested in chairing this, shaping the content, suggesting speakers?

Participating in any parts of the above programme - we'd like to know if you're going to CeBIT, whether there's anything we can do to make it more successful for you, and there's any news about your business that we could help you promote to the global media at the show

Please contact Ron Archibald at UKTI, Email:

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Remember to cite your DCA membership to add gravitas to your PR and promotion

Posted By Phil Turtle, Monday 27 January 2014

 It adds to your companies reputation if you mention in your news and press releases that you are a member of the Data Centre Alliance or if one of your executives holds a position on The DCA Board or one of the DCA's executive committees or working groups.

See below for an example of how AIMES Grid Services did just this in their recent press announcement.    In their case Prof Dennis Kehoe is a board member, but the sentence could just have easily have read "AIMES Grid Services, a Data Centre Alliance Partner....."

And, of course, it helps your Data Centre Alliance to become better known and more influential by being mentioned frequently in the press. 

Thanks!  Phil Turtle 


Leading the way in intelligent transport

Published: 24 January 2014 - Joe Bush

Data centre operator and cloud computing firm, AIMES Grid Services, is helping to put Liverpool at the forefront of digital innovation within the transport sector with a trio of collaborative R&D projects which have won the backing of the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, and several high profile partners.

The three projects seek to demonstrate the potential of mobile technologies and intelligent cloud services and infrastructure (such as the Internet of Things (IoT)), to address the challenges facing the UK’s roads, rail networks and ports.

The Internet of Things is the connected world that results from networked devices being able to sense and interact with other networked devices and for that connectivity to be integrated into everyday ‘things’ including cars, trucks, trains, clothing, medical devices, electrical appliances and smartphones.

AIMES is leading on the delivery of the projects which involve partners ranging from application developers from across the Liverpool city region and local transport operators, such as Merseyrail and JMD Haulage, to international players including BT and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Dennis Kehoe, chief executive of AIMES Grid Services, said, "Liverpool has a rich heritage as a global transportation hub and these projects continue this tradition by exploring how the latest digital technology can help to relieve the transport issues of the modern age, such as effective management of urban congestion corridors.

"The projects also provide an excellent opportunity to create partner ecosystems which benefit businesses close to home and further afield. Collaborating with organisations such as Peel Ports and Freightliner, showcases the digital services and infrastructure that we have in this city, and the UK generally, and promotes Liverpool as a centre for digital innovation.”

AIMES successfully secured funding in the region of £4m to finance the projects which began in April 2013 and run through to 2015.

2013 was a successful year for the company with the launch of its second data centre facility, Kilby House, which was voted Private Sector Project of the Year by the readers of a leading data centre industry publication.

AIMES was also unveiled as one of the ACCELERATE 250, an exclusive group of Britain’s fastest growing companies. Part of the firm’s recent high growth has been fuelled by the award of several new commercial contracts with organisations including the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Sportech plc and Medicash.

Commenting on the progress of the business over the past year, professor Kehoe, who sits on the board of the Data Centre Alliance, said, "The Kilby House data centre was designed to enable the provision of technical services at highly competitive rates.

"By being smarter about the data centre’s energy requirements from the outset, we’ve created a facility that offers significant cost savings over similar legacy environments and this is proving to be an attractive proposition for our customers.”

- See more at:

Tags:  Marketing  Membership  PR  Promotion 

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CeBIT Partner Country Launch

Posted By Steve Hone, Tuesday 10 December 2013

DCA attend signing of  CeBIT 2014 Partner Country Agreement

The United Kingdom will be centre stage at CeBIT 2014, I was honoured along with DCA President Steve Norris to be invite to attend the ceremonial signing of the Partner Country Agreement at a reception held at the Institute of Director in Pall Mall, London last week.

During the signing ceremony the minster of Economic Affairs for Lower Saxony Mr Olaf Lies together with the C'harge d’Affaires from the German Embassy in London Dr. Rufolf Adam and Lord Green Minster for Trade and Investment outlined the importance of having the UK centre stage as the key partner at CeBIT 2014 which will be the major ICT fair of the year in Hannover from 10-14 March 2014.

CeBIT 2014 will see the biggest UK national presence for many years and there will be a full programme of conferences and networking events throughout the 5 days which attracts businesses and delegates from right around the globe and the DCA is proud to be supporting the Data Centre Industry at this prestigious event.

"The partnership between these two industrial nations is testimony to Europe's strength. As well as being home to their fair share of global IT players, the UK and Germany each have a very healthy IT startup scene. The closer cooperation envisaged by the Partner Country concept harbors major commercial potential for both countries,"commented Oliver Frese, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of CeBIT.

This view is echoed by BITKOM President Dieter Kempf:"The UK is the second-largest ICT market in Europe after Germany. The networking and dialogue opportunities at next year's CeBIT will be of enormous benefit to exhibitors. For small and medium businesses in particular, the fair is an affordable, highly effective means of forging key international contacts."

Tags:  CeBIT 2014 

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Osborne Gives Data Centres A Green Bonus

Posted By Arpen Tucker, Monday 9 December 2013

Osborne Gives Data Centres A Green Bonus

The data centre industry gets green tax relief in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement

The Chancellor George Osborne has granted a concession to Britain’s data centre industry by allowing it to step outside other green taxes and form its own agreement to reduce emissions, while still remaining competitive against the industry in other nations.

The climate change agreement (CCA) will reduce taxes on the sector, in exchange for meeting agree efficiency targets. The idea is that high taxes would have made it harder for Britain’s data centres to compete against foreign rivals. The British tech industry body, techUK, welcomed the decision, having fought for a CCA for the industry for some time.

CRC-Energy-Efficiency-SchemeData centres want tax love

"We are delighted that the Chancellor has recognised the importance of technology with the introduction of a climate change agreement (CCA) for data centres,” said Emma Fryer, associate director of climate change programmes at techUK. "This comes after our sustained campaign to ask government to apply a more intelligent approach to improving energy efficiency without penalising growth in this important sector.”

Climate Change Agreements are designed for industry sectors, such as manufacturing, which use large amounts of energy and are subject to competition from abroad. Applying taxes would make them uncompetitive, Fryer has argued, and have no impact on emissions. Instead of making British data centres more efficient, the higher costs would drive business abroad where it would probably be equally inefficient.

Under the CCA, the sector agrees efficiency targets, at levels where the cost won’t make the businesses uncompetitive. There are around 50 CCAs in operation, but the data centre industry’s is the first CCA in a sector which does not manufacture physical objects, techUK pointed out today. The argument took a long time, even though to techUK it has been obvious that data centres face even greater competition since "data is the most mobile commodity on earth”.

More attractive location

In answer to fears that the CCA might be a soft option compared to green taxes, techUK’s statement claims that the targets are more beneficial to the environment: "These targets are sector-specific so they can be focused exactly where they can deliver the most benefit,” said techUK, adding that CCAs have delivered greater energy savings than conventional policy measures. 

"Without a CCA we would have seen the UK become an increasingly unattractive location to operate data centres,” said Fryer. "The UK would have lost investment, expertise and capability to other countries at significant economic cost.  

The CCA will also drive cloud computing, said Fryer: "A climate change agreement will encourage the right behaviour among data centre operators and drive the market away from a distributed IT model that is less energy efficient towards one in which computing activity is consolidated into efficient, purpose-built facilities. This CCA supports the whole migration to Cloud-based computing. By creating much needed stability and predictability it will also enable data centres and associated businesses to plan their long term investment and growth strategies.”

Data centres are not just fancy sheds full of computing equipment, she said. They enable and power service economies in the way that heavy industry used to power manufacturing economies; they are the agents of growth for the knowledge economy. This is because a single data centre supports multiple layers of economic activity.

Others have raised questions about the long-term benefit of entering a new relationship with government. "I know that some operators find the CRC and Climate Change Levy costs to be a substantial part of their operating margin but we need to consider the downsides as well,” Liam Newcombe of data centre energy efficiency firm Romonet told TechWeekEurope earlier in techUK’s campaign. "If a CCA is granted then data centres will become recognised by government as a sector which will then be measured and reported on. ”

Tags:  Carbon Tax  CRC  Date Centre  energy-efficient computing 

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What energy efficiency metrics to use?

Posted By Barry Paton, Thursday 5 December 2013

Dear all,

I'm trying to answer that question as part of my masters degree with the Open University.

The aim of the research project is to design a state-of-the-art monitoring dashboard that will help to improve energy efficiency in data centres.

I've created a survey to gather information on metrics from industry experts.

The survey can be accessed here:

Please take a few minutes to share your knowledge and experience.

All participants will receive a copy of the final thesis on request. Be assured that no personal data will be reported in the results.

Thanks and Best Regards,


Tags:  efficiency  energy-efficient computing  PUE 

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