London East Build Blog – Weeks 49 to 51

Things are really heating up now in terms of progress on-site at NLE, as we document another three weeks of work at our forthcoming data centre.

We’re almost at the one year mark in terms of when we first gained access to the new building, and despite some setbacks early on due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been extremely pleased with how quickly we’ve transformed the site from shell to data centre.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting ever closer!


Weekly overview

The last three weeks have seen tremendous progress across a wide range of project areas. The most notable changes have centred around the physical adjustments to the rear of the facility, as the first set of louvred intake panels are cut into the exterior walls for Data Hall 1.

Speedgates
Our custom cable cover ramps have been installed as part of our client flow speed gates
Cooling
The coolers for Data Hall 1 now have their water supply and drains plumbed in
Cooling
The cooling controller for Data Hall 1 has now had its trunking installed, which connects through to the routes in the data hall itself
Fire Panels
The fire panels have started to have their containment installed, with cables now run in to them for future commissioning
Fire Panels
Here we see some more fire panel containment and cabling, along with the route being taken by our single run of MDPE pipework for the cooling supply
Fire Panels
The containment during installation inside Data Hall 1 for fire systems, including the main panels and VESDA system
Fire Panels
This shows a near-complete containment assembly for the VESDA system in Data Hall 2, which allows for multiple route options between equipment
Louvres
The first set of louvres being cut into the rear elevation of Data Hall 1’s cold corridor, with frames being installed
Louvres
The first set of louvres installed ahead of having their rear bag filter frames fitted – there will be a second run of these louvres installed underneath these, giving 28 external intake louvres per hall in total
Louvres
Another view of the first set of louvres installed for Data Hall 1
Louvres
An exterior view of the louvres as installed, ahead of the second run below this set, and some finishing flashings that will be install on completion
Louvres
The louvres for Data Hall 1 are split across the fire escape door
NOC
The black textured wall in the meeting room at the NLE NOC also doubles as a handy pin board, which is ideal for displaying various technical drawings during the build process
Pod 1
Pod 1 in Data Hall 1 is now fully assembled, with both automatic doors now installed and powered
Pod 1
A view across Data Hall 1, at the now fully assembled containment pod, housing the first 28 racks
Pod 1
We’ve carried over our use of APC hardware for all racking and containment, which will mean a familiar service presentation for clients with services in London Central, and elsewhere in our partner sites
Pod 1
A look at the contact-free entry and exit sensors for the shared Pod 1 colocation space, which can be opened even with hands full with equipment
Pod 1
Another view down the length of Pod 1 – you can just make out our custom rack unit blanks in the top quarter rack, which have our logomark on them

As we hope is self-evident, the visual and functional change on-site has been noteworthy, to say the least.

Big advances have been made in containment, which helps move the project along in many areas. Our fire contractors are now able to bring all systems together, and complete the VESDA and extinguishant panel integrations with the main building system.

Having Pod 1 reach point of completion from an assembly perspective is also a major project milestone, and gives a tangible focus point for any tours of the site ahead of it opening.


What’s next?

Next week we will reach 12 months on-site at NLE, although due to COVID-19 restrictions early on, we’re probably more like 9 months of true work into the project.

The next set of louvres will be installed in the next week or so, along with further works on various open projects. This all falls alongside larger project work, which will see broader stroke progress as the build continues towards full onlining in the next few months.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 47 and 48

We have another two weeks in the books on-site at London East, as things continue to develop as we head towards energisation.

The last couple of weeks have seen a good amount of change across a number of areas, including dramatic visual changes in Data Hall 1, and to the generator canopies.


Weekly overview

The containment system in Data Hall 1 has now been partially assembled, scheduled for completion next week. Most importantly, the two pod entry / exit doors have been installed, and had their electric opening and closing mechanisms setup.

Containment
Here we see one of the pod entry and exit doors partially assembled, with the cabling strung out for testing
Containment
This angle is from inside the pod, looking towards the front of the room, as the containment roof panels begin to find their place atop the rows of cabinets
Containment
A look at the rear of the racks, as the system continues to be assembled, including baying, roofing, cable trough installation etc
Containment
This view is of the second pod entry and exit door, found at the rear of the hall, as it is assembled
Containment
The front-side pod access door now fully assembled – it will receive vinyl signage similar to that found at London Central later in the project
Speedgates
The speed gates for access to the technical spaces at London East are now fully integrated and assembled, pending their walk plates (as seem temporarily placed here) and carpeting
Mountings
The first round of panel mountings have begun, with the fire alarm / extinguishant panel and cooling system control and status screen for Data Hall 1 shown here
Mountings
A closer look at the fire system panels, which are now in place for all data halls and LV rooms
Mountings
A closer look at the Weinview screen panel, which will show cooling status and master controls for Data Hall 1
Mountings
The data halls and LV rooms at East have latest-generation VESDA-E units installed, pending air sample pipe work installation shortly – the data hall models, as seen here, are the full visual output models
Mountings
Here we see the VESDA-E units as mounted in the LV rooms
Gens
The generator canopies have now been refinished in the same anthracite grey as found across this new site, pending ID vinyls in due course
Gens
The generators, alongside being fully commissioned from an electrical connection and control standpoint, will also have a final clearcoat applied in the next few weeks, and some removable security access panels fitting in the gaps between them (effectively zoning them off from the compound)
Extraction
These are the extraction cowls destined for installation on the roof, over the top of the rear cold corridors
Inlets
These are the various components that will make up the intake louvres, destined for installation on the rear face of the building, allowing our evaporative cooling plant to intake external air, through our forthcoming bag filter wall

The containment pods are extremely impressive in person, and will provide a dominant focal point for the first hall. The contact-free entry system, which makes use of a proximity sensor, is particularly impressive to see and use.

The walls – as seen above – have begun to see more tech installed upon them, in the form of various panel boards for various systems. These will have their feeds installed as the main electrical works are underway. In particular, the newest generation VESDA-E panels are very striking, and work much better with the colour pallet at East (compared to their previous generation white / white and green panels). It’s the little details that we really love, and which come together in making a truly beautiful facility.

We think that the refinished generator canopies are a real show-stopper. These sit in a rather dominant position in the front compound, and as such we wanted to ensure they remained in-keeping with the visual language of the site. They’ll be having their ID and branding vinyls applied soon, which again will add to their commanding presence.

The adjustments to the skin of the building are scheduled to begin in the coming two to three weeks, in line with the commissioning of the water supply and drainage to the evaporative coolers, which began this week.


What’s next?

The open set of works as seen above will be brought to a close, as the main electrical contractors begin. Works will continue across the board, most intently focusing on cooling and fire system works, which are now underway throughout the building.

Ralph Wall joins Netwise

We’re extremely excited to introduce you to the latest member of our ever-growing team. Meet Ralph Wall, our new Sales Manager.

Ralph Wall

Ralph has enjoyed a long and successful career in the data centre industry, heading up the sales function at a number of very notable organisations within the sector over the years. His wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts are second-to-none, and will be a much-welcomed addition to the in-house skill set at Netwise.

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic delayed the official announcement of Ralph’s joining, having actually started with us back in mid-January. We’re now very pleased to be able to fully announce Ralph’s new position with us, and we’re looking forward to seeing the improvements he will bring to the table as we enter another new phase in our development cycle.

It’s no secret that Ralph’s addition to the team comes at a time of major growth and investment for Netwise, with the forthcoming launch of our brand new London East data centre later this year. He will be overseeing the growth and development side of the business as we launch London East, and continue to welcome new clients (and service existing client growth) at London Central.

This new level of representation couldn’t have come at a better time for us, as we enter the end-out phase of construction on what will be our biggest and highest specification data centre to date; the third in our build history. Hard hat tours of the new site will begin shortly, and will be orchestrated by Ralph and the engineering team at Netwise. You can check out our Build Blog here to keep tabs on progress.

You can expect to meet Ralph at our forthcoming launch event(s) later this year, and at all of our social events, once they’re allowed to resume without restriction, of course.

We can’t wait for you to meet Ralph, and he’s certainly excited to meet you too. Get in touch if you’re interested in speaking, or to organise a tour of our facilities.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 45 and 46

We’ve enjoyed an exciting fortnight of changes at NLE for this instalment of the Build Blog, with a large number of big ticket items landing on-site.

This has resulted in notable change throughout the facility over the past two weeks, across a number of key areas. The most striking of these has been the siting of our new generators, which now sit in their final positions in our front compound.


Weekly overview

Alongside the generators arriving – which are having a full canopy refinish in anthracite grey next week – we’ve also taken delivery of our first containment pod, including racks and the cold aisle system. This has resulted in major visual change in Data Hall 1.

We have a time lapse of the generators arriving and landing in place coming very soon, so watch out for this on our socials.

The first containment pod can now be assembled in Data Hall 1, which will be another major milestone in the deployment of our new facility.

Containment
Here we see our container arriving with the first containment pod setup for Data Hall 1
Containment
Part of the shipment was comprised of 14 fully built racks, alongside another 10 flat packed
Containment
The racks were unpackaged to the point of having a single retention bracket remain fixed to the custom pallet, before being lifted up to the first floor – in shot here we see one of our custom quarter cabinets
Containment
Empty racks are lifted up to the first floor loading dock, before being rolled off their custom pallets
Containment
A view from inside Data Hall 1, as the racks that will make up the first containment pod begin to roll into place
Containment
Another view from inside Data Hall 1, as the racks that will make up the first containment pod begin to roll into place
Containment
Some of the containment materials as they begin to be unpacked ahead of installation
Fence
We’ve now completed the physical installation of the turnstile and return-angle fencing that make up the main personnel entrance of the compound – the anti-climb rotating arms match those found at London Central
Fence
A wider view of the now completed entrance area of the compound fencing, pending full razor wire installation to the perimeter in the coming weeks
Generators
Here we see our new generators arriving to site, on two articulated trailers with lifting equipment
Generators
The first of four generators being lifted into place, each of which weigh around five tons dry
Generators
The final two generator sets ready for offloading, to join sets one and two which are now in place
Generators
All four sets in place, which will be securely sub-fenced off after commissioning – they’re also having a full canopy refresh in the coming weeks, taking them from white to anthracite grey
Sign
The backing board of our new sign being installed, with the protective film still in place
Sign
A look at the installed sign, which is an exact replica of the one at London Central, just on a slightly smaller scale to better suit the installation location at London East
Sign
A wider view of the new sign, in context with the main entrance door
Cabling
A look at the first delivery of fire cabling, ready for installation to begin next week
Van
We installed our new lightbar to the van this week, which brings the vehicle to completion
Van
The van enjoyed a deep clean on-site this week, which was overdue in terms of removing the winter road salt that’d slowly been building up in the colder weather

The installation of our exterior building sign was quite a momentous occasion, as it’s the first time this facility has been properly branded with our logomark. This is the exact same style of sign as seen on the side of our London Central facility, with the diffused backlighting that really makes the sign pop at night.

The first instalment of armoured cabling to arrive, which will make up the bulk of the main underfloor power routes, will total somewhere in the region of eleven tons. The fire cabling within the building, which covers all detection and alarm systems, will total 2.5km in length.

We’ve had lots of custom made parts arrive over the past few weeks, destined for installation and / or use throughout the facility. One such item is a custom fork lift plate, which has been designed to take racks from the loading bay up to either floor level. This is a heavy duty steel plate welded to fork sleeves, which is low profile enough to drop straight into each loading dock.


What’s next?

The on-site schedule really picks up in the next week or two, as things begin to move on the end-out works. The site has a large number of trades beginning work, including the fire team, generator canopy refresh team, lift engineers, and a team who will be heading up adjustments to the skin of the building as part of our cooling system(s). This is all happening alongside the main power contractors beginning work, following completion of all design and design testing.

We’re very excited to share the progress!

London East Build Blog – Weeks 40 to 44

Visual updates have been somewhat limited throughout January, hence the delayed publishing of this five week instalment of the Build Blog.

The bulk of time and effort on-site is still being spent on end-out plans, and getting the energisation works underway. Alongside this, we’ve also been carrying out supplementary works in a number of areas, to keep things progressing while time is spent on final stage plans.


Weekly overview

In terms of physical on-site work, we’ve been keeping tempo with a range of works across a number of areas, all of which have helped to keep visual progress steady (but comparatively limited) while the next phase is executed behind the scenes.

Because visual change is somewhat limited at the moment, we have a lesser number of photos available in this instalment, however they do show various changes and arrivals throughout the site.

Switchgear
Some of our switchgear and electrical distribution infrastructure has started arriving on-site, destined for LV rooms and data halls – our primary LV boards are still being manufactured, and will be with us soon
Distro
Here we see one of our Mardix intelligent distribution boards, this variant being for M&E equipment with integrated ATS, freestanding for test placement in Data Hall 1
Distro
This variant is for rack level distribution – we have sixteen of these boards with us, to support all four data halls in due course – these will stand atop custom power monitoring enclosures
ODFs
One of our new Ortronics ODFs, which will handle fibre distribution at NLE
ODFs
Another two ODFs can be seen here, awaiting installation and commissioning, which will come later in the final end-out stage
Lighting
The ground floor lighting has progressed, with the overhead cabling seen coming together here in Data Hall 4 – the left side shows an area which has been loomed, moving towards the right, which is being held apart until it’s ready to be bundled, in order
Checkerplate
The ground floor access corridor with completed checker plate, to match the first floor – checker plating for phase one is now very nearly complete
Turnstile
A view of the turnstile frame now in place, pending final completion, which has been slightly delayed thanks to the very visible snow
Scaffold
Again snow-related, preparative works on the roof have been postponed due to the visible weather – access for this initial preparation work is via our scaffold tower, as seen here
Doorstops
A small addition, however all internal door systems have now had their door stops fitted, to prevent over-opening and damage to doors and/or walls
KVM
The first KVM / crash cart is now on-site ready for client use in Data Hall 1 – this is an Ergotron model, which we’ll be deploying across the board here at NLE, along with their monitor mounting systems in the build room

The ground floor areas that were due checker plate cladding as part of the phase one roll-out have now had all areas completed, aside from a couple of missing sheets; we’re now waiting on additional material to arrive with us. This will also allow for checker plating and associated bash protection to be installed in the loading bay, where equipment will be lifted to each level loading dock for both the ground and first floors.

The ground floor has also had its final lighting systems cabled and energised, meaning that all site lighting can now be removed – a great milestone in terms of this becoming a self-supported utility it its final guise.

The main front-of-building turnstile came back to us late last year, having been to our powder coaters to ensure a match with the existing system at London Central. This was installed towards the end of 2020, however has yet to have its internals fitted to the overhead containment tray. This will be done when weather permits, given the current snowy state of the UK earlier this week!

Some of our new electrical boards have started arriving on-site. These are largely our new Mardix units, which have been built in a number of varieties depending on the end use case, and delivered in our signature orange. These really pop against the otherwise monochrome data halls, turning out just as we had planned. The larger of the two orange board types each hold a self-contained ATS to allow for dual incoming feeds for all critical M&E equipment.

Most of the VESDA equipment is now on-site, aside from the red pipework that will be installed to collect the air samples. This forms part of the final fire protection plans, which are being completed in the next couple of weeks.

You can also see that our comms panels (ODFs) from Ortronics have arrived, which will be used to handle and distribute fibre from each A and B core. These will be installed as part of the network roll-out at London East, which is set to begin later in this final stage of works.

We’ve also had a team up on the main roof this week, however things were postponed slightly due to adverse weather. Despite there being no issues with the roof, we’re electing to have the roof resealed for our own peace of mind; something we did at London Central also. This will lead onto roof and skin adjustments for apertures in due course, both for personnel access and our cooling system.


What else has been happening?

The bulk of progress in January has definitely fallen into the ‘else’ category when it comes to the Build Blog, as the vast majority of time continues to be spent on desk work, bringing together the final elements that will enable client services to go live at NLE.

Those elements include LV and HV electrical, which form the bulk of the end-out process. The transformer equipment and the generators fall into this work category, which were ordered this week. We’re very excited to share the delivery of these items as they begin to land with us!

We’ve also finalised plans for everything on the fire protection side of the project, which will be installed concurrently with the main power systems.

Excitingly, we’re also having some really interesting conversations with organisations interested in taking space from day one. These range from simple DR services to support primary systems elsewhere, through to full private pods, custom designed to requirement.


What’s next?

We have a very large shipment arriving with us soon, holding all of the containment for the first pod of racks in Data Hall 1 – this is something we’ve been excited to receive for some time, and equally something we’re very excited to share with you here.