With the final utility connections now upon us, and the last elements of our stage one internal fit-out now reaching completion, we’re now tantalisingly close to welcoming our first clients into NLE.
A large portion of the facility has in fact been ready to receive client systems for some time now, however as is always the way with projects of this scale and complexity, a number of tasks did run into delays for various reasons as we headed into the back quarter of last year.
As much as this is a five week update – one of the longest spanning periods to date on the NLE Build Blog – it is somewhat light in visual change, as we’ve been focusing most of our attention on systems integration. Naturally, this is an incredibly important and complex part of onlining any new data centre, however it does prove a tricky side of the project to relay visually.
Regardless, we do have some photo updates to relay this time around.
Much of the work in this period has been happening in less visual areas, including the onlining of systems and bringing them into our centralised control and monitoring platforms. This has been an ongoing part of the commissioning process for some time now, and is nearing completion.
The facility is in a position to accept client systems on a pre-staging basis, with all internal power systems online.
As we head into the final month of Q1, we’re extremely excited to be as close as we are to full readiness. We’re expecting the first client systems to begin rolling into the facility in March, which will of course be the most major milestone of this project to date.
We are continuing with our extensive commissioning works, which span all areas of the facility and its various systems.
All the while this is happening, the final elements relating to our core utilities are being finalised, which will bring phase one of our build to a conclusive state. There will be a certain amount of post-onlining works, which could be dubbed ‘phase one-point-five’, ahead of the later technical space expansion into Data Hall 2, which will be phase two.
We even have some early interest in our ground floor data halls for singular client project use, so it could be that plans for internal expansion are indeed brought forwards, depending on how these things come together in the coming months.
We’ve had a busy start to the year as final stage works continue, taking us towards close-out on phase one at London East.
Our core team got to enjoy some much-deserved time off over the holiday season, ready for action as usual in the new year – one which is set to hold a wide range of milestones for Netwise.
We’ll get straight to it with the photos this time, as we’ve got lots of changes to show our readers, which have materialised in both the run up to and exit from the holiday season.
It’s an exciting time, as we begin to see many aspects of the new site ‘go live’ for the first time. Aside from some final elements due to close off in the coming few weeks, the site is now essentially service-ready, with some early deployment options for particular clients taking shape.
One system that we’ve been excited to see take shape is our new fully-integrated CCTV and access control platform. While we still have our long-retention continuous recording setup on all cameras, we now also have AI-driven motion tracking and sensing, which means that our system is able to follow visitors around the site automatically, generating points of interest as event triggers. This is also tied into the door entry system, which can actively track activity in the facility and record contextualised snapshots from nearby angles, to create journey data for future reference (if ever required). This level of automation is fantastic for enhancing our security.
Next up, we’ll be continuing with commissioning works across the board, as we liven up all areas of the site.
While the earliest stages of 2021 naturally followed in the footsteps of the year prior (one which we’d all like to forget!), things did turn for the better, and we have enjoyed a return to normality for the most part, both in work and at home.
This year has again been one of major development for us here at Netwise. London East has turned from a basic envelope with free-standing equipment to an energised data centre, which has been a wonderful thing to see take shape. We’re now very close to welcoming in our first client deployments at the new site.
Heavy investment in our future has naturally continued this year, with London East taking centre stage in that regard. Development of the new site continued on from last year, and has been underway at considerable pace for the entire 12 month period.
NLE has of course sat front and centre of our development programme, however we do have a large and ever-growing operational data centre business spanning four other locations, which means we’ve had a busy year aside to the build project.
Notable projects from 2021 include:
We neared completion on London East – our brand new data centre is almost ready to throw open its doors to new and existing clients. Phase one completion is now expected in January, following a design and build process which has spanned the length of the global pandemic so far, starting back in April 2020.
Ralph Wall joined as Sales Manager – Ralph joined as our new Sales Manager at the start of the year, assisting with the development of our sales process.
We rolled out a major network upgrade – in a staged upgrade action which spanned several months, we upgraded our core routing fabric in all core locations to support ongoing growth.
We announced our enhanced partnership with Zayo – in May, we were able to officially announce our new relationship with Zayo, as they bring their services into NLE to support our network, and to establish their own point of presence in the new facility.
Our POP in Telehouse expanded into North 2 – driven by client projects, we have now expanded our presence on the Telehouse Docklands campus, with the extension of services into the North 2 building. This hangs off the side of our Supernode in the original North building, and adds three further footprints to our estate there.
We always knew that 2021 would be a springboard year for us as we moved beyond the difficulties of 2020. We posted solid growth last year – which we hope remains as the toughest in recent memory – and as such had high confidence in accelerated growth in 2021. This certainly did come to fruition, as we posted by far our most impressive financials to date, which have further solidified the rock-solid stability we provide for our loyal customers.
Our clients continue to rely on our services around the clock, more now than ever before, so our continued growth and development ensures that we remain able to provide the world-class data centre services that we’ve become so well known for, onwardly enabling rapid client-side growth as the economy recovers further still.
In December, Netwise turned 12 years old, having incorporated back in 2009. We can’t quite believe that we celebrated our tenth anniversary two whole years ago. The next milestone anniversary will be our 15th, which is now just three years away – we can’t wait to see where we stand by then!
It’s fair to say that we had very humble beginnings, as illustrated by our first ever set of servers. This photo actually dates back to around 2005, which is when the first ideas that would later evolve into the first iteration of Netwise began to gestate.
Here’s a small gallery showing a few highlights along our journey so far.
To have moved from a set of old IBM tower servers to where we are today is something we’re very proud of. London East is our third private design and build project in our 12 year history, and our metro network now spans six buildings in five locations across London. Beyond our on-net capabilities, we now look after client deployments in 15 facilities, which span seven countries around the world.
On the opening of London East, we’ll have two active private data centres, providing us with 430 client enclosures. This can be expanded to 520 enclosures via a possible expansion route at London Central, and we have scope for taking this up to over 1,000+ total enclosures long-term, with possible plans for campus development at London East.
With so much already in the pipeline for 2022, it’s safe to say that we’re all very excited for the year to come.
Taking NLE up to full speed is naturally the number one priority, aside to our usual headstrong mission of providing our clients with truly exceptional data centre services in our live locations.
Much like our active private facility, Netwise London Central, our newest data centre is again powered by renewable energy, and makes use of world-leading technology to ensure it maintains one of the lowest capacity PUE figures in the country (NLC: 1.12, NLE: 1.05). As organisations now begin moving towards their net-zero targets more aggressively, we’re proud to sit at the very forefront of the green infrastructure chain, ensuring our clients can scale up their mission-critical technology without fear of inflated carbon impact.
With large organisations in the UK now being tasked with publishing their net-zero transition plans by 2023, we’re expecting a surge in uptake at London East in the next 24 months, which is perfectly positioned to cater for highly efficient, renewably energised deployments at scale.
We’re also hopeful for seeing the continued return to normality for everyone, which does seem to have hit another slight stumbling block this month, what with the reintroduction of controls in response to the Omicron variant. Our general COVID response is still in place across our private data centres, and we will continue to adapt this as necessary.
We’d like to wish all of our stakeholders a fantastic New Year, and a prosperous 2022. We look forward to sharing it with you.
The final stages of phase one are progressing nicely, with a wide range of commissioning and integration works now underway across the site.
It’s very exciting to see critical systems that will soon be delivering service to end users begin to come online, with hardware now starting to land in core and distribution racks for the first time.
It’s been another busy few weeks on-site at London East, with the bulk of our time and effort now spent on technical commissioning work, and on the completion of outstanding finer details, as we head towards the end of the year.
Our heads are very much down as we approach the holiday period, to ensure that we reach our status targets before the new year. As such, we’ll keep this post brief, and move straight onto the photographic updates.
We’re very pleased with progress, and we are very much enjoying the sight of things coming together. Being at the point whereby hardware is being installed into racks is another major milestone in this project, and an aspect of the build that our team tend to enjoy most as data centre professionals. This is when the facility begins to truly come to life, and systems are interconnected and brought into the Netwise ecosystem for the first time.
While there’s still plenty to be done in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we’re also all looking forward to our company Christmas party, which is now only a week or so away. We’ve got plenty to look back on this year, so we’re thrilled to get everyone together and celebrate our achievements.
Commissioning and integration will consume the bulk of our time on-site at NLE, ahead of the holidays. This will prepare the space for occupation in January. We’re extremely excited to see the new site integrated into our existing architecture in the coming weeks, becoming the fifth major POP on our metro network.
We’re also getting into the Christmas sprit on-site, which is always nice!
We breathed life into many of the main power systems for the first time in this instalment, with commissioning actions underway on our primary switchboards and our backup generator systems.
The push towards phase one completion has seen many exciting milestone events reached in a short space of time, which is always great to see. We’ve energised the main switchboards, integrated and tested the generator failover, and removed the temporary site power, amongst a range of other system commissioning tasks.
Things are sharpening up quickly on-site, as a wide range of systems begin to spin to life for testing and commissioning, ready to begin serving client kit in due course.
We’ve hit a number of milestones this time around, including the testing and commissioning of our cooling systems throughout the building (both critical and comfort), and the same point reached on our fire detection and extinguishant panels, both building-wide and the enhanced systems in critical spaces.
As you can imagine, with much of the work on-site now commissioning actions, presenting this visually for the build blog is tricky. We’re hoping to put together another fly-through video soon, to show phase one completion.
Another unseen but extremely critical area which reached completion this time around is our fire stopping, which has now seen all additional wall apertures cut in since initial construction fully sealed and certified. This ensures that the building fully complies with our extremely strict fire design and operation policies.
With all of the broad strokes of the project now complete, we’re able to begin working through the more detailed finishing work, while system commissioning actions continue.
As is to be expected at this point in the project, more of the same.
We’re quickly moving towards welcoming in our first client systems, with the final set of work ahead of this to focus on UPS systems, network integration, and general facility commissioning (things like onlining our NOC for CCTV and systems monitoring).