London East Build Blog – Weeks 37 to 39

Our team enjoyed some much-needed time off over Christmas, following a long run of works on-site at NLE in the closing months of 2020.

This first instalment of the Build Blog for the new year shows the current state of the facility as we head firmly into 2021 – the year in which our new site will launch to clients for the first time.

Before we start, did you catch our NLE envelope time lapse video? If not, here it is again for your viewing pleasure!


Weekly overview

The first few weeks of January have primarily been comprised of desk work, bringing end-out plans together as we enter the next phase of development.

As part of this, we’ve made great strides in finalising plans for our diverse dark fibre routes, which we will be announcing very soon.

Aside to planning work, we’ve also been completing some smaller tasks on-site, which have helped keep progress up despite the Christmas break and the focus on more general plans and scheduling.

So here’s an update of photos showing additional work completed since our last update, along with some general site photos to serve as a starting point for the Build Blog in 2021.

Checkerplate
Here we see some of our new checkerplate cladding being prepared for installation to the wall system in high-risk areas
Checkerplate
The checkerplate installed along the first floor corridor, to protect the walls throughout customer routes
Checkerplate
Another view of the first floor corridor with its checkerplate in place
DH1
A look at the checkerplate which flanks both sides of Data Hall 1 (and will follow in all other halls), protecting walls behind the outward-facing row of racks in each pod
DH1
A look at the evaporative cooling system and cold corridor containment at the rear of Data Hall 1, with the flanking checkerplate on both sides of the room visible
DH1
Here we see the rear of the CREC system in Data Hall 1, which is the cold corridor space
DH1
One of the two supplementary air conditioning downflow units in place in Data Hall 1
DH1
A look across Data Hall 1, to the temporarily placed racks, showing the second supplementary air conditioning downflow unit in place
Checkerplate
A view down the length of the first floor corridor, with the completed checkerplate fitted
DH2
Here we see the two supplementary downflow AC units in place in Data Hall 2, ready for future occupancy
DH2
This is the full blank system in place in Data Hall 2, which will be replaced with evaporative coolers at the time of conversion into an occupiable colocation space
DH2
This closer view of the custom blanking system, which is used to create the dynamic cold corridor space, shows full population with blanks – there are final finishing blank strips to be installed along the top of the plinths, along the floor edge
DH2
This is a rear view of the CREC blanking system in Data Hall 2, comprised exclusively of blanks, with the rear access panels for filter changes in the plinths visible along the floor line
First Floor Loading
Our first floor loading bay has also now been clad in checkerplate
First Floor Loading
The view looking towards the warehouse from the first floor loading bay, which will have a special fall risk safety system installed once the site is live
Loading
A view down into the loading bay, as the warehouse checkerplate sheets for that area are test-fitted
DH3
Data Hall 3 on the ground floor is currently being used as an extended storage room while works are ongoing
DH3
An alternative view of Data Hall 3, and some of the items currently held in this space while works continue
DH4
Data Hall 4 remains the emptiest white space inside the new facility at this time
DH4
Another view across Data Hall 4
DH4
This view of Data Hall 4 shows the adaptable cold corridor space that will hold the future cooling plant for this space, in whichever format best suits at the time of fit-out – this also leaves options open for private room conversion for a single large tenant
DR
This view from the rear corner of the DR suite space shows the room ready for future fit-out, later in the build process
Ground Floor Loading
This is the ground floor loading bay, looking out into the warehouse, which sits directly below the first floor space of the same nature
Ground Corridor
A look down the ground floor access corridor, with the entrances to Data Halls 3 and 4 seen on the right – this space will have its checkerplate installed in the coming weeks
Entrance
A view down the entry way ramp to the speed gates, which are close to having their integration completed
Lift
The first floor atrium at the top of the stairs, showing the lift internals nearing completion
Stairs
The view down to the entrance ramp, from the first floor atrium / landing, with what will be our two-story green wall clad in timber on the left
Stairs
The custom made triple-flight access staircase which sits centrally within the new facility
Stairs
A look up the double-height atrium from the first staircase landing, with the timber clad shaft wall shown on the right, which will have the green wall fitted to it
LV
This is a view inside one of our LV power rooms, with some of the UPS and battery enclosures in temporary dust wraps held for future use in this space
LV
This is the same LV room as above, looking out towards one of the the risers (left) and the ground floor loading bay
LV
This is the second LV room, a reflection of the first, with the same kit in temporary dust wraps ready for future deployment
LV
The reversed viewing angle from the above LV room, again showing a riser (right), leading into the ground floor atrium
NOC
The completed feature / texture wall in place in the NLE meeting space, which matches the tiles used on the large feature wall at the NLC NOC
Build Room
This is our new build room and customer breakout area, with some white goods now on-site ahead of kitchen installation in due course

The checkerplate is the most obvious visual addition since the last instalment of the Build Blog, covering the walls in all high foot fall customer routes. This gives much-needed protection and a great deal of added visual energy to the space. Custom plates for all high risk doors will also be installed soon.

The reason for having most of the ceiling tiles still in a state of removal is simply for ease of ongoing access. We still need easy accessibility above the grid for cabling overhead services during the build, and as such we will only be installing the tiles once access requirements calm down. This is to ensure the tiles are installed with the least amount of disturbance once in place.

As you can see from the wider facility photo set, the progress made in the last ~8 months is impressive to say the least. As a reminder of where we’ve come from in that time, we’ve included a set of day one photos of the space below.

Warehouse 1
A view from the rear of the main warehouse area
Warehouse 3
The main warehouse space, viewed from the front, with the existing amenities block in view
Office NOC
A view across the office and future NOC area

What our team have managed to achieve in this time is staggering (even more so as this all occurred in the middle of a global pandemic!), and we’re incredibly proud of everyone involved, particularly as we move onto the next phase of energisation, preparing us for launch later this year.


What else has been happening?

We’ve expanded our team!

We’ll be making the official announcement soon, although the hawked eyed among you may have already seen this causing quite a stir online.

We’ve also been going through our first ISO recertification audit, following our initial accreditation to both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 back in 2017. This will renew our certificates for another three years, with annual surveillance audits covering the 12 month cycles in between. The scope of our certifications will be expanded later this year, to include the new NLE site. This is our first fully remote audit, thanks to the COVID pandemic, which has been an interesting new approach to the audit process.


What’s next?

Planning on the next phase of electrical works will continue, with a number of exciting developments to announce very soon.

We’ll also be continuing with a wide variety of supplementary works, which will includes taking delivery of our first customer enclosure pod; racks, containment, blanks etc, which will allow us to layout our first occupiable colocation space within Data Hall 1.

A look back at 2020

What a difficult year 2020 has been for everyone around the world.

While this year will certainly stand as one to forget for many, we’re going to remember 2020 for a long time, as a year of extremely exciting developments here at Netwise.

A look back at 2020

This has been our largest year of investment to date, having broken ground on our brand new London East data centre back in April. Unsurprisingly, this is by far our biggest single project to date, and will provide the capacity we need to continue with our upward growth projections as we head into the new decade.

While NLE has taken centre stage this year in terms of investment and development, it’s been a busy year aside to this, across a wide range of key areas.

Notable projects from 2020 include:

  • We started work on London East – we started work on our brand new London East data centre in April. We’ve been running our Build Blog ever since then – needless to say, we’re very excited about what 2021 will have in store for us and our new site.
  • Graham Cornell joined as Technical Manager – Graham joined as our new Technical Manager in January, and has been hard at work helping our growing roster of clients ever since.
  • THN became our first Supernode – in March, we upgraded our core node in Telehouse North, becoming the first on-net site to enjoy the roll out of our full Supernode architecture.
  • We added CLL to our POP list – the summertime saw the roll out of a brand new on-net POP / node at City Lifeline, one of London’s most important carrier-dense facilities – we took a pod of racks here, to secure our future in this location.
  • We took delivery of our first fleet vehicle – our first fleet vehicle joined us this year – number 001 – which has since received our full livery and chevron kit. This will be joined by further vehicles in due course, and makes the ongoing operation and maintenance of our multiple facilities much easier (along with client migrations).
  • We expanded into FRA and AMS – we’ve expanded our presence in Frankfurt, and have entered the Amsterdam market for the first time, all driven by client growth in these key European locations.
  • Our first private cage went live – we deployed our first private client cage at our London Central site in Q1, allowing one of our key clients to enjoy an entirely private space in Data Hall 1, complete with their own access control and build desk.
  • COVID-19 safe operations – in line with changing government guidelines throughout the year, we’ve always ensured fully-compliant operation of our sites, both in terms of our own team, and visiting clients.

Beyond the roster of notable projects above, we’ve also performed extremely well in our 19-20 financial year, which came to an end in October. Despite global economic issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re fortunate to operate in a sector which has seen accelerated growth and demand as organisations move to remote working.

We hope that our continued growth in what has been a very turbulent year provides the stability our customers need to operate with total peace of mind, thanks to the faultless operations of critical business systems around the clock.

We helped many new and existing customers pivot to fully-remote working environments back in April, which we’ve continued to do throughout the year.

Our growth this year has been testament to our rock-solid operation, which our clients continue to rely on for their critical IT infrastructure. We’ve been extremely proud to see so many of our clients continue to grow this year, providing world-class services to millions of end-users all around the world.


Looking ahead

We’re looking forward to 2021 just as much as everyone else, not least as we expect to return to a more normal home life, but also as we see the fruits of our labour this year come into full service.

In early 2021, we’ll be adding to our team, which we’re very excited to share with everyone in January.

A reminder of our exciting 10th birthday, which we celebrated at the end of 2019

We’d like to wish all of our stakeholders a fantastic New Year, and a prosperous 2021. We look forward to sharing it with you.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 35 and 36

As we head towards the Holiday Season, we’ve been able to clear away a range of outstanding tasks on our list, setting things up nicely for the continuation of scheduled work in Q1 2021.

This short entry covers the items that have seen progress in the weeks leading up to the Festive holiday.


Weekly overview

We’ll be keeping this post relatively brief, however we’ve seen dramatic developments in a couple of key areas; cooling and lighting.

The entire first floor is now fully lit through the Klik system, which provides power to our overhead LED panels. This means that all temporary site lighting on the first floor can now be removed. Emergency bulkheads have also been wired up, ready for final directional label application in due course.

We’ve also built out our cooling system much further, with Data Halls 1 and 2 now very near completion, ahead of plumbing and cabling. The supplementary air conditioning systems are now also in place, pending commissioning much later in the project.

Lights
We lit up the first floor of the facility with full overhead lighting for the first time
Fire Stairs
Although our new first floor fire exit got installed a little while back, we haven’t yet shown it – here it is, providing a new fire exit route to the rear of the first floor data halls
Fire Stairs
Another view of the fire exit, taken from the rear access walkway
Cooling
Here we see the cooling system being married up to its custom blanking system
Cooling
Here we see the completed system in Data Hall 1 (pending commissioning), showing blanking panels and return-to-atmosphere louvres
Cooling
Here we see a set of coolers, and an interconnecting blank, which in due course can be removed to allow for the installation of additional cooling capacity
Cooling
A look at the now fully-situated cooling plant and containment system, pending some final low-level blanks, which now forms the zoning of the cold corridor
Cooling
This is the view of the cooling plant in Data Hall 2, which at this time is entirely populated with blanks, pending commissioning of the hall in due course
Cooling
A wider view of the blanking system in Data Hall 2, pending the louvre installation along the top edge

The past few weeks have been vital in driving the project forwards, as we continue to line up the various items required for the next phase of the build.


What else has been happening?

We have two new deployments underway in Frankfurt and Amsterdam, which have been in the works now for some time. These will reach completion in the next few weeks, with a large number of high-specification servers and high-performance connectivity rolling out in both locations.

These have both been top-to-bottom deployments for us, from consultation, hardware supply, project management, right through to provisioning.

We’re very excited to see these two new systems come online. Amsterdam will be a new location for Netwise, and the roll-out in Frankfurt sees us expand our existing footprint in Germany’s most important data centre hub.

We’ve also had confirmation this week of our plans for fully diverse fibre routes back to our core nodes in THN and LD8, which is great news. The ball is now rolling on installation of these lines, which will provide us with dark fibre access to our existing metro network. Our network will then span five key London data centres.

In other news, we’ve been working directly with TfL to update the content on our travel notice screen in reception at NLC, which will carry over to a the new system being installed at NLE. Look out for the updated screens on-site at our facilities soon!


What’s next?

We will be continuing with progress on outstanding items throughout the holiday season, ready for larger trade work to continue in Q1. This will most notably include the electrical portion of the project – both HV and LV – which will take us right through to the point of onlining the site.

Why a colocation centre will help your business with data management

We’re living in the information age where data drives the business world.

As companies expand, so do the requirements they place on their data. Businesses are looking for cost-effective, secure solutions for storing and managing their data. While many organisations still use in-house facilities, data centres continue to gain in popularity every year.

In fact, experts are predicting data centre spending to reach $200B in 2021.  

Many data centres offer colocation as their core service. This allows companies to lease space within a larger shared facility.

When it comes to data management, a colocation centre is a secure and affordable solution. Keep reading to find out more.


What is a colocation centre?

A colocation data centre is a physical facility used for data storage. This means companies lease space within the facility to house their critical IT infrastructure.

Colocation centres offer power, cooling, and security. This provides companies with a robust, turnkey solution for their data storage needs.

Included in most colocation services are network connectivity, physical security, powerful cooling, and resilient power delivery.

These facilities are multi-tenant accessible. Depending on their needs, businesses can select from a variety of scalable solutions.

Colocation centres include cabinets, cages, and suites for housing equipment. Clients can access the facility, outsourcing the location and security to the service provider.

There are two main types of colocation centres – wholesale and retail.

Retail colocation

In the retail model, a business leases space inside a colocation centre, usually a rack or cabinet. Power is supplied at a threshold, and the amount you pay depends on your consumption.

Retail colocation is mainly used by startups, SMEs and government agencies.

Retail colocation is a turnkey service, meaning you can just turn up with your hardware and get setup. The data centre provides the rack(s), power, PDUs, network connectivity and IP addressing.

Wholesale colocation

Wholesale colocation is geared towards large corporations and service providers. Because of this, it’s a more complete solution. Wholesale colocation provides organisations with larger spaces away from other tenants, and is generally sold as technical space in square feet, or by available total power in the space.

Having your data storage facilities separate from other tenants helps ensure security. Costs for wholesale colocation depend on your power usage and space requirements.

Wholesale space is generally a more hands on experience, for businesses with lots of in-house technical know-how. This approach offers a greater level of economy at a larger scale, by committing to a much larger service specification from day one.


Benefits of data centre colocation

There are several reasons to consider using colocation services for your business. Here are some of the advantages of colocation for data management.

Affordability

Colocation centres provide businesses with an affordable solution for their data management needs. With a colocation facility, you can scale up your hosted environment as your business grows.

Sharing space and infrastructure with other companies helps save on operational costs. This makes colocation a highly affordable solution.

Furthermore, companies can enjoy modern data centre infrastructure, cooling, experienced staff, and security.

Efficiency

Companies that choose to manage their own data have to set up server rooms. They also need to find trained staff to manage their hardware. A colocation service offers a more efficient way of storing and managing data.

Colocation centres offer efficient solutions to meet energy and cooling requirements. And on the whole, energy consumption is lower, thanks to improved power efficacy.

Colocation facilities are engineered for high uptime. If your business relies on online traffic, then outages are simply unacceptable. With colocation services, you can be sure your systems are operating in a stable environment.

Flexible

Colocation facilities are flexible and provide a range of carrier connectivity options. They can also offer blended transit services, spreading bandwidth between several carriers. This ensures 100% network availability.

With colocation services, you can increase space, equipment, and power as you need to. In-house server rooms may be difficult to scale once your business starts growing. You don’t have to worry about this with colocation centres.

Secure

Colocation lets companies make use of resources that would otherwise be too expensive. One advantage of using colocation centres for data storage is security.

Colocation centres have several layers of security and threat detection to protect infrastructure. These facilities are also monitored at all times using CCTV cameras. And personnel are on active patrol 24/7.

Scalable

Another important advantage of colocation services is the scalability that they provide. With a colocation setup, expanding is quick and seamless. The same can’t be said for in-house setups and server rooms.

Colocation makes it easier to grow long-term. This is thanks to better control over fixed-costs and IT budgets.

Connectivity

Colocation offers global and secure connectivity. These facilities provide fast networking solutions and stable connectivity at an affordable cost. Traffic flow on the network is monitored to ensure minimal downtime.

Fast internet connectivity is not always possible at an office location. And employing personnel to manage specialist equipment can be costly.

Sustainable infrastructure

Colocation provides organisations with a fully auditable system. They also have full control over their IT infrastructure. This is why colocation has an advantage over other data solutions such as cloud storage.

Cloud storage can be very expensive. It’s often more affordable for companies to store data on their own servers.

Moreover, data centres are constantly researching and making use of green technologies. This allows companies to reduce their environmental impact.


Colocation vs in-house data facilities

What is in-house data storage? It’s when a company stores servers and networking hardware on their premises. Some companies prefer this antiquated method of data storage.

Why? Because it gives you full control over your equipment, and you can tweak and change your setup when you want.

There’s one problem – maintaining your own hardware can be complicated and expensive. Colocation centres provide a simple, turnkey solution that comes at an affordable cost.

Also, companies don’t need to worry about the cost of power, cooling, and security. Colocation facilities also increase uptime by offering stable connectivity and redundant power solutions.


Improve your data management with colocation services

A colocation centre provides organisations with scalable solutions for their data management needs.

Colocation allows companies to lease space for their IT infrastructure. This includes power, cooling, connectivity, and security. Many tenants lease space in the same facility. This makes colocation more affordable than in-house data storage.

Are you thinking about moving to a colocation solution? We offer world-class data centre facilities run on 100% renewable energy. Get in touch with us to find out more.

Why you’ll thank yourself for using a third party provider for data management

The total global volume of data is expected to reach 175 zettabytes within the next five years.

With the rise of SaaS and the Internet of Things (IoT), can companies continue to host their own data in-house? Or should they look to a third-party provider to manage their information?

This article examines third party data centres as the ideal solution to hosting critical business data.

We explain what a third party data management service is and how it differs from on-site hosting. We also outline the benefits of data centres and how colocation is the perfect choice to store your data safely.

Read on to discover the best way to manage your business data through a third-party provider.


Why the need for data management?

Data continues to play a critical role in business, from storing customer records to analysing big data through AI.

Yet all this data needs to be stored somewhere. It must remain safe, be accessible at all times, and comply with all necessary regulations.

Downtime in a world where the workplace never sleeps is unacceptable.

Databases, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), web sites—they all require uninterrupted data flow. Servers control this movement and offer authorised connections to read and update information. Misconfiguration or faulty hardware can decimate a business overnight if no one is there to help fix it.

It’s essential to not only have a system to manage business data, but also to ensure it remains available at all times.


Types of data storage

There are 3 recognised types of data storage solutions:

  • On-site or on-premises
  • Colocation services
  • Cloud storage


On-site or on-premises

On-site data gets stored inside of a local or wide area network within the company’s own premises. For small to medium-sized businesses, that means using servers located in a dedicated data room or closet.

Full responsibility for this hardware lies with the office or IT manager.

That includes organising the installation, security, and maintenance of each piece of hardware. Any outdated equipment must be replaced and managers are ultimately liable for any downtime.

Colocation services

Companies that need bigger or better data management solutions use colocation.

Colocation services store data on company-owned equipment, but then house this equipment off-site, in a purpose-built data centre facility. Instead of having to physically house and service their own servers, they use a data centre to host their hardware.

Data centre operators like Netwise offer a dedicated solution to store your company data.

Businesses can either purchase their own servers or let us order, configure, and install them on your behalf. They’re placed in server racks, which can be divided into segregated cabinets, or even provided on a per unit basis.

Data centres are fully secured, both digitally and physically. They’re also monitored for intrusions such as hacking attempts and DDoS attacks.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage lets you save information to an off-site location, held on large distributed systems owned an operated by a cloud service provider.

Cloud providers host, manage, secure, and maintain all the necessary hardware. They’re also responsible for the infrastructure that lets you access your data.

A cloud storage system often uses multiple clusters of servers to host data. They’re termed data buckets and companies use them to hold multiple digital objects like videos or back-up files.


What is a data management third party provider?

A third party provider is an external company that’s responsible for hosting your data.

Unlike on-site storage, they help to maintain and control your servers for you. Our world-class London data centres enable our clients to colocate their own servers and utilise our high-uptime utilities.

But what are the main differences between a third-party provider and managing data on your own premises?


On-site vs online data centres

Until quite recently, most businesses traditionally stored data in-house, on the servers they keep in their offices.

That required the purchase and installation of cabling, switches, a network cabinet, and the servers themselves. Not to mention licencing the right software.

For many years, Microsoft SBS enabled Windows PCs to store and share files over a company’s network. Back-ups were saved to costly tape drives and placed in a fire-proof safe.

So why did Microsoft Small Business Server come to its end of life in January 2020?


Online data management

With the rise of broadband and fibre internet, companies abandoned on-site methods in favour of online solutions.

Modern internet infrastructure enables the sharing of terabytes of data around the world, all at the speed of light. That global network now enables businesses to store and access large volumes of information via third-party data centres.

Low latency combined with robust security ensures a better service than hosting on-site. But the benefits don’t stop there.


Benefits of a third party data management provider

Unlike your business’s premises, data centres are designed to do one thing: host your critical data.

A data centre provider like Netwise can manage your company’s data by offering:

  • Multiple reliable power sources
  • Resilient, high-performance connectivity
  • DDoS mitigation services
  • Multi-unit to full rack colocation services
  • Dedicated and custom hosting
  • Access to software licencing

Data centres come equipped with UPS hardware to ensure systems stay up when the power goes down.

Security software continually monitors for intrusion attempts and attacks. And they can provide custom servers to match your exact requirements.


Colocation vs public cloud

What’s the difference between a cloud host and a colocation data centre?

The main issue is where your private data gets stored.

A public cloud host saves your sensitive information on servers all around the world. There are often no geographic constraints which can cause problems when protecting data. It’s also more difficult to set-up an environment that’s dedicated to a legacy system on the cloud.

With a colocation provider, everything’s kept on your own servers.

You know exactly where your hardware is at all times, which makes life easier for GDPR compliance etc. You also manage who accesses it and what’s stored there.

If you want full control over your data but don’t want the limitations of hosting it yourself, always choose the colocation option.


Host and manage all of your data with Netwise

This article has examined the issues faced when hosting and managing data within a local network.

Not only is it less expensive to use a third-party provider to manage your information, but it’s faster and safer too. That’s why companies of all sizes choose Netwise to hold their most important digital assets.

Netwise owns and operates private data centres in the heart of London to host your critical business systems.

Our London Central facility boasts 11,000 square feet of technical space, housing up to 200 racks. Our data centre buildings run on 100% renewable energy and they’re secured by 24/7 monitored security.

See how much you can save with our colocation services by using our colocation calculator. This step-by-step process lets you choose your power, space, connectivity, and port speed requirements. Then, when you’re ready, get in touch by contacting our team.

Don’t let your data get out of control. Use a third-party provider. Use Netwise.