How to choose the right colocation data centre in London to fit your needs

Colocation facilities are relatively new innovations in the business and technology landscape, but they are growing quickly. In fact, the market for colocation facilities in the United Kingdom alone is worth more than 2 billion pounds sterling every year.

Of course, not all colocation data centres are created equal. If you want to find the best services possible, you’ll probably have to shop around a little.

So how can you make sure that you picked the right colocation data centre for your unique situation? Read on to learn all about the most important considerations to keep in mind when picking a colocation data centre.


1. Pick a data centre with the right power density

Using a colocation data centre is an investment in the long-term future. That is why it is important that the data centre that you choose is also oriented towards the future. If a data centre has enough power density for current technologies, but not for future ones, it will not be able to adequately provide for your long-term needs.

For that reason, it is important to pick a data centre with a high enough power density to cover all of your current needs as well as a significant increase in your demand looking ahead. That way, when your needs inevitably increase in the future, your data centre will still be able to provide what you are looking for.

In particular, you will want to watch out for colocation data centres that came to be before the density boom. Many of these are unable to support more than 2kW per cabinet.

For that reason, you might want to go with a data centre that was designed and built more recently. More recent constructions are more likely to integrate the latest developments in technology.


2. The best colocation London has to offer should provide network carrier redundancy

No matter how advanced everything else about your system is, your connectivity is ultimately reliant on networks and carriers. If the connectivity of a given data centre relies on only a single path network, then no matter how well designed everything else is about the facility, if the carrier suffers from problems, so will the data centre.

For that reason, the best data centre should provide network redundancy. When a colocation data centre has many networks through which clients can access connectivity, it is less likely to run into potential problems.


3. Find data centres in the right location

When it comes to technological solutions like colocation data centres, people sometimes make the mistake of underestimating the importance of physical location. Physical location may not be as important for technological solutions as it is for other kinds of solutions, but it still makes a significant impact on service.

One thing to keep in mind is vulnerability to natural disasters. You might want to pick a colocation data centre that is in a very safe part of the world.

At the same time, the closer your data centre is to you, the better that can often be for ongoing management and maintenance. You’ll also want your systems to distribute services as close to your end users as possible, as this will ensure the best possible low-latency access.

On top of that, there are some times when you need to physically access your data centre. In those cases, you will not want it to be too far away. For that reason as well, the ideal data centre will not be more than one or two hours of transportation away. 


4. Pick data centres with the right physical security

In the same way that people neglect the importance of physical location, they sometimes neglect the importance of physical security. Physical security is still a major factor even in technological solutions. Everything in the digital world is still reliant on physical systems.

For that reason, you should look into security practices at each data centre. The data centres with the best security practices can provide more reliable service.


5. The best colocation data centres have backup plans

Some people are so confident in their systems that they feel they do not need backup plans. However, true certainty comes when you are sure your system is solid, and you have a backup plan in place regardless. You should find a data centre operator that can assist with your own disaster recovery plans.

Not having a business continuity plan is a red flag. You should absolutely pick a data centre that is fully able to deploy your systems with business continuity in mind.

And the more layers there are in the backup plan, the better. Offering services in multiple on-net locations, for example, would be one excellent way of achieving this.


6. Find a data centre with proper compliance

Make sure to ask about the compliance of each data centre you look at. However, you should also verify what they tell you. After all, any data centre without proper compliance is probably not going to tell you about it.

Instead, you should look up the certification of your data centre. 


Enjoy all of the benefits of the right colocation data centre

We hope that you were able to take away something helpful from this brief article on some of the most important things that you should consider when you are choosing the right colocation data centre for your situation.

Although it takes longer to shop around and do your due diligence, doing so is an investment that will pay off for many years to come.

To learn more about how to pick the right colocation data centre or to find a quality supplier, feel free to reach out and get in touch with us here at any time.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 79 to 82

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.


Weekly overview

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.

Speedgates
The speedgate area has been carpeted through from the main entrance and reception, to finish off the space ready for client arrivals
LV
The cooling systems throughout the building have now been commissioned and tested, with cold and warm air now available in all critical spaces
LV
Our UPS commissioning is well underway, with the main units now interconnected with the UPS output boards
LV
The building is now powered through the primary switchgear and distribution boards, with all temporary site power now fully decommissioned and removed
DH1
A look across Data Hall 1 after it’s had its initial post-work clean, with one of the supplementary AC units open for commissioning
DH1
A look across Data Hall 1, towards the first pod of racks
DH1
The four CREC units have now been brought to life, with cooling, recirculation and extraction now tested and proven
DH1
Both the primary CREC and supplementary CRAC systems feed into the shared underfloor plenum, which will distribute closely controlled air to all footprints in DH1
DH1
The entrance into the cold corridor in Data Hall 1 is the first view of our new signage design language (just visible here!)
DH1
The view towards the A-side power distribution in Data Hall 1, with ODF A visible on the right hand side
DH1
The primary CREC system has now had all filters installed – here we see the 28x quad-fin air intake filters, this being the first layer of filtration before hitting the multi-stage filtration inside each cooler
DH1
It’s been very exciting to see the cooling system spun up for the first time, and fantastic to see the real-world culmination of all our design and simulation work
DH1
Here we see some of the detail as you enter the cold corridor from Data Hall 1, showing the lighting system and the access hatch for the otherwise-sealed extraction loop
Loading
Our warehouse and loading bay now has large floor lettering / numbering on each receiving dock door for quick and easy identification while loading and/or unloading
Loading
These large format letters / numbers all form part of our new design language, which has now begun to roll out throughout the facility
Signage
We’ve opted for a more modern approach to our signage at London East, an evolution of the design at London Central – simplicity and clarity is the main order of the day here
Signage
All internal signage is now direct-application vinyl, in our custom font to match all digital and print assets – aside from a few 3D logo and type elements
Signage
Here we see one of the larger multi-directional signs to guide visitors around the facility
Signage
Each corridor and main customer route has multi-directional signage in place to guide visitors through the building
Signage
The frosted / etch effect pod door vinyls have returned, as found at NLC as part of our rebrand in 2019
Wifi
Visitors will now see wifi access points and access control beacons in various places throughout the facility – the wifi is an extension of the mesh deployed at London Central, meaning you’ll automatically connect at East if you’ve already done so at Central

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.


What’s next?

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).

London East Build Blog – Weeks 75 to 78

The pace has certainly picked up now, as we push towards phase one completion at London East.

This acute focus has left little time for the blog, and as broad strokes visual change has slowed down at this point, we’ve put together a four week short summary of the last month on-site at NLE.


Weekly overview

Phase one completion will see the facility ready to take its first clients, which is an enormous milestone for us here at Netwise.

There will still be some ongoing works beyond phase one, which will include things like our customer lounge and some other secondary niceties, as primary focus at this point is getting the technical spaces completed and ready to receive live client systems.

Looking slightly further ahead still, phase two will involve the preparation and roll-out of further technical space, making use of the other data halls, which given the amount of work put in ahead of time for this will certainly come to fruition much more quickly. This is expected in 2022, and will be based on a dynamic roll-out schedule, driven largely by demand.

The largest area of progress in this instalment of the build blog has been centred around air conditioning. This is not our primary cooling source in the technical spaces at NLE, with that role falling to our extremely efficient adiabatic systems, however traditional AC does still play a crucial role in both supplementary cooling in critical spaces, and comfort cooling in customer and staff areas.

Cooling
This is a view inside the cooling control system unit for Data Hall 1, as the internal termination reaches completion
Cooling
The pipework for both the supplementary CRAC systems and the comfort cooling throughout the building are comprised of some very long pipe runs, depending on the location of the internal equipment
Cooling
Some of the pipe runs for the AC systems have been fairly complex, because of their routes, and because of how split systems have their pipework distributed between endpoints
Cooling
One of the main convergent runs of AC pipework can be found on our storage mezzanine, as the runs cross towards the exterior condenser area
Cooling
Here we see one of the main runs coming together, which traverses the storage mezzanine before reaching the exterior skin and turning down towards the point of exit
Cooling
Power cabling also joins the pipework runs, with drainage to follow
Cooling
Here’s a snapshot of the complex manifold work happening in one of the ceilings, as the split systems are evenly distributed to ensure even pressure
Cooling
This is the AC unit in the build room and customer breakout area, as the cabling begins to be terminated internally
Cooling
All comfort cooling systems have in-room control panels
Cooling
This is the control panel for the system in another customer amenity space, which also allows for remote operation and monitoring
Cooling
Here we see some of the external condensers being worked on by our AC engineers
Cooling
The external condensers are laid out in a grid which enables plenty of future growth
Cooling
The larger condensers here are for the supplementary downflow units in the data halls, temporarily stood on their rubber feet ahead of permanent fixture
Lighting
Here we see the overhead lighting system installation underway in the cold corridor area for Data Hall 1 – this is where external air is filtered and processed for our primary CRAC system
Power
The UPSs and UPS switchboards are now in place and terminated in LV B, to match the state in LV A
Power
Our main LV switchboards in both LV rooms have now had their line diagram vinyls fitted, taking both boards to completion ahead of energisation for commissioning and setup
Power
The line diagrams are fitted to all switchboards, including the smaller sub-boards for the UPS systems
Racks
Here we see one of our custom designed security panels fitted to Pod 1 in Data Hall 1, for the privatisation of racks within said containment system
Razor
We’ve now fitted the razor wire to the top of our compound fencing, which aside from adding electric motor controls to the main gate, takes this area to completion
Razor
The razor wire now runs the entire perimeter of the facility
Razor
We designed a custom implementation of the razor wire retention system to allow for the retraction of our large vehicle access gate
Spraying
As part of the final stage of work, we’ve had any construction marks and / or damage on our metal clad panel walls repaired, which included full panel respraying where necessary
Spraying
Any panels with damage incurred during the build have been returned to factory condition
Spraying
The spray team were able to achieve a truly flawless finish
Spraying
We’re very pleased with the outcome of the retouch and repair works undertaken throughout the facility
VESDA
The VESDA pipework has now been installed in both LV rooms

As you can see, NLE is still an extremely busy site, with lots of finishing stage work underway. Yet so much more of the work being undertaken at this point is not of a visual nature; commissioning of power systems, access control, network setup, CCTV etc, these are all tasks with little to photograph. However progress across all of these areas will be relayed when suitable.

We’re certainly entering into an exciting period of the build, as major systems begin to see energisation for the first time.


What’s next?

More of the same as we head towards phase one end-out. Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of the blog, which will show much of the major infrastructure being onlined for the first time!

Business Continuity: why London data centres are essential

Data shows that only half of UK organisations are confident in their business continuity plan. The importance of a BC plan is evident in how many businesses were affected by the pandemic.

Are you concerned for the well-being of your company? Keep reading to find out the best way to protect yourself and your organisation.


What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity is a term that serves to explain how a company might continue its essential functions even during an unforeseen event. These events can include the following:

  • Natural disaster
  • An outbreak of a disease
  • Fire / flood
  • Cyberattacks
  • Industry Strike

A business continuity plan (BCP) includes essential items and procedures that are to be followed in the event of a disaster, whether they are small or large. In addition, it often covers practices that allow the company to function with minimal disruption during the said event.


What is Disaster Recovery?

During your research, you may have come across the term “disaster recovery.” Often, business continuity and disaster recovery are used interchangeably; this is a misconception.

A disaster recovery plan often deals with data protection and cyberattacks. However, it also protects against events such as a system failure or even a device failure. 


Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery

Business continuity is often referred to as the plan needed in case of a disastrous event. It is planned ahead of time and implemented during an unforeseen event. In contrast, disaster recovery is the plan that is executed after the event.

Another key difference is that a disaster recovery plan focuses more on recovering the IT infrastructure of the business. In contrast, the BCP focuses more on the daily operations of the organisation. 


What does a BCDR plan look like?

A BCDR plan tackles the issues that arise during an unforeseen event. It often includes the ‘four-R’ predefined plan to allow for continuous operations. The four-R plan is as follows:

  • Respond
  • Recover
  • Resume
  • Restore

While this may give you an idea of a BCDR plan, it is essential to include some key components in your plan:

Contact info and SLAs

A business continuity plan should include the correct contact information and service level agreements (SLAs) required to identify and inform the right parties. These parties include emergency responders, stakeholders, key staff members, managers, data security, and any service providers.

This information should be the first step in your plan, as it is crucial to inform the right members of your team.

BIA

Business impact analysis helps predict what procedures could be impacted by the disaster. This analysis can help you identify and gather information to prepare for the event.

The BIA will help you analyse items such as extra expenses, revenue loss, reputation damage, dependencies, repercussions of disruptions, and more.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment identifies the risks that could trigger a disastrous event. When completing a risk assessment, your company will need to identify possible hazards such as a fire, flood, terrorism, pandemic, and cyber-attack.

Additionally, you will need to assess the assets at risk, much like the business impact analysis. 

Communications

Once you have your contact information together, you will also need to determine the communications method of contacting the critical members involved. Finally, you will need to assess how to reach each group effectively. These groups include your employees, customers and clients, and providers.

Communication is key in any relationship, especially in business. However, in the event of a pandemic such as COVID, it is essential to communicate the company’s needs to your employees, the restriction on which you can operate to your clients, and what your shareholders can expect until the disaster is alleviated.

Testing

Arguably, the most important aspect of your plan is to test it. Having a plan meets the minimum requirements but knowing that it works is critical. Additionally, it is imperative to practice the plan so that your team knows what to do in such an event.

While you are testing the plan, look for gaps and weaknesses in your plan. You may notice that, in theory, the plan works well. However, you need to update and document when the plan falls through in practice. 


Data centres: which solution is right for you?

A proper BC plan includes a data recovery plan to restore the servers and systems of your organisation. This data is different for each company; however, you’ll need to recover software, hardware, and basic operations for each company.

The first step to recovering your data is a regular backup. You can do this in-house; however, in the case of a fire, flood, or earthquake, you risk losing the data that is essential to your company’s operations.

However, a data centre provides a safe and secure place for your organisation to store essential data. When you are looking for a reputable data centre, consider the precaution the centre takes to protect the data. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is it cooled?
  • What hardware is used?
  • What power system is in place?
  • Is the centre monitored 24/7?

Implement your BCDR plan today

Is your business safe and secure in the case of a disastrous event? It is essential for your organisation to implement a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. 

Perhaps you already have a plan in place and have decided to backup your IT infrastructure at a data centre. Look no further, contact us today to book a tour and see how we can help you prepare for unforeseen events.

London East Build Blog – Weeks 71 to 74

Now that raised floors have started to go back down, and termination of cabling is essentially complete, impactful visual change has slowed down slightly, however progress is still pushing forwards at great pace.

We’ve been preparing for some of the final trades to land on site to end-out phase one, which will include the CRAC pipework team and the wall fabrication team from earlier in the project, who will be finishing off some of the final cooling system segregation now that the fans are installed.


Weekly overview

Much of the change this time centres around supplementary cooling, VESDA / fire panels, and data cabling for things such as CCTV, access control and monitoring / system control.

We’re now very much in the end-out phase of the project at this point, which means that various elements that until now were operating separately are coming together quickly.

For example, our evaporative cooling units are now connected back to both their power delivery and control systems, meaning that they will soon be ready for their first spin up and test. This is the same for a number of the core systems which make up the infrastructure of the facility.

AC
We now have most of the building-wide comfort cooling in place for client and staff areas, including here in the build room and customer lounge
AC
Here we see the ceiling mounted AC unit mirrored on the other side of the building, and the same units are now also present in the NOC / office
AC
We’ve also got three high performance models installed in each of the LV rooms, with room for a fourth in due course as and when required based on UPS expansion
AC
Our VESDA pipework is now installed in Data Hall 1 and pre-emptively in Data Hall 2
VESDA
This is the view of the installation in Data Hall 2, which we are pre-staging for future use, along with all other baseline infrastructure – this will speed up the commissioning process for this hall dramatically once it’s needed
VESDA
This is the view of the VESDA installation in Data Hall 1
VESDA
This is a slightly wider view of the VESDA installation in Data Hall 1, showing the various sampling pathways as they leave the main unit, and also showing the B-side PDUs for distribution to client racks, and the earthing bar for the hall
VESDA
Here we see the VESDA pipework installed in Data Hall 2, along the blanking system at the rear which will eventually house the CRECs for this hall
CREC
The CREC units in Data Hall 1 have now had their power and control system cables installed, which brings them up to readiness for commissioning in due course
ODF
The ODFs in Data Hall 1 are starting to take shape, with containment now run in from both high and low levels – here, one of the newly installed cleaner sockets is also visible, as part of a wider ring installed throughout the building to support such requirements
ODF
This is the B-side ODF, with a range of cabling now run back to it to support various functions in Data Hall 1, such as CCTV, monitoring and system controls
Pod
Here we see the entrance to the first committed private pod in Data Hall 1, which after some forthcoming adjustments to access control and visual identity, will be handed over to the client in Q4
Pod
Another view of the pod entry door systems that we use with our APC racking and containment system, which are operated electronically
Power
This floating, conduit-free cleaners socket is achieved by ensuring that it backs onto one of our risers, meaning all containment for the cabling is hidden from view, something we have done wherever possible for a clean installation
Power
This is the cleaners socket as installed alongside ODF B in Data Hall 1, which due to its positioning does require conduit access to under floor containment
Power
The UPS boards are now landing back in place in both LV rooms, having been removed during the flood cabling process
Power
Another view of the PDUs which distribute B-side power in Data Hall 1, with all internals now completely terminated, and ready to hand-off power to client racks
Reception
We now have our new reception desk standing in place, which will be finished with branding and a glass security and visitor flow system in due course
Reception
Another view of the reception desk as placed in an approximation of its final position

We’re getting to the point at which photographing visual change is likely to slow down somewhat, as we move onto more detailed work such as the interconnection of critical systems, and the onlining of various electrical elements including CCTV and door access control.

Excitement is starting to build as the many months of extremely hard work from all those involved begins to show its final fruits, which will become all the more exciting as we start to see systems roar into life.


What’s next?

While build and installation works will continue in a few final areas – such as CRAC pipework, final airflow containment for extraction in Data Hall 1, and the end stages of general system containment – we are now also in a position to begin the early-stage commissioning process.

We are entering an exciting phase of the project, as things finally begin to slot back into place after a good few months of ordered chaos; a necessary evil associated with the extensive electrical work required to take the building from completed shell to functioning data centre.

Over the next few weeks, we expect to see the site visually return to a state of completion (for phase one), at which point the site will be onlined, and commissioning of critical systems will begin in earnest.