A look back at 2017

Time certainly flies, as we’re already bidding farewell to another successful year here at Netwise.

2017 has been a year of substantial investment here at our London Central data centre and headquarters. This is in keeping with our ongoing commitment to constant reinvestment, which we maintain for the improvement of our facilities and the experience of our customers.

Reception

Over the course of the past 12 months, we’ve invested enormously in our infrastructure, upholding our position as London’s leading independent data centre operator, a position we will sustain as we continue to meet growth forecasts here in the capital.

The key projects undertaken this year include:

  • Data Hall 1 Expansion – bringing Pod 3 online, and readying Pods 4 & 5
  • Switch to Renewable – all electricity now from renewable sources
  • Power Capacity – upgrade of transformers to double on-site capacity
  • Generator Supply – on-site diesel storage increased by 3,000 litres
  • V3 Network – deployment of new ASR9k routing fabric
  • IX and Carriers – turn up of LINX services, peering, and additional carriers
  • Looking Glass – deployment of new network testing interface
  • Perimeter Compound – full enclosure of facility with razor wire and turnstile
  • Additional Cooling – supplementary / supporting A/C system
  • ISO Accreditation – 9001 & 27001
  • Customer Amenities – the launch of our new Customer Lounge and DR Suite
  • Plus Additional Projects – countless smaller projects throughout the year

As you can see, we’ve been very busy.

This has all happened alongside our continued operation in the delivery of world-class data centre services to our ever-growing roster of enterprise clients, now spread across 13 countries.

We will enter 2018 with an additional 35% rack capacity in Data Hall 1, and a clear road map for both the continued deployment of the remaining capacity in Data Hall 1 and the development of Data Hall 2.

 

The switch to renewable energy

The largest single story of 2017 was undoubtedly our switch to renewable energy here at our London Central facility.

This holds a more prominent place in the story of our development this year, as not only was it a positive step forward for our organisation and our customers, but also for the sustainability of our planet.

By 2025, it is expected that 1/5th of the world’s power consumption will be drawn by data centres, with 100 billion connected devices anticipated globally. While that in itself is very positive for the future of this industry, it also highlights the responsibility we have in leading the push to renewable energy.

You can learn a little more about why this was such an important move for us here:

 

Looking ahead

There are already a number of highly interesting projects lined up for the year to come, including some pioneering new technologies that may well pave the way for the future of data centre services everywhere.

Despite our sizeable investments over the past 12 months, we’ve maintained our fantastic profitability ratio, which lays the groundwork for another impressive year in 2018.

Until then, we’d like to wish all of our stakeholders a very happy holiday season, and a fantastic New Year.

Growth and expansion at our London Central data centre

Growth

As is the case with any modular data centre, available capacity scales with demand. This means that space is built out in stages as the available pool depletes.

This is a design and build technique employed at our London Central data centre, along with many other top modern facilities around the world.

We’re very happy to be in a position whereby the next stage of fit-out works in Data Hall 1 are now well underway.

Our team has completed all containment works for the next three serviceable pods in Data Hall 1, with Pod 3 expected for occupancy in early Q1 2018.

 

Market growth in London

London is now home to the largest retail colocation market in the world, with 7.45 million square feet of data centre floor space.

In Q3 2017 alone, demand for data centre services in London surged by 46.77%, by far the most impressive increase across the FLAP market this period.

This upward trend follows on from wider market analysis, whereby global demand for data centre services is swelling year-on-year as organisations continue to adopt outsourcing strategies for their critical IT infrastructure.

As this demand grows, so to does the pressure for data centre operators to act ethically in the sourcing of their energy, with global consumption expected to exceed 500TWh by 2020. With our own capacity expansion plans in mind, both at our London Central site and future facilities, we have elected to switch to 100% renewable energy across our private estate.

 

Growth at Netwise

Uptake over the past 12 months at our London Central facility has been nothing sort of fantastic.

While this does fall in line with general market expectations, it also stands testament to our growing position as London’s leading independent data centre operator, with a wealth of new enterprises joining us in 2017.

Our modular-by-design data centre allows us to scale up operations as demand for services increases, which is why we are now rolling out Pod 3 ready for occupation, with 4 and 5 on standby for completion as required later in 2018.

Power Upgrade

This all comes as part of a wider internal investment program which has seen our service delivery infrastructure bolstered dramatically this year, across our entire portfolio.

Our recent power capacity upgrade works came to a close this November, a much-anticipated project enabled through a close working relationship with UK Power Networks.

London Central is now perfectly positioned to expand to full capacity in Data Hall 1, along with the fit-out and operation of Data Hall 2 in due course.

We’d love for you to join us as we continue to grow alongside our wide and varied customer base.

Learn more about our Green Data Centres and our Green Colocation services.

Going Green: putting the planet first

Renewable Energy

We will never shy away from the fact that as a data centre operator, we are an unusually high consumer of power. After all, it’s one of the fundamental utilities that allows us to deliver world-class, highly-resilient services to our customers.

The data centre industry is expected to top 500 terawatts of power usage globally by 2020, which will equate to over 3% of the world’s energy consumption.

We clearly owe it to the world around us to ethically source our energy.

The headline is this: we’re now using 100% renewable energy at our privately operated London data centre estate.

 

100% renewable energy

There are a number of data centres which now quietly present their involvement with carbon credit and offset schemes, but most savvy clients know that this is nothing more than a half-way approach. These schemes are certainly not something that can be relied on to enact real future change.

We now work directly with Ecotricity, who are responsible for generating their own clean energy from 100% renewable sources. This eco-friendly energy comes from the ‘big three’ – wind, sun and sea.

Our Greenwall

This is a massive step forward for us as we continue to deliver world-class data centre services to our ever growing roster of global customers. At the forefront of this service delivery is our commitment to sustainability, which ensures we leave less of an impact on the planet in the provision of our award-winning service set.

 

The importance of going green

No matter who you are or what sector your business may operate in, the time to take your carbon impact seriously is now.

We learned of these increasing pressures through speaking with our clients, who are themselves feeling the weight of such commitments on their shoulders. Working with an eco-conscious service provider is of keen importance to most businesses today, as it enables them to secure real carbon footprint reductions without the requirement for any direct internal action.

Green Energy Certificate

By combining our use of highly-efficient evaporative cooling systems and our newly certified status as a user of 100% renewable energy, we’re spearheading the movement into truly green data centre services – something you can rely on in effectively improving the sustainability of our planet.

 

A truly green energy supply

There are no carbon credits or offsets here. This is truly renewable energy.

By working with Ecotricity, we guarantee the real provision of green renewable energy. They generate their own green supply, using their wind farms, solar fields and their newly developed sea-based generation techniques. They reinvest their profits into the development of new technology, and increasing their own supply.

Ecotricity

Ecotricity share the same core values as we do, not only in committing to all things green, but also in the control and operation of their own service set from end-to-end.

 

Why this is important to Netwise

We’ve spoken about why this movement is important in general, but it holds a closer place in the hearts of those involved with Netwise. We will never shy away from our position as a high user of energy.

Green Data Centre

The data centre industry is by far one of the world’s heaviest polluters, with wider IT power load accounting for around 10% of the world’s energy consumption. Data centres enable much of this load, which is why our share accounts for 3% of the global tally (and rising).

We’ve built our organisation on the premise of unfettered innovation, which permeates every facet of our operations. This includes the sourcing and delivery of clean energy, providing our customers with eco-friendly data centre services around the clock.

We’d love for you to join us as we continue to lead the way in the provision of world-class data centre services from our home in London.

Learn more about our Green Data Centres and our Green Colocation services.

The big chill this summer

Cooling

We’re very proud of the cooling system we have in place at our London Central data centre. It’s one of the key components in achieving our world-leading capacity PUE of 1.12, and provides us with free air cooling for an impressive 60-70% of the year.

The system combines simple evaporative cooling principles with advanced active damping and attemperation to maintain our strict temperature and humidity thresholds throughout the year.

Couple this with our pod-based cold aisle containment systems, and we have an incredibly fine level of automated control over the environment in our data halls.

Our cold northern European climate lends itself very nicely to running such a system, as it allows for the process of evaporation to take place largely unimpeded, and likewise provides us with the climate we need for our free air cooling operation.

We are 100% committed to keeping our facility cool around the clock, which is why we’ve just invested in a secondary cooling system to supplement the primary setup – this time an upflow A/C system from Denco.

 

Why add air conditioning?

It’s a valid question. Why are we adding a traditional refrigerant-based system to our data halls if we have a super-efficient CREC system in place with N+2 resilience?

It all comes down to the physical process of evaporation, and the limitations this process faces when temperatures rise and humidity reaches saturation point.

When humidity levels are relatively low, the air has plenty of capacity to take on moisture, which is required for the process of evaporation to take place. The higher the humidity level, the less effective this process becomes.

Denco AC

There will always be a trade off when it comes to cooling a data centre in an eco-friendly fashion. The very technologies that allow free cooling for much of the year – and cooling with up to 95% efficiency for the rest of the year – also find their limitation point as temperature and humidity metrics rise.

Given our climate, it is of course always possible to achieve an effective drop in temperature. It’s very rare that we see over 85% humidity here in London, nor do external temperatures often exceed 32C. We’re making this investment as an ongoing commitment to our clients – we take pride in providing best-in-breed data centre services, which is why we will always go above and beyond the baseline to ensure the rock-solid supply of key utilities at all times.

Average Temperatures

Average London temperatures plotted across the year

It would be easy to continue with CREC alone; after all, even on the very hottest days of the year, the system does chill the air very effectively, and temperatures in the cold aisles remain well within operating limits.

But that’s not the way we do things here. The real answer is to provide supplementary support to this system when required.

 

When will this be used?

It is only during the very hottest and most humid days of the year that our CREC system will receive a little help from the new CRAC system. It will also bolster total site resilience, with a total increase in cooling capacity in both full and degraded states.

The new Denco upflow units, again configured in a resilient A+B setup, will fill the cold corridor with chilled, dehumidified air, which the CREC system will in turn draw into the evaporators to further cool (if required) and push into the overhead air plenum.

CREC

The new system is controlled dynamically from our existing cooling controllers and BMS, which ensures total operational harmony at all times, with full automation and monitoring.

Alongside use when required, the system will be periodically tested throughout the year to ensure smooth operation at all times.

 

What does this mean for our green credentials?

In short, nothing much.

We pride ourselves on delivering services with one of the lowest PUE ratings in Europe, and we want it to stay that way. With the system spooled up, our active PUE will rise slightly, however the yearly average will see no effective change.

We will continue to lead the way in London for highly-efficient, low-impact data centre services.

PUE aside, we’re doing a lot more in terms of going green this year:

 

What else are we doing to ‘go green’?

We have a continual commitment to offering green services to our end clients.

Next month, we will be running our London Central data centre entirely on renewable energy. There will be more on this massive development in September, as we also move ever closer to increasing the total power capacity on-site. Watch this space.

What is data center hosting and how can it help me?

A data center is a facility that encompasses a company’s IT services and data management. Learn more about data center hosting in this guide.

While many large companies are starting to build bigger data centers, most small to medium-sized businesses can’t afford to do that. Rather than trying to compete, data center hosting lets your company store information and have your customers connect to servers in a remote location. In these locations, things are better maintained than they would be in-house.

Here are just a few reasons you should consider data centre hosting.


Secure your data better

With the average cost of a data breach now somewhere around £3 million, you can’t afford to let go of your critical information. For small and medium businesses, it’s hard to have the same kind of infrastructure to protect you as large enterprises. However, with a dedicated data centre taking care of your client and company data, you get the same protection that large companies rely on.

New ways of stealing information are created every day. There’s a lot of incentive for people to steal your data, no matter what industry you’re in. Information about your customers can be sold to companies who want to market to them or even competitors who want to steal customers from you.

Data centres not only keep your information protected physically, but they also assist with digital protect, to protect against intrusion over the network. With on-site staff and a high level of clearance needed to even get to your server, only a few privileged people ever get within a few feet of your servers. That means they can’t connect to the nearby network and they can’t harm the physical servers.


Compliance matters

As an increasing number of companies are being held responsible for the hacks that happen to their customers, you could be next. Rather than ending up in the news for all of the good work that you do, you could be in the news because of a huge security breach. If you’re in the medical industry or working on government contracts, this could cost you your job.

Using a data centre ensures that you’re compliant to the needs of your customers and clients. It costs companies a lot in time and energy to keep up with the changing compliance issues. Colocation allows you to take those worries off of your list.

Rather than losing your clients because of mismanaged accounts, let one of your competitors take the heat for that. Take advantage of the fact that data centres are well versed in how to protect your critical systems to keep you from a bad audit of your data management.


Cost savings

Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you the number one line-item cost that they worry about from day to day is the cost of staffing. However, if you want to have your data managed properly and your system up to date, you need to pay for the best talent out there.

Thankfully, data centres have done the work to hire the most talented IT staff around. Because they need people who can learn on the fly and also who have experience with a variety of challenges, they attract serious talent.

The cost of having a reliable IT professionals on staff who are flexible enough to handle anything thrown at them could drag down your profits. Instead, with a data center handling your company’s servers, you get a team of people who can tackle any issue. You’ll have immense flexibility to grow, scale, or implement new technology without having to take on massive staffing costs.


Scalability

Building your own data centre is challenging. Even if you’re in the tech industry, making space for servers and equipment is hard. Then you’ve got to make sure you’ve designed everything to stay cool and temperature controlled.

Rather than having to invest in real estate when you want to offer more to your clients, you can let someone else deal with that.

Building an in-house data centre also means that you need to know in advance how much space you will need. If you’re on a path toward growth, you could over or under-build, meaning you have to take on the whole project again in a year or two.

If you decide you need to grow, you can expand your services inside a data centre in 24 hours or less. If things are slowing and you need to scale down temporarily, you can often do it in the same amount of time. Data centre hosting can be form-fitted around your business needs.


Less to maintain

Maintaining your data centre is a hidden cost of building one. The cooling elements, power supplies, UPS batteries, and generators all need to be taken care of.

If you’re already stretched thin, adding a layer of maintenance is going to cause you some serious headaches.

Using a data centre means that you’ve got someone else worrying about batteries, fuel, and temperatures. They’ll also test and maintain redundancy on a regular basis.

You could save money and time without ever having to worry about major infrastructure upgrades or power supply issues ever again.


Data center hosting is a smart solution

Rather than taking on the nitty-gritty details of data management, data centre hosting gives you the chance to focus on building your business. Just like you’d hire someone to clean up your office in the evenings, hire someone to be the custodian of your critical business systems who have the tools to do it.

For more of the kinds of services a data centre can provide, check out our guide to connectivity.