London East Build Blog – Week 2

Though progress this early on in the project is modest, with some delays still being felt due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, we are now onto week two, and as such there have been various forward movements to report.

Weekly overview

Firstly, early works on the London East NOC have been progressing nicely, with a full upgrade to the in-room power and network infrastructure, ahead of populating the space with equipment.

In direct relation to this, our temporary 10Gbps interconnection service is now active, linking the new site into our network for the first time. This means that we can retire the even more temporary mobile service that on-site engineers have been using until now – very welcome news!

Having the site fully functioning as a working satellite office and being remotely accessible from the off-set is very important. This means that we can integrate security systems immediately, having direct interplay with our primary NOC at London Central, ahead of NLE becoming a fully-autonomous site when the time comes.

We also took delivery of the new perimeter security fencing, which will follow the same design principles as London Central; a 2.4M palisade system with anti-climb razor wire. This site will have a huge 6M sliding gate for vehicular access, and again make use of a turnstile for secure, tailgate-free pedestrian access.

Behind the scenes, plans have naturally been pushing ahead at pace in all other areas as we enter the final preparation stage for mezzanine and envelope installation.

Let’s take a brief look at items showing some early visual change:

The BT cavalry have been on-site as we begin onlining NLE
Temporary 10Gbps
Our temporary 10Gbps network extension for the site, ahead of internal routing
Fibre Drum
The first of what will be many, many miles of fibre delivered to site
Fence Delivery
Our new perimeter fencing being dropped into the facility
Fence Delivery 1
A look at some of the new palisade fencing system as it gets off-loaded
Fence Delivery 2
Another look at some of the palisade fencing system
The structured cabling runs are adding up; nearly a kilometre has been run in already
Acoustic Cabinet
A look at the acoustic cabinet, which will house local access equipment for the NOC – complete with bungee cable harness
Socket Termination
A look at the new socket termination in the NOC, for both power and network
Tracking Cameras
We’ve again opted for HikVision’s auto-tracking camera systems, for external CCTV

As you can see, despite some minor delays caused by the current state of play (aka COVID-19), excellent progress is being made across the board.

We’re very excited to have the site functioning remotely already, despite being just two weeks into the main build project. Having full visibility over the site from our London Central NOC this early into the project is fantastic, and allows for newly installed systems to be cross-integrated as they’re installed, dramatically decreasing the eventual commissioning process, which is often attacked in bulk after topping out.

What’s fantastic about this new project is that despite it being a clear evolution of what we put into our London Central build back in 2014-16, we are able to take tried and tested systems across to the new site for immediate deployment and integration, based on technology already in full operation across our existing estate. Regardless of the increased scale of the new facility, the time-to-live relative to scale is far lower than we’ve experienced with our previous build projects.

Changes to our metro network

Bringing a new facility on-net will naturally change the general make up of our metro network. There are a couple of changes coming to the design of our core in the coming months, ahead of the full integration of NLE in due course.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s to come:

Some of the adjustments coming to our core in the next 12-18 months

Works at London Central

London Central remains our flagship facility ahead of completing London East in 2021. As such, investment in NLC will of course continue, as the two sites will very much operate side-by-side once the new facility is ready for service. We’re very excited about our forthcoming private multi-site capabilities.

This week alone has seen a full service of our generator systems, a deep clean of all external compound areas, and various other maintenance operations, vital in keeping our sites operating at peak performance – particularly as we prepare to transition into summer.

We’ve also welcomed a range of exciting new client projects into the facility over the last couple of weeks, a true testament to the resilient nature of Britain’s technology industry during these trying times.

What’s next?

Next week will see further developments made to the integration of the on-site office and various security systems. We will also be providing a little more insight into the plans for the internal space, and what the newly formed data hall containment envelope will look like.