London East Build Blog – Weeks 3 and 4

As the end of the first month rolls around, we’ve seen further developments in the front-side of the building as we finalise the office, NOC and on-site meeting room.

We’re now also very close to beginning works on the main envelope, including the mezzanine, internal walls and doors, raised floors and hung ceilings.

Weekly overview

This week has seen the NOC space really take shape, adding in some of the final touches that tie-in with the visual language found at London Central. This includes the signature grey NOC screen wall, that has been carefully colour-matched to the doors within the facility.

Matching internal NOC signage has also been installed this week, with our main brand and associated focus lighting to follow soon.

We’ve now taken delivery of our goods lift, which will sit centrally in the main space of the building, and provide easy access to the first-floor data halls with any large, heavy equipment. This method of access will stand alongside standard stair access, as well as forklift access for the movement of any large materials; vital for successfully deploying a modular fit-out.

Excitingly, we’ve also taken delivery of our new forklift! This is the second forklift we’ve owned in our build project history, the first helping us through the London Central build before being sold on. This one will be staying with us as part of the split-level warehousing and loading bay integrated into the NLE design.

While we’re still acutely aware of how early into the project we are at this stage, we’re nevertheless incredibly pleased with how quickly the space has become identifiable as a Netwise facility.

Window Vinyl
All ground floor windows have been privacy screened to match NLC
Window Vinyl
A look at the privacy etch-style vinyl on ground floor windows
Window Vinyl
Another look at the privacy etch-style vinyl in reception
Window Vinyl
Completed reception privacy vinyls
Our self-tracking PTZ cameras now flown outside the facility, with remote monitoring from the NOC at NLC
NOC Wall
Our signature grey NOC wall, with the first TV being test-mounted
NOC Wall
Test mounting more of the NOC screens, with HDMI delivered over the structured cabling
NOC Wall
The NOC signage template in place, ahead of affixing characters
NOC Wall
A closer look at the brushed stand-off lettering, to match what we have at NLC
NOC Wall
The completed NOC screen wall
NOC Wall
Another look at the completed NOC screen wall
Meeting Room
The on-site meeting room laid out, carrying over our visual motif
Our new forklift arriving at NLE
Our new forklift will be instrumental in the construction of NLE

As with the last instalment of the Build Blog, while we await the full commencement of the internal envelope for the data halls, we’re primarily progressing with front-of-house works, and behind the scenes planning for the rest of the project.

Aside to what’s been snapped above, we’ve also been undertaking early preparation works for the installation of our lift.

There’s also been considerable activity on the network side of things. NLE has now been fully deployed on our metro network, utilising the initial 10Gbps link which will take us through to commissioning. We’ve deployed a high-availability Cisco stack on-site to handle all internal operations, and link back to our core Supernode in Telehouse North.

What’s next?

The next couple of weeks will see progress across a number of key areas, while the envelope is finalised, allowing heavy works to begin very soon.

Further security system integration will be happening next week, along with the roll out of our new compound fencing. We’ll also begin work on the lift shaft, to be in place prior to the main envelope enclosing it in due course.

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.

6 tips for choosing a London colocation provider for your business

In the modern world of business, technology is king. The vast majority of core business functions rely on implicitly on critical technology. This is especially true when one considers the housing of business-sensitive data. With modern technological advances, it’s now easier than ever for businesses to house their data in many different ways.

Colocation services, which combine space, equipment, and security measures for your data into one packaged service, are particularly popular. If you’re in the market for London colocation services, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll give you seven tips to guide your buying process as you decide on a colocation centre for your business data.

1. Power is king

When it comes to colocation services, it’s true to say that power is king. The amount of power and how it is delivered should be an essential guiding factor in your decision-making process. If you do a poor job of estimating how much power your business will need, both now and in the future, there’s a good chance that you could end up choosing a colocation centre that simply won’t be able to meet your eventual requirements.

To avoid any hiccups here, make sure you do your due diligence before issuing an RFP. Figure out exactly what your power requirements are, not only right now, but also during peak times and as you expand. Some facilities allow you to purchase power as you go (metered power), while others will require you to purchase a certain threshold of power regardless of how much you really use. One option may be cheaper than the other for you, depending on your power requirements.

2. Think long-term scalability

When deciding on a London colocation centre, don’t just decide on a facility that fits your needs right now. Instead, remember that you want to work with an operator that will scale alongside your business. 

Many colocation contracts are for a minimum of one to three years. So ask yourself where your business will be several years from now. If you plan on introducing new technologies, changing how you store data, or make any other significant changes that will affect your power requirements, be sure to factor that into your decision-making process.

You should have a good idea of whether or not your operator of choice will meet your needs now and in the future. Skip this step, and you could easily find yourself trying to break or renegotiate a contract a couple of years down the road.

3. Check uptime reports

One of the most important considerations when a purchasing colocation service is uptime. After all, every minute your network is unavailable will likely cost your business money. Your employees are unable to work, rendering them completely unproductive. But worse yet, if your clients are on the same network, then the disruption to their service will certainly have untold consequences on your ability to retain their business when their contracts come to renewal.

Make sure you never sacrifice anything when choosing a colocation centre, including a poor uptime record. Instead, you want to choose the most reliable option available to you. The facility should have round-the-clock support services, so even if your systems go down overnight, there’s an expert who can help you troubleshoot and fix the issue. This is not the place to skimp on costs.

4. Assess security protocols

Rapid advances in technology have come with an unfortunate consequence: a sudden proliferation in cybercrime. It could be a hacker trying to redirect funds from business operations to a personal accounts. Or, it could be one of your competitors trying to steal proprietary technology. Either way, it’s bad for your business.

That’s why you need to ensure that the operator offers premium-level security. Again, this is not somewhere you want to skimp on costs. A data breach could compromise your entire network, not to mention client data. Remember that physical security should also be a consideration. The data centre should have stringent measures in place that prevent those with ulterior motives from accessing your equipment.

5. Check audit compliance

Few things can be as significant in setting back a company as finding yourself on the wrong side of an audit. With all of the different certifications and regulations in this industry, there are now several different audits that your organisation probably has to face every year.

Make sure that your colocation centre of choice meets any certification requirements and will cooperate with any company or third-party audits.

6. Look at total pricing

Last but not least, make sure that you’re looking at total pricing before you sign on the dotted line. Many cheap colocation centres will ‘nickel and dime’ you for things like additional cable routing and remote hands, so be sure that you’re well aware of all the fees for any service upgrades you may require. 

Choose the right London colocation centre for your business needs

There you have it — now you know how to choose a colocation centre for your business. Be sure to check out our London colocation facilities if you’re looking for reliable, secure, high-value services.

London East Build Blog – Week 1 and Introduction

After more than 12 months of planning and preparation, the time to restart our famous Build Blog is finally here.

Many of our readers will probably remember the first iteration of this feature, which we ran throughout the build of our London Central facility, from initial shell to complete data centre.

We’ll be doing exactly the same for this exciting new project, documenting progress as the new data centre takes shape in the coming months.

So here we are, on what is effectively week one of the build project, having taken full control of the new site in early April.

An introduction

While this is week one for the Netwise team and its range of expert contractors, the new site has in fact already undergone a full shell refurbishment and stage one office fit-out, ahead of any project-specific works being undertaken.

These works have seen the complete overhaul of the building to ensure it met our extremely high standards ahead of conversion to a top specification data centre.

This first set of photos show the facility in this completed stage one form; an introduction to the space as we begin conversion this month.

Exterior front elevation
Exterior front elevation, shown from the large front compound
Warehouse 1
A view from the rear of the main warehouse area
Warehouse 2
Another view from back to front in the main warehouse space
Warehouse 3
The main warehouse space, viewed from the front, with the existing amenities block in view
Warehouse 4
A view across the main warehouse space
A look at the feature staircase in our reception area
Ground Floor
A brief look at some of the existing ground floor amenities
A view up the main stairwell, to the office and future NOC
Office NOC
A view across the office and future NOC area
Another view across the future NOC, to what will eventually become the main screen wall for the NLE engineering team

The blank canvas we’ve been left with following the stage one refurbishment is nothing short of fantastic. We elected to pre-stage this work to ensure no overlap with the main project.

Beyond an illustrative overview of the empty spaces we’re currently presented with for conversion, there naturally isn’t really much to see at this stage. But we do hope that this gives a good early indication of the overall scale and quality of finish being pursued here, something our London Central data centre is already well-known for.

What’s next?

The first couple of weeks will see major transformations in the office area, so that on-site technical operations can begin immediately. We are also onlining a temporary 10Gbps extension to our metro network, connecting the site to our existing fabric to allow for remote monitoring and administrative works on-site to be undertaken without hindrance.

The next primary stage on the heavy construction side will see the installation of the mezzanine and envelope, including walls, ceilings and raised floors, to create the four data hall design in the main warehouse side of the building.

Next week, we will share more information with you regarding technical specifications and drawings, to give a full overview of what to expect from the data centre.

To say that we’re excited is an understatement! We hope this Build Blog can serve as an interesting distraction for everyone in this industry during these difficult times.

We look forward to sharing this journey with you. Keep an eye out for new entries to the Build Blog – subscribe to our RSS feed, YouTube channel and other social platforms for notifications.

Announcing our new London East data centre

Today we are officially announcing plans for the opening of our brand new London data centre, set for launch in 2021.

The state-of-the-art 13,000 square foot facility will be named Netwise London East (NLE), and will join our existing estate of private and partner on-net data centres next year.

A preliminary facility page is now live on our website.

Exterior front elevation
Exterior front elevation

While we’re not releasing a full technical specification just yet, we can say that this will be a 1.5MVA build, housing up to 256 rack footprints across four data halls.

This will be the third private design and build project in our 10 year history, having completed our first small-scale London South build in 2011, and our 11,000 square foot London Central facility in 2016. The new site will interconnect with London Central, as well as primary points of presence across our growing metro network.

We will continue to push focus on hyper-efficient technologies, opting again to deploy an evaporative system for primary cooling, enabling a design capacity PUE as low as 1.05 – one of the lowest for a colocation facility anywhere in the world.

All energy will once again be purchased from entirely renewable sources, to match energy commitments at our existing London Central facility.

This will be inner London’s first new data centre for several years, continuing the trend of capacity growth inside the capital. We are one of just a small collection of independent facility and network operators investing this heavily in the city’s technical infrastructure.

This announcement comes off the back of a 12-month planning and design cycle, which involved several site options and design iterations being put through their paces. It’s incredibly exciting to finally reach the point of publicly announcing London East, and to break ground on what will be a long but very rewarding build phase.

Matthew Butt, Managing Director

London East will give us private coverage over another of London’s key data centre hotspots for the first time. The new facility is just a short distance from the large Telehouse Docklands campus, which stands as one of Europe’s most important interconnection locations.

This will also be our first foray into carrier neutrality, with NLE being the first of our privately-operated colocation facilities to welcome third party network operators into the fold. While clients will still enjoy access to our wide array of connectivity options, they’ll also be able to connect in with their own carriers on-location for the first time.

To say the entire team at Netwise is excited about the new facility is an understatement. Building bespoke data centres is what we do best, and what has enabled us to grow in the way we have, delivering a range of services to our customers that you simply won’t find anywhere else. London East will again take us to the next level in terms of capability and capacity, just as London Central did back in 2016.

Matt Seaton, Senior Manager

We have several key anchor tenants already in early discussions regarding space options at the new site, however details are being kept highly confidential.

We will be resuming our much-lauded Build Blog throughout the course of the project, detailing developments as works progress throughout the year.

Hard hat tours will be available in small numbers each quarter. We advise interested parties to request more information on when these will be available through the ‘Book a Tour’ function on our website.