London East Build Blog – Weeks 5 and 6

Focus over the last two weeks has generally centred around finalising any preparation works ahead of the main envelope installation. This is now booked in following a number of final on-site meetings in week six, which saw the last survey completed, with production on the steel work now underway.

Weekly overview

The main areas of change seen since the last update have centred around the installation of our warehouse-side storage mezzanine, our NOC kitchenette, along with various smaller tasks and behind the scenes work to enable heavy construction to begin in the coming weeks.

Our warehouse mezzanine will enable far more effective use of our on-site loading bay area, providing masses of secure storage for spares and client deliveries. We make great use of the loading bay area at London Central, which is something we will be carrying through to all future Netwise facilities.

The new kitchenette is situated at the entrance to the office / NOC, provided for our on-site engineers, and anyone else working at this site during normal operation. We’ve already decked out this new space with another top-spec Jura coffee machine to match NLC – something our current engineering team very much enjoy! This will be the first of two new kitchenette areas installed at NLE, the second of which will be found inside the large customer break-out area.

The NOC itself has also seen some minor evolution, with the first row of engineer desks now sited in their final position, including all workstation hardware, and some colour-matched upstands to protect our new grey NOC screen wall.

Triple Screens
We’ve carried over our triple-screen workstation setup for all NLE engineers
The first row of desks are now in place, and setup ready for use – the ‘Netwise’ visual language found at our facilities can now be clearly seen here
Logo Vinyl Wrap
Ever-sticklers for detail, the main branded sign for the NOC area is being colour-matched with custom vinyl here
Kitchenette Wall Cabinets
While this may look like a simple wall cabinet installation, this is fully custom, to ensure the perfect fit to this space
Kitchenette Floor Cabinets
A look at the floor cabinets and flooring, ahead of sink and appliance installation
Mezz Delivery
Our warehouse-side mezzanine system being delivered to site
Pallet Racking
Our new heavy-duty pallet racking system, delivered to site ready for install both underneath and on top of the warehouse mezzanine
High Level Works
Some final high-level works being finalised ahead of the warehouse mezzanine being installed in this area – the power distribution here will be removed in due course
Mezz 1
The first steel section of the warehouse mezzanine erected, with a little help from Linde!
Mezz 2
The main steel frame of the warehouse mezzanine coming together
Mezz 3
A look at the mezzanine staircase being installed, complete with colour matched paintwork, identical to that used on the main warehouse frame during our first phase refurbishment
Mezz 4
A look at the highly-accurate cuts as we reach completion on the top deck
NLC Shutters
NLC received some TLC this week also, with some custom skylight bay shutters, welcomed by our NOC engineers during the summer!

As you can see, updates are still very much focused on pre-technical. We’re hoping to have some more technically-focused updates for you in the coming weeks, which are naturally of most interest to our readers.

Within the next two to four weeks, we’re hoping to have fully completed all pre-technical works, which will enable the main envelope to be installed, while our engineers continue with supplementary operations. Beyond this, we will begin populating spaces with the main technical components, which is where the real fun begins!

What’s else has been happening?

Aside from business as usual, helping various new and existing clients with deployments and expansion inside our facilities, we’ve also been hard at work on other specialist projects.

Our large deployment in Frankfurt completes this month, along with a specialist deployment in Kuwait. We’re very excited to bring these locations online, following a long deployment schedule due to the current state of play.

We’ll also be rolling out our new core POP in CLL this quarter, adding to our ever-growing metro network. This will be another exciting milestone, with a range of clients already lined up to co-POP this space with us.

Our new van is also here, but we’re keeping that one close to our chest for now – it’s going to look rather special once all additions have been fitted!

What’s next?

The next couple of weeks are going to provide ample time to complete any outstanding tasks ahead of the main mezzanine and associated envelope installation. These include small tasks, such as additional security integrations and work inside the NOC, along with larger tasks like the perimeter compound fencing and turnstile.

We certainly have another transformative few weeks ahead of us!

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.

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.