The final stages of phase one are progressing nicely, with a wide range of commissioning and integration works now underway across the site.
It’s very exciting to see critical systems that will soon be delivering service to end users begin to come online, with hardware now starting to land in core and distribution racks for the first time.
It’s been another busy few weeks on-site at London East, with the bulk of our time and effort now spent on technical commissioning work, and on the completion of outstanding finer details, as we head towards the end of the year.
Our heads are very much down as we approach the holiday period, to ensure that we reach our status targets before the new year. As such, we’ll keep this post brief, and move straight onto the photographic updates.
We’re very pleased with progress, and we are very much enjoying the sight of things coming together. Being at the point whereby hardware is being installed into racks is another major milestone in this project, and an aspect of the build that our team tend to enjoy most as data centre professionals. This is when the facility begins to truly come to life, and systems are interconnected and brought into the Netwise ecosystem for the first time.
While there’s still plenty to be done in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we’re also all looking forward to our company Christmas party, which is now only a week or so away. We’ve got plenty to look back on this year, so we’re thrilled to get everyone together and celebrate our achievements.
Commissioning and integration will consume the bulk of our time on-site at NLE, ahead of the holidays. This will prepare the space for occupation in January. We’re extremely excited to see the new site integrated into our existing architecture in the coming weeks, becoming the fifth major POP on our metro network.
We’re also getting into the Christmas sprit on-site, which is always nice!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have more exciting progress to share in this instalment of the Build Blog, as cabling continues to run into the facility at pace.
This progress has been seen across the board, from the largest runs out to external connection points, right down to the smallest termination points inside of the Data Hall PDUs.
In the last two weeks, we’ve doubled the labour force involved in the electrical side of the project, adding a dedicated cable gang to the on-site trades to help push through the final cable runs, most of which are very substantial armoured cables.
This has seen the vast majority of the on-site cable drums emptied and returned to the vendor, as the cables now lay in place, with termination well underway across the board.
We also have a dedicated jointer on-site, who is heading up much of the largest termination activity, such as inside the generator canopies.
This has been a fantastic fortnight for project development, with tremendous progress on the cabling side of things.
We’ve been very excited to see all of the cabling begin to disappear under the floor and into the risers, ready for termination and testing. We’re also very excited to see some additional visual elements installed, such as the bright red VESDA air sampling pipework.
We will continue with progress on all things electrical. As cable pulling nears completion, focus will shift more completely onto termination, along with supplementary power installations, including small scale non-critical power delivery to things like cleaner’s sockets.
Beyond this, the VESDA pipework installations will continue, and with the arrival of additional cabling for things such as the CREC control and monitoring system, this will also begin to take shape.