We’ve taken a much longer break than usual between build blog updates this time around, as we turned focus to the final stages of systems integration and commissioning.
However visual changes have been happening, and in what became the concluding run up to welcoming in our first client deployments to London East, we can relay some of those to you here, and give you a final overview of the facility following Phase One completion.
With Phase One of the build project now concluded, we’ll be keeping things short and sweet this time, and direct attention to the most recent round of visual evolutions. These now span a period of several months, and in that time we have in fact welcomed our first clients into the new facility, with a very healthy provisioning queue ahead of us.
This is of course a major milestone for us, as we soft-launch the site to clients that have been on the waiting list for entry for quite some time now. Our official public launch is expected in the near future – details to be confirmed.
The main purpose of this post is to present the current state of play at London East following Phase One of construction, which sees Pod 1 online in Data Hall 1, servicing live clients. We will periodically dip back into the Build Blog, to update on individual projects, and of course the move into Phase Two.
We’re dubbing the next phase of development Phase One-Point-Five, and that’s for some of the ancillary areas which had to be pushed back in favour of technical readiness for client systems. This includes customer facing amenities such as the customer break-out kitchen and lounge area, the personnel lift, and a few remaining internal developments such as our new power monitoring system and some customer portal improvements.
What else has been happening?
Since completing on Phase One, introducing our first set of customer deployments, and the forthcoming Phase Two works, we’ve continued with the fit-out of our customer build and break area.
Works are well underway in terms of laying the section of herringbone floor on which the kitchen and lounge areas of the room will be situated, and our high-specification kitchen installation is also in progress.
Here’s a very small sneak peak at progress so far.
In the immediate term, we’re welcoming a range of clients into Data Hall 1. In fact, we’ve already deployed systems into 17 enclosures, with plenty more lined up for both London East and London Central.
To keep pace with demand looking ahead, and to allow for the next deployment phases, we’ve just had 89x new APC racks delivered to site, which are currently being held in a 60 square metre block in Data Hall 4.
Phase 1.5 is already underway, and expected to last into early autumn. Phase 2 works will begin shortly thereafter, which will see Pod 2 come online, and Data Hall 2 shortly thereafter.
In early July, we spent an entire week on intensive portal development works, as we roll out our brand new client power monitoring platform, client port and bandwidth monitoring re-integration (something that’s been on the cards for a long time now!), and a range of other UX improvements.
We also have some extremely exciting additional developments to pass on very soon, pertaining to our ongoing expansion in all areas. We’re hoping to be able to break silence on this in the coming few weeks.
With the final utility connections now upon us, and the last elements of our stage one internal fit-out now reaching completion, we’re now tantalisingly close to welcoming our first clients into NLE.
A large portion of the facility has in fact been ready to receive client systems for some time now, however as is always the way with projects of this scale and complexity, a number of tasks did run into delays for various reasons as we headed into the back quarter of last year.
As much as this is a five week update – one of the longest spanning periods to date on the NLE Build Blog – it is somewhat light in visual change, as we’ve been focusing most of our attention on systems integration. Naturally, this is an incredibly important and complex part of onlining any new data centre, however it does prove a tricky side of the project to relay visually.
Regardless, we do have some photo updates to relay this time around.
Much of the work in this period has been happening in less visual areas, including the onlining of systems and bringing them into our centralised control and monitoring platforms. This has been an ongoing part of the commissioning process for some time now, and is nearing completion.
The facility is in a position to accept client systems on a pre-staging basis, with all internal power systems online.
As we head into the final month of Q1, we’re extremely excited to be as close as we are to full readiness. We’re expecting the first client systems to begin rolling into the facility in March, which will of course be the most major milestone of this project to date.
We are continuing with our extensive commissioning works, which span all areas of the facility and its various systems.
All the while this is happening, the final elements relating to our core utilities are being finalised, which will bring phase one of our build to a conclusive state. There will be a certain amount of post-onlining works, which could be dubbed ‘phase one-point-five’, ahead of the later technical space expansion into Data Hall 2, which will be phase two.
We even have some early interest in our ground floor data halls for singular client project use, so it could be that plans for internal expansion are indeed brought forwards, depending on how these things come together in the coming months.
We’ve had a busy start to the year as final stage works continue, taking us towards close-out on phase one at London East.
Our core team got to enjoy some much-deserved time off over the holiday season, ready for action as usual in the new year – one which is set to hold a wide range of milestones for Netwise.
We’ll get straight to it with the photos this time, as we’ve got lots of changes to show our readers, which have materialised in both the run up to and exit from the holiday season.
It’s an exciting time, as we begin to see many aspects of the new site ‘go live’ for the first time. Aside from some final elements due to close off in the coming few weeks, the site is now essentially service-ready, with some early deployment options for particular clients taking shape.
One system that we’ve been excited to see take shape is our new fully-integrated CCTV and access control platform. While we still have our long-retention continuous recording setup on all cameras, we now also have AI-driven motion tracking and sensing, which means that our system is able to follow visitors around the site automatically, generating points of interest as event triggers. This is also tied into the door entry system, which can actively track activity in the facility and record contextualised snapshots from nearby angles, to create journey data for future reference (if ever required). This level of automation is fantastic for enhancing our security.
Next up, we’ll be continuing with commissioning works across the board, as we liven up all areas of the site.
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).