EDS wins £700m UK Data Centre Efficiency Deal

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Insurance company Aviva will make use of the services company’s data centre expertise

Services company EDS has signed a multi-million pound contract to help one of the UK’s largest insurance companies improve the efficiency of its data centres.

Announced this week, the deal will see EDS, owned by computer maker HP, provide the world’s fifth largest insurer Aviva with data centre management services and improvements.

Located in Norwich, in the East of England, the Aviva data centres serve the insurer’s business across the UK as well as India, France and Ireland. “Partnering with EDS for data centre services, in our view, supports Aviva’s goals to improve flexibility, increase operational efficiency and lower costs,” said UK general insurance chief executive at Aviva Igal Meyer.

EDS claims the £700m deal will see it provide Aviva with “data centre modernisation services” and help manage mainframe, midrange and Windows servers. The companies claim that around 300 Aviva staff will be transferred to EDS to deliver the services. “The data center transformation will help Aviva increase efficiency, lower risk and reduce costs,” said EDS senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa Bill Thomas.

EDS is keen to push its green and sustainable data centre credentials as its customers struggle with the economic downturn and the increasing government scrutiny around the issue of energy hungry computing infrastructure.

The company is currently building what it claims is its own “green” data centre at a site near Billingham in the North of England. EDS claims its Wynyard facility will set “new standards” for data centres around the world. “When Wynyard is completed it will be one of the largest data centres in Europe, but will achieve costs and energy savings on a different level from other data centres,” said Sally Poynter, EDS Data Centre services lead.

Traditional data centres on average use several thousand megawatt hours per year. If data centres were classed as a separate industry, they would be the sixth-largest user of electricity, according to EDS.

By 2011, the average UK data centre is expected to spend around £11m a year on cooling IT systems, equipment and plant rooms, the services company claims. But its Wynyard site will reduce the cost of cooling by using, amongst other developments, large fans in each of the four halls of the facility to supply air and another eight used to expel air.

The Wynyard facility is due to be completed at the end of 2009, according to EDS.