Infinity Offers ‘Cloud-Like’ Pricing For Colo Data Centres


Rigid colocation agreements are blocking cutomers from virtualising, says Infinity SDC

Data centre company Infinity SDC has launched new pricing offers that should give firms some of the benefits of cloud without having to let go of owning their own infrastructure. The company also told TechWeekEurope why its renewable energy powered data centre launched in 2012  hasn’t taken off.

Infinity, which is also behind the iCity development in London’s Olympic Park, aims to offer space more flexibly for firms at different stages of IT development, claiming that a “property” mindset has held back colocation firms from serving customers well, while the need to access equipment they own has held back the development of green data centre space outside London.

Data centre, servers © Dario Lo Presti Shutterstock 2012

Benefit without risk?

“If you need to own and operate your own infrastructure, we are going to give you the benefits of cloud without any of the risk,” said Andrew Roughan, Infinity’s commercial director.  “At the moment the industry treats data centre space like property. Colocation space has required you to take a fixed amount for a fixed period.”

Instead, Infinity is offering services that are “much more like IT, with a cost base like IT,” he said

“Inflexibility, in many cases, kills the business case for virtualisation,” said Roughan. For instance, a customer with 100 racks of IT equipment could probably reduce that to 50 racks by virtualising. However, to do that in a normal colocation deal would require the customer to rent an extra 50 racks to set up the new infrastructure, and then be left with 150 racks for the length of the contract.

The offers are for customers who haven’t adopted the cloud – thinking it is too risky or not fit for production environments – and haven’t purchased managed hosting, but they don’t want to relinquish control.

There are three new options. The Agile service allows the customer to have flexibility in how much space they use, adding new racks, and handing them back when the re-organisation is completed.

A Burst option allows customers to increase capacity onto Infinity’s servers, for more advanced customers who have already virtualised, and face peaks of demand for events like Christmas or promotions (e.g. Red Nose style charity telethons).

Finally, the Dynamic option offers a choice of different technical ability under one roof: “You can have availability Tier IV for CRM, and Tier I for test and development,” said Roughan. “It would be madness to spend as much for test systems as you do on your mission critical resources.”

In summary, he said: “Agile, space flexibility, Burst is power flexibility, and Dynamic is platform flexibility.”

infinity suffolk methane digester data centreWhere did the green go?

As well as Infinity’s high-profile iCity development and other offerings near London, the company offered data centre space at a site which is effectively off-grid using renewable energy, at least a year before eBay went off-grid for part of its Utah data centre. Infinity has a 500kW data centre that could expand to 5MW in Suffolk, powered by methane produced from farm waste (in a digester pictured here).

Unfortunately users haven’t been keen on this option, chief marketing officer Nigel Stevens told us, and it’s largely because of where the centre is:  “Location is a trump card, especially within the M25. We just haven’t seen the demand for outside town.”  When companies rent space and put servers in a data hall, they need the centre close by for site visits, he said.

Also the potential energy and emissions savings from renewable energy have been sidelined by the benefits of moving to more efficient space using conventional power. “There has been such great advantage in power usage by moving to a more efficient data centre that you don’t need to take the bigger step of using renewable power or moving to a remote locations,” he told us, adding that the big green data centres are really only for giants like  Google.

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