Ministry of Defence Turns To G-Cloud For Data Centre Consolidation Project

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The Ark-designed project will see the closure of the MoD’s Bath site and relocation to a shared facility with lower energy costs

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sourced a new power-efficient data centre through the government’s G-Cloud procurement framework, in a move intended to generate savings over the next 10 years.

While spend data has not yet been released, Ark Data Centres, the supplier chosen for the project, said the overall cost of running the new facility would be significantly lower than the old site, in part because of “significant” energy savings.

G-Cloud award

The G-Cloud framework is intended to help cut government procurement costs by introducing a flexible and transparent system that makes it easier for smaller suppliers to compete with large, established IT companies. The government said in October that total G-Cloud sales have passed £314 million since its 2012 launch.

cloud appThe data centre project will involve the closure of the MoD’s Bath site, with the Bath real estate already sold and set to be released to developers. The new facility will be prepared on an existing site in Corsham, Wiltshire, about 10 miles north-east of Bath, eliminating the need for the construction of an expensive new facility, according to Ark.

Located on a shared site but in its own secure compound, the data centre will be tailored to the MoD’s particular needs, including protection by physical shielding and a direct communications link to the MoD’s Information Systems and Services (ISS) headquarters building at Corsham, which happens to be next-door to Ark’s site. Ark’s business continuity system makes use of low-latency diverse dark fibre connectivity between sites.

The project is in line with a Cabinet Office strategy of increasing sharing across the public sector.

Security and efficiency

“We surveyed the existing MoD data centre and designed an Ark environment that is far smaller, more flexible and accommodates all of the department’s needs, future-proofed with room to grow,” stated Steve Webb, chief information officer at Ark. “The location of Ark’s Spring Park so close to the MoD’s existing location at Corsham was really important.”

The site is focused upon high efficiency, and Ark said the facility’s fixed power efficiency rating (PUE) should reduce carbon emissions by 14,000 tonnes over 10 years in comparison with the old site.

Ark’s modular data centre sites in Hampshire and Wiltshire are set to be the largest in Europe and were the first to give clients contractually guaranteed PUE.

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