Rackspace Starts Work On New UK Data Centre

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Rackspace’s 130,000 sq. foot, ultra-sustainable data centre will be the centrepiece of 15 acre campus in Crawley

Rackspace has revealed more details about its new UK data centre, which will be built on a 15 acre campus in Crawley, West Sussex, and claims to be one of the greenest in the country.

The company claims it adheres to unparalleled efficiency standards, the company says, thanks to its innovative ‘indirect outside air’ cooling technology. This removes the use of mechanical cooling, meaning that the energy required to operate the facility will be reduced by up to 80 percent.

Built in partnership with data centre specialists Digital Realty, the new facility will eventually comprise four data suites with a total capacity of 10MW upon completion. Construction began on the new site today, with the first phase of construction set to end by the end of 2015, when the facility will be able to provide an initial outlay of 6MW across two data suites.

rackspacetopGreen power

“Storage is going to change dramatically in the next 2-3 years,” Mark Roenigk, COO of Rackspace, told TechWeek Europe. “Our hosting and cloud services are critical for our customer’s businesses, so it’s important that their data is highly accessible as well as securely stored and managed.”

Efficiency played a major part in the design and planning for the facility too, Roenigk says. “We factored in everything from minimising landfill and the impact on the environment during construction itself to using more efficient LED lighting and environmentally sourced paint.

“We are very proud to say we’re involved in building one of the greenest data centres in the UK; it’s a huge achievement.”

The use of ‘indirect outside air’ cooling is the first in this country, and marks another way in which this facility offers excellent efficiency ratings. The system necessitates much lower water consumption than other systems in its class and significantly less water than a traditional cooling tower.

The data centre was announced in January 2013 in a move hailed by the company as a “big vote of confidence” in the UK as a location for data centres. Crawley was chosen over another unnamed location as the setting for Rackspace’s second major resource in the UK alongside its existing 7.7 MW data centre in Slough, which opened in 2010.

Rackspace anticipates that the majority of requests for the new data centre will come from the UK and Europe, and is connecting the building to both the existing Slough data centre and the company’s main connectivity exchanges in London via its existing Rackspace London metro fibre ring. This will allow the company to quickly and easily increase bandwidth capabilities at each site when needed.

Rackspace originally called on Digital Realty to partner on work the company was doing in the US. The partnership then went global as Rackspace expanded into new territories, with Europe and the UK in particular becoming key new markets.

“Today is an exciting day as it marks a first in the UK,” adds Michael F. Foust, CEO of Digital Realty. “The potential energy savings are game changing and we’re exceptionally excited about its possibilities. Companies of all shapes and sizes are increasingly looking at how they can minimise the impact of their operations on the environment.

“We are no different in that respect and are continually looking to bring together our vast experience from the data centre and real estate sectors with dynamic new technologies to reduce our carbon footprint and that of our customers.”

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