Rackspace Plans New UK Data Centre And Adopts Open Compute

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New Rackspace site to get no-frills servers, it seems

Cloud hosting firm Rackspace is planning a new UK data centre, and has adopted the Open Compute specifications to design its own low-energy, no-frills hardware for all future servers.

The cloud provider’s new UK data centre will be built by Digital Realty, and include up to five data halls using up to 10Mw of power in total, but no location has been decided yet, according to information  filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Rackspace announced last week it would be building its own  low-energy servers at the summit of the Facebook-backed Open Compute project.

Open Compute rack

Rackspace in the UK

Rackspace opened a data centre in Slough in 2010, and has a growing business competing with Amazon Web Services for cloud-hosted server business, although AWS is generally acknowledged to have a stranglehold on that business.

The new data centre is clearly intended to feed demand for cloud servers, but Rackspace has so far not made a formal announcement. The SEC filing was spotted by Rich Miller at Data Center Dynamics.

Large cloud providers do not need fully-featured servers with elaborate casings, so they are increasingly turning to no-frills designs which cut energy use and materials. Giants such as  Google and Amazon are increasingly using “white label” boxes from the likes of Rackable/Silicon Graphics, or going the whole way, and designing their own boxes to be built by original device manufacturers (ODMs) in China or Taiwan.

Facebook launched the  Open Compute project in 2011, with the aim of sharing hardware specifications on an open source basis, so cloud providers can deconstruct their servers and fill data centre racks with interchangeable commodity components.

Last week’s Open Compute summit in Santa Clara heard about new rack designs, optical interconnections from Intel, and a “Group Hug” board which can have interchangeable processors in a new slot design.

At the Open Compute summit, Rackspace chief operating officer Mark Roenigk announced the company will use Open Compute designs for a new data centre in Ashburn Virginia, and for all future servers on the Rackspace cloud – presumably including those in the new UK data centre.

Rackspace is not adopting the new-size rack defined by Open Compute, in which power supplies are all collected on one shelf but is working with an ODM called Delta to create a slightly different mix of components. Rackspace’s design will be taller and have a higher power density, according to Timothy Prickett-Morgan of the Register. The servers will be built by Quanta Computer and Wiwynn.

Rackspace has not yet confirmed to us its plans for a new UK data centre .

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