Rackspace opens wood-powered datacentre

Rackspace has touted the 'green' credentials of its first European datacentre, fuelled by a wood-burning power station
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Hosting company Rackspace's latest datacentre — its first in Europe — draws its energy from a wood-burning power station, a strategy which the company says is cleaner than many of the alternatives.

In line with the feeling among many companies that London is no longer a suitable place for a datacentre, Rackspace's wood-powered facility is in Slough. The datacentre itself covers some 55,000 square feet, with a net usable space, after taking account of space needed for essential equipment, of around 35,000 square feet, spread across three floors of a building in a generic trading estate. So far, only one floor contains equipment but, according to Gary Boyd, operations manager at the centre, Rackspace will migrate its existing customers into the new datacentre "very quickly".

"The datacentre is an area experiencing a lot of growth," he told ZDNet.co.uk. "And this facility is great for the two main requirements: the physical requirements — space, energy and so on — and the requirement for the best people to run the centre."

One of the main innovations of the datacentre is the use of electricity obtained from a wood-burning power station, which is located almost next door. Doug Loewe, the managing director of Rackspace EMEA, said the power station is "fuelled by a plant that uses cleaner energy, rather than dirty fuel".

However, the company lays claims to its 'green' credentials from other areas besides its source of fuel. "Much of this datacentre's efficiency comes from the chillers," said Boyd. "Once the temperature in the centre drops below 13°C degrees, we use the air flow from outside."

Rackspace's EMEA HQ is in the UK and the company has 400 employees in the EMEA region.

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