Rackspace plans new 10MW datacentre in the UK

Rackspace is planning to open a new UK datacentre at the end of next year that will include energy efficient design standards developed through Facebook's Open Compute Project.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Rackspace is doubling its hosting capacity in the UK by opening a new 10MW datacentre so that it can manage its growing cloud computing business. 

The datacentre — being built by partners Digital Realty — will contain five 2MW data halls, making it larger than Rackspace's 7.7MW datacentre in Slough, Berkshire. Rackspace is aiming to have three data halls built and in operation by the end of 2014 and expects to have the other two completed shortly afterwards. 

Rackspace is also aiming to make the new datacentre more economical, targeting a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.25, compared to 1.5-1.7 at the Slough facility. 

The location of the new datacentre is currently undecided but Rackspace has narrowed it down to two sites in south-east England, which it wouldn't disclose. The size of the facility in terms of square feet available will depend on the site's location and design. 

Rackspace international vice president of technology, Nigel Beighton, told ZDNet the new datacentre will be at least 50 miles from the Slough datacentre so that it provide a full-strength disaster recovery service.

Beighton said that one of the biggest challenges facing cloud providers today is scaling. "Commercial success on cloud is tied to how good you are at scaling," he said. "You can have the best technology in the world but you won't succeed unless you can scale with it."

"Commercial success on cloud is tied to how good you are at scaling" — Nigel Beighton, Rackspace

Rackspace claims that it will be able to scale more quickly by building in designs that have been developed as part of the Open Compute Project (OCP) — an initiative announced by Facebook in 2011 to openly share datacentre designs for low-energy servers and new rack designs in order to improve efficiency across the industry. However, Beighton could not reveal exactly which Open Compute specifications Rackspace will use. 

"Open Compute allows us to scale on a much larger capacity quickly so we can be economically efficient and meet demands of open cloud," he said.

Rackspace is growing rapidly and last year it expanded by 300 staff and 10,000 servers. Instead of building more datacentres, the company has started leasing space from partners in locations including Virginia, Chicago and Dallas in the US as well as in Sydney, Australia.

Beighton said this enables Rackspace to work on and develop its cloud technologies instead of worrying about construction.

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