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A photo tour of Digital Realty's newest London datacentre

Digital Realty has opened up a new Tier 3 datacentre 17 miles south west of the capital.
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By Sam Shead, Reporter on
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1 of 6 Sam Shead/ZDNet

Another dot on London map

Datacentre provider Digital Realty now has a footprint of over one million square feet in London, after it cut the ribbon on a 131,771 square foot facility in the capital last Thursday.

The Tier 3 facility in Chessington, Surrey, is a 7.2MW datacentre with five 10,000 square foot data halls. Two of the five data halls are currently available to lease, while the remaining three halls are still being completed and are due to come online this year. The site is unusual in that it also contains three floors of office space so businesses can be close to their servers. 

While one million square feet might sound a lot, it's still only a small proportion of Digital Realty's datacentre estate, which is over 22 million square feet. 

Digital Realty's current list of customers are spread across 32 countries.

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2 of 6 Sam Shead/ZDNet

Global strategy

Digital Realty CEO Michael Foust said that London is one of the most important markets in Europe due to its strong commercial and financial sectors. 

The company, which is also building a new 10MW datacentre for Rackspace, has plans for more datacentres across Europe.

"We are delivering new datacentre facilities in London with this new site, but we are also full in Amsterdam, and are very keen to build there as soon as we can," Foust, said at the launch. "We are also looking at Frankfurt and have a new development site in Dublin, because we are almost full in that market. But London is certainly our biggest and most important of the European markets."

Foust said Digital Realty is also "looking very hard" at Osaka, in Japan, and is considering potential partnerships in China, though these developments are still very early stages.

He told ZDNet the demand for managed services and the need for large companies to move into outsourced infrastructure facilities to overcome the constraints of traditional in-house datacentres is leading to an increased need for retail datacentres offerings. "We are seeing the outsourcing trend really picking up steam, in particular around the datacentre world," Foust said.

"We are seeing a lot of companies in the financial services, energy, healthcare, consumer products now looking to outsource their facilities, and seeing a trend for companies consolidating different departments, especially in large corporations where every department would have had their own datacentre, often in a high rise office building. These are often very awkward places to have a datacentre and impossible to expand."

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3 of 6 Sam Shead/ZDNet

Resilience

This new facility in South West London completes Digital Realty's 'Surrey Triangle', which includes sites in Woking and Redhill.

Each of the datacentres are connected to each other so that a backup from another site can be provided in case of an outage.

However, all of the sites have been designed with a certain level of resilience built in. For example, Chessington has diverse network feeds and power supplies that enter the property from opposite ends in case one of the feeds experiences a problem.

The site is protected by a range of security features, including 29 round-the-clock CCTV cameras a raised perimeter fence and 24/7 manned gate. Access to the datacentre is controlled by key cards and biometric sensors. 

Datacentre resilience is measured on a tiered scale that goes from one to four, with one being the least resilient and four being the most. A Tier 3 datacentre has an expected availability of 99.982 percent uptime and features such as a dual power supply, in line with standards set by the Telecommunications Industry Association.

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4 of 6 Sam Shead/ZDNet

Five data halls

Each data hall has staging workspace for technical operations, with lift access, power and cooling facilities throughout.

The vast data halls are also kept cool with the help of 14 CRAC (computer room air conditioning) units that can be found operating in an N+2 configuration (providing back ups) in each of the 10,000 square foot pristine data halls. 

The datacentre halls are raised 4m above ground level and have an 800mm raised floor. The floor can take loads of up to 12.5KN/m².

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5 of 6 Sam Shead/ZDNet

Power

The blue and orange units are used to house the power and networking feeds that enter the data halls from opposite ends of the building. 

The datacentre is powered by a 1.4MW uninterruptible power supply (UPS) but it also has a dedicated 18MVA electricity sub-station based on site as a backup.

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6 of 6 Digital Reality

Cooling

The Chessington datacentre has a power usage effieciency (PUE) of 1.2, compared to the global average of 1.8 and 1.89.

This is achieved in part by the cooling technologies used in the datacentre, which include three air cooled chillers that use free-cooling technology and operate in an N+1 configuration.

Holes in the floor of the datacentre halls are used to suck cold air into the front of the servers.

The servers emit hot air out of the back which is then guided to the large black air conditioning units and recycled.  

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