Preparing for a rainy day… London Floods

Today is a momentous day where everyone has the chance to vote In or Out in the national referendum, either way, today will decide our future and that of generations to follow. It will be a day that people will remember for a long time to come, not only because it is a day we go to the voting polls but also because unprecedented storms and rainfall have plagued the South East of England leaving many this morning with a commuting nightmare, flooded homes and electrical outages.

London is under water, lightening has struck train lines and electrical boxes causing pandemonium for those trying to get to work and polling stations in some areas of Chessington in Surrey and Kingston remain flooded. A situation that was not expected in June!
This is exactly the kind of natural disaster our data centres are geared for with secure entry points and sealed doors. Our modular panels do not retain water and the unique interlocking system ensures no water can seep in. The extra precaution of raised flooring which not only assists in airflow and for running cables but also offers added protection in the event of an increasing water table. Peace of mind for our clients which ensures they are literally ready for ‘that rainy day’.

Those affected by power outages today will be grateful for backup generators and power monitoring systems which have integrated alarms to draw attention to electrical cuts and enable data centre managers to react quickly. Then in the worst case scenario emergency maintenance contracts that ensure we get a specialist out to your equipment as quickly as possible.

These are just a few of the data centre back-up elements that we recommend to clients to include within their DC design and build. Often they are overlooked in the face of budget constraints but pay for themselves ten-fold in the face of an unexpected disaster. It is true, you may never need it….. but you can never be over-prepared for floods in summer!

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Just another day in the office this time at The Houses of Parliament

 

When we were first invited to The Houses of Parliament, we knew we were in for a treat. Thanks to the kind hospitality of Brambles, our hosts for the day, we knew there would be a wonderful lunch with refreshments and a beautiful river view. We also knew we would get to meet up with many of our partners from the Crown Services Framework and have the opportunity to discuss the education sector and our varied experiences working and delivering I.T. solutions to universities, schools and academies.

What we hadn’t expected was that The Houses of Parliament building boasts the most beautiful interior. The detail in all the architecture is breathtaking and if that is not enough to impress, you literally feel like you are walking through a historical timeline with brass plaques marking the attendance of queens and leaders for generations, from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela. A very inspiring day and although we didn’t manage to locate the data centre there, we had plenty opportunities to soak up the location and views across the Thames, which co-incidentally provided us with a super view of our client Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital a place we visit often but usually see from inside the basement garage!

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Data Centres at home or away?

IMG_1519A new data centre…. on site or away from home?

In most cases our clients will opt for a data centre either on-site or in a location that has easy access from their main building. More often than not, the client in question owns the land already and planning approvals can be fairly straight forward if regulations are adhered to. Our modular data centres or modular data centre pods in some cases do not require planning permission at all, which makes the process even easier.

On occassion, clients will select a data centre location for a backup facility that will offer better protection by being away from their main site. Clients usually purchase the land and the location is chosen for security, ease of access and power supply. The decision for a data centre at home or away is relatively straight forward for clients with a small number of DCs to consider.

Things become a little more difficult when you grow to the size of a company such as Apple, who is in the news again this week in connection with the proposed data centre site in Ireland. The proposed site in County Galway has generated a barrage of complaints from locals with concerns including the impact on local animal populations as well as the risk of flooding at a nearby golf course.

In addition, Apple had to defend their site selection to those who have complained about it’s proximity to a nuclear power plant (over 280km away). The Apple site will span a 15 year development and cost over $2 billion, it is enormous, it is well outside of allocated data centre construction sites and understandably people want to know why this commercial forestry site has been selected for the construction of up to eight data centre buildings?

In Apple’s defence, they have been mindful of their power supply, which is in close proximity and believe the proposed design will be sympathetic to surrounds and largely invisible through the thick forest landscape. They are committed to wildlife protection and the site is rich in renewable energy sources too.

The key for Apple and many digital companies, is planning their data centre expansion to meet the insatiable demand for their digital services such as Apple Music, Apple Pay and the App store and balancing that with the public resistance to having data centre sites on their doorstep that interfere with the environment and set precedent for other large corporates to do the same.

 

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