As companies seek to take advantage of new technologies, platforms and devices, so it has become increasingly important that they can access their data in a timely manner from any location.
Data has become the lifeblood of all organisations, regardless of their size or markets and effective data centre strategies are now crucial for long term success.
Today, data centres are the powerhouses that enable key business trends such as cloud, big data and the 'internet of things'.
We speak with Bernard Geoghegan, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Digital Realty EMEA to find out how they connect, develop and evolve will be central to cloud and the long term success of the IT sector.
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TechRadar Pro: How are cloud providers driving the data centre market?
Bernard Geoghegan: Cloud technology promises businesses some pretty fantastic benefits but, in order for these to be realised, cloud providers have to be able to offer their clients rapid access to their data, regardless of where they are - and at a cost that makes it viable for their business.
For data centres to service cloud they have to be able to facilitate safe storage and fast access of huge amounts of data from millions of entry points.
That means bigger and better data centre facilities that are optimised for cloud performance, that are highly connected internally and to other cloud facilities externally. It also means being able to scale up and build out rapidly and in short time frames to fulfil cloud's promise of limitless and instant capacity.
TRP: What are their specific requirements?
BG: Cloud providers want and need the data centre sitting behind their operations to be able to offer their clients great access to data. That means good connectivity. But also they need to ensure that it is being stored securely and offers them efficiencies that their business model demands.
They want data centres that help balance the cost, quality, service equation. That means reduced energy and outstanding PUE, resilient systems and fail-safe processes, solid SLAs and 'safe-hands' services, and facilities that can expand and evolve with them as they grow.
TRP: Can you tell us more about the data centre that you're building for Rackspace?
BG: The initial phase of construction is for a new 130,000 square foot data centre facility, based in Crawley, West Sussex. Together we will be creating a 15 acre campus that will eventually comprise four data suites with a total of 10mw capacity.
The data centre will be first in the UK to make use of innovative 'indirect outside air' cooling technology on this scale.
Eliminating the requirement for mechanical refrigeration within the facility, it will deliver a PUE of 1.17, making it arguably one of 'the greenest' data centres in the UK and one of the most energy efficient in Europe.
The use of the inside out cooling technology will enable Rackspace to substantially outperform PUE targets and achieve an 80% saving on cooling associated energy overhead.
Potentially this represents a £2.1 million saving on OPEX for Rackspace (when compared to a traditional cooling systems operating at 10/17 degree chilled water temperatures and running at a PUE of 1.55). It's a new approach that whilst rooted in sustainability, can deliver real business savings.
TRP: Why is the inside out cooling technology so innovative?
BG: Up until now, most European facilities use chilled water to extract heat from the data centre. This uses a significant amount of power in relation to the IT server power requirement and can lead to high Power Usage Effectiveness [PUE] factors.
Our own 2013 Campos Research revealed an average PUE rating for Europe of 2.53. By comparison, the indirect, adiabatic and evaporative cooling units, we are championing at Crawley will use plate heat exchangers to reject the heat emitted by the server equipment from the data hall directly to the external atmosphere – can drive PUE ratings as low as 1.17 (based on a projected 10MW IT critical load). This can cut data centre energy costs by up to 80%.