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Shortlist revealed for Data Centre World Awards 2024

Written by Thu 8 Feb 2024

The Data Centre World Awards 2024 has unveiled its shortlist, featuring an impressive array of industry pioneers set to be honoured for their exceptional contributions to the data centre sector.

Supported by Dunwoody LLP, the awards ceremony is scheduled for 6 March at ExCeL London, during Data Centre World.

Taking place during Data Centre World on 8 March at ExCeL London, the Awards will celebrate the people, innovations, and operations within the data centre industry that have gone above and beyond to achieve outstanding excellence in the sector.

This year’s awards will spotlight the individuals, innovations, and operations that have significantly impacted the data centre industry, demonstrating exceptional excellence.

The selection process, led by a distinguished judging panel, has resulted in two nominees being shortlisted across ten different categories.

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As energy prices continue to surge, impacting various sectors including data centres, the Data Centre World Awards spotlight the critical advancements in energy efficiency within this space.

This year’s nominees for Special Contribution to Improving Energy Efficiency have set new benchmarks in sustainable data centre operations through innovative approaches, products, and system designs.

EkkoSense with Virgin Media O2: This collaboration has led to a substantial £1.45 million annual saving in data centre cooling energy for Virgin Media O2. By leveraging EkkoSense’s advanced real-time machine learning data and AI-driven algorithms, Virgin Media O2’s data centre team achieved a significant 15% reduction in cooling costs across 20 UK sites. The project not only resulted in considerable financial savings but also contributed an 800-tonne offset to the company’s carbon reduction targets. The rapid deployment of thermal install and data centre optimisation, completed within just two weeks per site, underscores the efficiency and effectiveness of this initiative.

STACK Infrastructure EMEA: In a groundbreaking partnership with Hafslund Oslo Celsio, Norway’s district heating provider, STACK Infrastructure EMEA has launched what is considered the first city-scale heat reuse project in Europe. In its first year of full operation, the initiative has successfully reduced the energy needed to heat Oslo homes by 17.65 GWh annually by reusing heat from STACK’s Oslo data centre. This project not only underscores the potential of sustainable energy use in data centres but also supports wider societal benefits, such as contributing to the electrification of transport by freeing up sustainable generation capacity.

Most Successfully Delivered Data Centre

The award for Most Successfully Delivered Data Centre is a testament to the innovations, collaborative efforts, and strategic approaches that lead to exemplary data centre projects from inception to operation.

This year, Marchini Curran Associates and Scala Data Centers stand out as finalists, showcasing their remarkable achievements in the field.

Marchini Curran Associates: This project represents the second of four data centres at Kao Data’s Harlow site. The recently completed KAO Datacentre 2 (KLON-02) distinguishes itself through its high-performance infrastructure, energy efficiency, and sustainability, offering customers a reduced carbon footprint and low total cost of ownership. The successful delivery of this project was made possible by the effective collaboration between JCA Engineering, MCa, Meit Consultants, Abstruct Consulting, Cundall, and Hale Architecture, setting a new standard in the sector for on-time, on-budget project completion.

Scala Data Centers and their HyperEdge facility SGIGSM01: Located in São João de Meriti, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the SGIGSM01 hyperscale facility by Scala Data Centers is tailored to meet the demands of customers in Latin America. Constructed in just eight months, 50% faster than traditional methods, the facility is a testament to Scala’s commitment to scalable, high-energy efficiency standards. Scala’s proprietary FastDeploy methodology, a modular design and construction approach, supports densities over 20kW per rack and enables rapid expansion. In partnership with Modular Data Centers, Scala delivered a state-of-the-art facility that minimises stranded assets and aligns with sustainable construction practices. The SGIGSM01 facility, completed between August 2022 and April 2023, highlights Scala’s agility in responding to customer needs and its dedication to future-proof infrastructure.

Green Data Centre of the Year

The Green Data Centre of the Year award is set to recognise the remarkable efforts made towards sustainability within the data centre industry.

CSSI South Africa and Vantage Data Centers have been shortlisted for their outstanding contributions to reducing emissions and their commitment to recycling and reuse throughout the lifecycle of data centre operations.

CSSI South Africa: As the owner of the CipherVault Data Centre, CSSI South Africa stands out for its significant achievements in sustainability. The facility, entirely owned and privately funded by CSSI’s CEO, showcases an advanced solar power harvesting system that saves 120,000kg of CO2e monthly. This achievement is equivalent to planting 3,810 trees each month. CipherVault’s design incorporates military-grade construction, ensuring security and resilience. The data centre’s solar redundant power feed and N+1 solar system provide a total capacity of 1.3MW of power, demonstrating a commitment to operating off-grid with 100% uptime for over a year.

Vantage Data Centers: Recognised for its innovative approach to data centre design and operations, focusing on energy efficiency and sustainability, Vantage Data Centers’ Cardiff CWL1 campus in Wales exemplifies sustainable construction best practices and energy optimisation. Located in the UK’s tech corridor, the campus offers abundant renewable power and low latency. Vantage’s commitment to sustainability is evident in the repurposing of an existing building, reducing the embodied carbon intensity from the outset. The construction model emphasises capital efficiency, bespoke builds, and the use of sustainable materials, aligning with Vantage’s net-zero strategy.

The Best Data Centre Operator award is a testament to the commitment of data centre operators to exceed service level agreements, ensuring optimal service delivery while adhering to legislative and compliance standards.

This year, CBRE and Pure Data Centres have been distinguished as finalists for their exceptional service and operational excellence.

CBRE: Renowned for its comprehensive data centre solutions, CBRE has set a high standard in risk management and operational efficiency with the launch of DCS Shield in 2020. This Risk & Reliability Program is designed to significantly minimise risks and unplanned outages through a combination of innovative processes, technology, assessments, and training. CBRE’s approach to data centre operations, characterised by its global experience and best practices developed across 700 data centres in 48 countries, has led to remarkable performance metrics. Notably, in 2023, CBRE reported no incidents of downtime caused by human error across its extensive portfolio, underscoring the effectiveness of the DCS Shield program.

Pure Data Centres: With a focus on delivering outstanding data centre services, Pure Data Centres stands out for its dedication to meeting and surpassing SLAs while maintaining high resilience and performance standards. The nomination highlights the exceptional work of the operations teams at the LON01 Data Centre in London and the JKT01 Data Centre in Jakarta, backed by a robust global operations framework. Pure Data Centres’ commitment is evident in its rigorous adherence to regulatory compliance, service optimisation, and the pursuit of operational excellence.

Environmental Product of the Year

The Environmental Product of the Year award is set to honor groundbreaking developments in data centre technology that significantly contribute to sustainability.

Iceotope and WoodenDataCenter are in the spotlight for their innovative solutions aimed at reducing emissions and waste in data centres.

Iceotope: Developed in collaboration with Intel and HPE, Iceotope’s KUL RAN addresses the unique challenges of extreme edge deployments. Designed for telco and harsh edge environments, KUL RAN offers a precision liquid-cooled server solution that enhances sustainability, scalability, and serviceability at the edge. By enabling data centre operators to reduce power consumption and maintenance costs while maintaining or enhancing data centre density, KUL RAN supports a range of applications from high-performance computing and AI to edge and cloud computing environments. This solution stands out for its ability to deliver efficient cooling and high computing power in space-constrained and service-challenging locations, making it a strong contender for the award.

WoodenDataCenter: Their Modular Wooden Data Center 24 Racks is a pioneering approach that marries advanced engineering with sustainable materials. This modular data centre excels in performance while minimising its environmental footprint, boasting a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.08. The data centre’s design significantly reduces embedded carbon CO2e per square meter and offers innovative heat reuse options, enhancing its sustainability credentials. Moreover, the cost-effectiveness of this solution makes it an attractive option for environmentally conscious customers seeking to balance performance with sustainability.

Special Contribution to Improving Resilience Through Innovation

The Special Contribution to Improving Resilience Through Innovation award is a celebration of the advancements that significantly enhance the resilience of data centres, ensuring uninterrupted critical computing services even in challenging times.

This year, Spa Communications on behalf of Panduit and VID FIREKILL have been recognised for their innovative contributions.

Spa Communications on behalf of Panduit: Addressing the critical need for accurate physical infrastructure management, Panduit’s RapidID solution revolutionises cable management and documentation. This system dramatically reduces the time and cost associated with patch cord documentation by up to 50%, streamlining deployment and significantly enhancing operational resilience. RapidID employs a barcoding system for copper and fibre patch cords, ensuring precise cable tracking and verification, which is crucial for rapid recovery in cyberattack scenarios and routine operations.

VID FIREKILL: Its fire protection for data centres introduces the first holistic fire protection solution tailored to data centres, including safeguarding lithium-ion batteries within server racks. This innovation addresses the growing trend of decentralised UPS with Battery Backup Units (BBU) in server racks, mitigating the fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries. The OH-PX2 water mist nozzle, central to VID FIREKILL’s solution, has been rigorously tested and approved for protecting areas with high fire risk, showcasing a significant leap forward in data centre fire safety and resilience.

Best Talent Developer

In a sector as dynamic and rapidly expanding as data centres, the challenge of talent acquisition and development is ever-present. Recognising the crucial role of nurturing new talent, the Best Talent Developer award celebrates organisations that excel in creating successful training and retention plans.

ALET UTCs & Partners and HireHigher in collaboration with Portman Partners have been shortlisted for their exceptional contributions.

ALET UTCs & Partners: This collaboration exemplifies a large-scale industry response to the digital infrastructure talent shortage. Starting with UTC Heathrow and Partners in 2021, the initiative has expanded into a robust collaboration of thirteen leading industry organisations. The partnership’s success lies in its ability to deliver the Digital Futures Programme, the world’s first data centre-focused curriculum, offering a specialised engineering pathway into the digital infrastructure industry. By uniting to build a skills pipeline, this collective aims to support the UK’s digital transformation and inspire a new generation to pursue rewarding careers in the sector. With 600 students per academic year gaining exposure to network cabling and data centre knowledge, the potential for this model to be replicated globally is immense.

HireHigher and Portman Partners: Established by HireHigher and championed by Portman Partners, the Rising Star programme addresses the talent development challenge from the ground up. By increasing the visibility of the data centre sector among young people and promoting it as a viable career option, the programme bridges the gap between the industry’s talent needs and potential candidates. The programme’s success is reflected in its comprehensive approach, including targeted campaigns in schools, interactive workshops, and professional development opportunities for participants. The Rising Stars’ involvement in industry events and panel discussions further emphasises the value of fresh perspectives in shaping recruitment and retention strategies.

Innovation Product of the Year

The Innovation Product of the Year award at Data Centre World celebrates groundbreaking solutions that significantly contribute to reducing costs, emissions, or waste in data centres.

This year, WoodenDataCenter and Xtralis stand out as frontrunners for their inventive approaches and technologies.

WoodenDataCenter: Revolutionising server rack design, WoodenDataCenter introduces an innovative Wooden Server Rack, setting a new sustainability standard in the data centre industry. This eco-friendly alternative is constructed from responsibly sourced wood, significantly reducing the use of steel by 98% compared to traditional racks. The rack’s lightweight design, 40% lighter than conventional steel racks, enhances installation ease and data centre efficiency. Operating as a net-zero product in most configurations, the Wooden Server Rack exemplifies WoodenDataCenter’s commitment to reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainable data centre practices.

Xtralis: Addressing the shift towards lithium-ion battery technology in data centres, Xtralis presents the Li-ion Tamer GEN 3, an advanced Lithium Ion Battery Off-Gas Detection System. This innovative solution provides early detection of lithium-ion battery failures, crucial for preventing thermal runaway and associated risks. With its metal oxide sensor and sophisticated algorithms, the Li-ion Tamer GEN 3 can detect the earliest signs of battery failure by sensing electrolyte vapors at extremely low concentrations. The system’s ability to support up to 100 sensors, along with integrated humidity and temperature monitoring, offers data centres a comprehensive approach to ensuring battery safety and operational integrity.

Best Reuse or Recycling of Products, Energy, or Data Centre Infrastructure

The Best Reuse or Recycling of Products, Energy, or Data Centre Infrastructure award highlights the paramount efforts in sustainability within the data centre industry.

Fulfil Communications on behalf of n2s and STACK Infrastructure EMEA stand out for their exemplary contributions.

Fulfil Communications on behalf of n2s: Standing at the forefront of IT Lifecycle Management for over two decades, n2s focuses on sustainability, security, and compliance in the disposal of end-of-life equipment. Their mission is to redefine the lifecycle of technology equipment used in data centres, emphasising the refurbishment and reuse of products like smartphones, laptops, and servers, and ensuring sustainable disposal of devices beyond repair. Notably, their process involves the sustainable recovery of strategic metals from IT device printed circuit boards without harmful methods. By adopting circular economy principles, n2s aims to minimise the carbon footprint during data centre decommissioning, offering clients environmental impact reports to track sustainability progress.

STACK Infrastructure EMEA: In partnership with Hafslund Oslo Celsio, Norway’s largest district heating provider, STACK Infrastructure EMEA has embarked on what is believed to be Europe’s first city-scale heat reuse project. This initiative has successfully reduced the energy needed to heat Oslo homes by 17.65 GWh annually by reusing heat from STACK’s Oslo data centre. The project not only demonstrates technical innovation but also political collaboration, setting a benchmark for large-scale heat reuse in urban residential district heating systems. The surplus heat from STACK’s data centre, derived from renewable sources, contributes to Oslo’s ambitious zero carbon emissions goal by 2030.

Data Centre Security Award

The Data Centre Security Award is dedicated to recognising outstanding contributions towards safeguarding data centres against the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

The National Information Resources Service and Pure Data Centres are in the spotlight for their innovative approaches and commitment to data centre security.

National Information Resources Service: Their ‘AI-based Cybersecurity Monitoring and Control System’ marks a pioneering step in applying artificial intelligence to cybersecurity within government and public organisations. This project signifies a paradigm shift from traditional, workforce-reliant security systems to a more advanced, AI and Security Orchestration Automation & Response (SOAR) integrated system. Over three years of rigorous testing and continuous improvement, NIRS has developed an AI-driven system capable of automated cyberattack analysis and response, significantly enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of cyber threat management. Key achievements include the establishment of an automated analysis and response system, the ability to proactively respond to cyber threats ensuring stable digital government services, and the implementation of preventive measures by integrating up-to-date cyber threat intelligence.

Pure Data Centres: By leveraging state-of-the-art security technologies and implementing comprehensive risk mitigation strategies, Pure Data Centres ensures a proactive stance against potential security breaches. Their commitment to security excellence is evident through the implementation of innovative security measures, robust protocols, and a culture of continuous improvement. Pure Data Centres’ approach encompasses not only the adoption of advanced intrusion detection systems and access controls but also a strong emphasis on ongoing professional development and staying abreast of the latest security trends and threats. This holistic approach to data centre security underscores Pure Data Centres’ role as a leader in protecting critical data and infrastructure in an increasingly complex cyber environment.

Who will win? Find out at Data Centre World on 8 March at ExCeL London.

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Written by Thu 8 Feb 2024

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