The Stack Archive

Most UK data centres will not be fit for purpose within five years

Thu 4 Sep 2014

According to MigSolv, nearly 80% of the UK’s data centres will become unsuitable in just five years time.

Alex Rabbetts, CEO MigSolv told The Stack, “Much of today’s stock is in need of a major re-fit or refurbishment. While larger data centre players are better equipped to cope with ageing-facilities, others simply don’t have the capacity to be able to carry out a re-fit without major disruption to service. Not nearly enough up-to-date space will be ready to meet a demand driven by the corporate shift to cloud computing.”

Rabbetts continued, “The plant infrastructure of these earlier units is, at best, exhausted. Data centres that are 10-15 years old are ready for major plant replacement, but there is a problem. A supposedly ‘Tier 3’-rated data centre will have N+1 CRAC, (Computer Room Air Conditioning), units but they probably share a single pipework system, and N+1 UPS, (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), that probably share a common bus bar system. The infrastructure, which was never what it was claimed to be, is in need of replacement and the resultant downtime. With current occupancy levels at near maximum at some of these facilities, how can they carry out the urgent works that are necessary? With the expected delays, what kind of impact will this have on businesses?

Steve Wallage, managing director, BroadGroup Consulting, added: “It is a complex area. You will hear vendors claim that a data centre built, even a year ago is already obsolete. Others will argue that the move to cloud will render most existing data centres obsolete within the next several years. The reality has been that many data centres have lasted far longer than expected. A European co-location provider recently asked customers if it should mothball a facility built in the early 1990s, only to be told that these customers were very happy at the current site.”

Clearly no data centre provider will ever admit to running a sub-standard facility but the reality is many have been failing in recent times and it is going to get worse. Rabbetts concluded: “The fear of major outages, as well the need to be always on, will mean data centre providers are going to need to be ever more resourceful and versatile.”

By John Hatcher

Data Centre Management


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