UK data centres must be protected to meet growing demand.

24 Feb UK data centres must be protected to meet growing demand.

Posted at 15:02h

Data centres have a pretty important role to play in the smooth running of the modern world, keeping businesses running, protecting sensitive information and making sure general infrastructure remains operational. Just as we rely on electricity, gas and water, systems relying on data centres are simply expected to ‘be there’ at all times and this demand is on an upwards trajectory.

A 2015 report predicted the amount of space and power consumed by European data centres would increase by 20% before 2020. The UK data centre market represents around 44% of the total across the major European markets, London being the key area. In order to continue UK dominance of the market and meet demand for inevitable future growth, we must make sure that our data centres are secure from threats, backed-up and protected.

One of the biggest challenges facing data centres over the next few years will be how to ensure an adequate power supply to meet demand, particularly in areas such as the M25 corridor where rapid increases in data centre energy consumption will put UK electrical infrastructure to the test.

One increasingly popular solution is regional colocation, which has contributed to clusters of data centres emerging outside of the city, in places where there is often more potential for growth. Occupiers can lease IT rack space and associated power, providing a simple, cost-effective and less risky option. Cities are also falling out of favour because of security threats such as terrorist attacks, environmental disasters such as flooding, and the increased costs associated with city space and employment.

Back-up power is essential

Data centre energy consumption is predicted to sky-rocket over the next 10 years, and being responsible for such crucial high-risk information, downtime is not an option. Essential back-up power supplies will keep data centres operations if issues with the main energy source arise, so they need to be ready to go at all times.

Problems lie in the fact that these power sources, usually oil-fired generators, are seldom used and therefore ignored in terms of maintenance and fuel quality. Fuel storage tanks need to be in tip-top condition, the quality of back up fuel must be maintained and fuel polishing may be required where fuel has lain dormant for some time – all services that Adler & Allan provide.

While maintenance of data centre back up can often be pushed to the bottom of the pile, if we are to meet the rapid growth in the data centre market over the next decade, preventative measures must be rigorously planned. Downtime can mean loss of valuable information, costing businesses in terms of productivity and reputation – this is particularly true of those organisations serving the public, such as banks. What’s certain is the cost of dealing with breakdown and subsequent downtime will far outweigh any ongoing maintenance programme.


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