New UK data centre accommodates changing business needs
Opened in Q4 2009, Telstra International’s London Hosting Centre, Woking offers 10,000ft2 of hosting space for Telstra International’s customers. It has connectivity to Telstra’s global Next IP network, facilitating a global hosting solution for multinational companies, and is designed to support customers’ evolving IT infrastructure requirements.The whole process took approximately one year from start to finish, with the search for the right location and premises beginning in spring 2009. By August, the site had been found and planning was underway. The actual ‘kitting out’ of the building then took approximately 18 weeks, most of which was completed over the December 2009 Christmas holiday period.
‘First and foremost, we wanted to address the needs of our customers,’ said Matthew Philpott, head of hosting operations, Telstra International. ‘Demand is growing not only for disaster recovery solutions but also for comprehensive managed hosting with more companies looking to outsource this requirement. The London Hosting Centre, Woking, offers an additional 10,000ft² of premium hosting space for Telstra International’s customers worldwide.’
He added, ‘It also lays the groundwork for our cloud computing strategy by providing us with a dual site, multi-tiered, managed hosting architecture – modelled on the successful experience delivered in Sydney, Australia, by Telstra Corporation which we have now adopted for the international market.’
Choosing the right location
After deciding to capitalise on London’s position as a UK data centre hub for multinational companies, several factors had to be taken into account when determining the exact site for the new facility, such as strong transport connections and physical geography. For obvious security reasons, the site could not be located near a flood plain or a flight path – which significantly narrowed down the options in and around London.
Just as important was the distance from Telstra’s existing data centre in Docklands. The new data centre needed to be far enough away to be able to offer full disaster recovery (in the event of a worst case scenario) yet close enough to ensure low latency connectivity between the two centres.
Choosing the right building
‘The biggest challenge we then faced was finding the right building,’ Matthew said. ‘We needed to find a space that was large enough for our current requirements but with the capability for further expansion if necessary. We also needed a building where the utility suppliers could meet our specific needs.’
The London Hosting Centre, Woking, needs a very high level of power density, which many suppliers could not provide. This is due to the growing amount of kit going into each rack – a trend that is expected to continue.
‘Telstra’s experience in running data centres around the world led to specific mechanical and electrical requirements, as we know where single points of failure can occur and we needed to ensure they were avoided,’ explained Matthew. ‘We also offer per rack monitoring (which represents a big cost) because we have a number of customers who run their own racks, and this enables us to ensure that no one customer affects any other.’
Choosing the right vendors
Equally critical to the project’s success was choosing the right technology providers to work with. Once again, this was dictated by Telstra’s data centre expertise.
Matthew concluded, ‘All our providers are market leading companies whose technology is ‘tried and trusted’ in our existing UK data centre network. As a result, we are confident that the suppliers we chose are able to deliver on the stringent SLAs we expect – and which our customers demand.’
Looking to the future
The success of Telstra’s international team is based on meeting the exact IT infrastructure requirements of its customers.
With this third UK facility, Telstra International is now ideally positioned to meet the increasing demand for high density hosting and virtualised environments. Designed to support evolving infrastructure requirements, the new UK data centre is ready to support customers as they upgrade and adapt their IT systems to make use of technologies such as virtualisation and Software as a Service (SaaS).
In addition to the new Woking facility, Telstra is continuing its focus on investment in its Cambridge and Docklands data centres to ensure they meet growing customer demand for advanced infrastructure hosting.