This lone data centre is located away from the major Docklands, City and M4 corridor groupings, tucked away at the back of a business park in Southbury, Enfield (click on aerial view to open in Google maps).
Sat on a private estate the data centre is inconspicuous and benefits from the fact that it is on private land, so relatively difficult to photograph. The building, which was built in 2006, was converted to a data centre from its previous use as a distribution centre, with a planning application made in 2008, with the facility opening in early 2011.
Interestingly in planning terms a data centre is considered B8 – storage and distribution.
As with many other light industrial unit to data centre conversions an area of the car park has been enclosed to provide a secure location for the cooling units and back up generators.
Within the planning application I found this useful description of a data centre:
Data Centres have been developed for the storage and distribution of electronic information via the internet and dedicated secure fibre connections. Data Centres are a highly serviced building type that provide for the I.T. needs of financial, large corporate entities, government departments, small organisations and private individuals who are looking to outsource or centralise their requirements into state of the art secure computer facilities,
Due to the requirement to be on line 24/7 they have highly developed mechanical and electrical infrastructures to provide resilience via the national grid via the various utility networks. In parallel with the engineering solution they use multiple fibre providers to offer diverse and sustainable connectivity,
When in fully operable staffing levels are relatively small with only skeleton maintenance and security staff operating out of hours. The type of employment created will be a mix of mechanical and electrical maintenance engineers, I.T. personnel, security, general office staff and ancillary service staff ie catering, cleaners etc.
Overall traffic generation is kept to a minimum and limited to staff vehicles, visitors, and to a much lesser extent infrequent van deliveries. The facility will provide a secure loading bay area for the delivery and un-packaging of computer and plant equipment.
Internally the space sub-divides into three distinct areas office (circa 5-10%) and the remainder being split 50/50 between plant and computer space. Great emphasis is put on these spaces being clean, secure and fully accessible to accommodate maintenance and replacement strategies.
The computer halls can be used either for individual tenants or multiple users and would be separated in accordance with personal preferences. All tenants whether individual or multiple will be served by the same equipment. As is normal in such developments a sub let for individual or collective spaces will be granted to the tenants/end users as part of the rental and sub lease conditions although the building is still viewed as a single unit with regards to planning.
Externally in order to support the infrastructure there will be stand-by generators, fuel tanks, chillers and a small utility board sub-station to accommodate the dedicated transformer. These will be housed in a secure, acoustically treated compound. Generators are for emergency use only ie power cuts and the air conditioning chillers ensure that the computer areas and key plant areas are kept at the correct operating temperatures.