How Datum became the core of Balfour Beatty's network

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Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group and the largest construction company in the UK.

When this FTSE 250 company realised its drive for digital transformation and sustainable practices necessitated the consolidation of its disparate IT infrastructure in one highly secure and resilient data centre, it called on Datum.

The impetus - the need for consolidation

Balfour Beatty’s disparate IT infrastructure and multiple storage types were becoming difficult to manage and were hindering its plans for innovation and transition to a digital delivery model. The majority of its IT estate was located across two data centres, with pockets of IT in other locations.

Balfour Beatty wanted to consolidate its IT estate and workloads in one core data centre facility – a ‘landing zone’ that would allow the company to review, rationalise and consolidate its hardware and workloads, and provide a flexible and resilient platform for future development.

We are proud to be supporting Balfour Beatty’s IT transformation. Data is the modern-day driver of growth and change, but our reliance on data shouldn’t be to the detriment of the environment. Our environmental commitment aligns perfectly with Balfour Beatty’s sustainability strategy.

Dominic Phillips, CEO, Datum Datacentres

The benefit - supporting Balfour Beatty’s ESG commitments

Balfour Beatty prides itself on being a responsible, sustainable business, so the reduction in its environmental footprint was a key factor in its decision to consolidate its IT estate and workloads in our state-of-the-art, environmentally efficient facility. Its sustainability strategy ‘Building New Futures’ lays out Balfour Beatty’s plans to reduce the net carbon emissions of its direct and indirect operations to zero by 2040. This means collaborating with supply chain partners and, where possible, selecting those that share its commitment to reducing environmental impact.

By migrating its IT estate and workloads from multiple legacy data centres to our Farnborough site, Balfour Beatty was able to harness significant efficiency and performance improvements. The resources required to run multiple data centre facilities are considerably greater than one purpose-built facility, particularly one that is so focused on efficiency.

Partnering with us allowed Balfour Beatty to enhance its sustainability credentials and reduce the environmental impact of its growing digital footprint:

  • Our energy comes from renewable sources and includes full carbon offsetting.
  • Our energy efficient cooling, which uses the ambient air, consumes far less electricity than traditional cooling methods.
  • Our purpose-built data centre is strictly governed and must obtain and maintain environmental certifications such as ISO 14001 and ISO 50001.

The solution - amalgamation in an expansion zone

Due to the complexity and scope of Balfour Beatty’s operations, and the importance of avoiding disruption to its business activities, the migration to Datum took place in several stages.

Initially, the entirety of one data centre was migrated to our facility over one weekend. Datum’s team was on hand throughout to support this process and ensure that everything was up and running in time for Monday morning.

Balfour Beatty required a secure area for its public sector IT equipment, so a private cage was constructed. And because Balfour Beatty required flexibility during the amalgamation and consolidation process, we provided an expansion zone that it could call off as and when needed.

IT estate was moved from its second main data centre once the initial migration had been completed successfully.

The future – a hybrid model and beyond

Balfour Beatty has been partnered with Datum since 2015 and, due to the success of the relationship, contracts were renewed in March 2022.

Now that the initial consolidation and rationalisation is complete, Balfour Beatty has more recently begun to hand back space and capacity as more workloads have been moved to the cloud as part of the development of a hybrid model. The development of a coherent data management strategy, combining on premise with private and public cloud, was a key part of its strategy, and something that is facilitated by the flexibility within our contracts.

Over the years, Balfour Beatty has called on us to provide some of our additional services such as remote hands, tape changes and connectivity provision. In fact, our concierge service, designed to ensure a smoother transition and improved business outcomes for clients moving to Datum, played a part in Balfour Beatty’s choice of Datum as its central data centre provider.

The strength of the relationship between Balfour Beatty and Datum can be put down largely to our ongoing partnership. Balfour Beatty knows that we will work tirelessly to accommodate its requirements to ensure that our colocation solution continues to meet its evolving needs. In turn, we relish the opportunity to support a trailblazing organisation like Balfour Beatty in its bid to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its digital operations.

Datum is a cost-effective, reliable and first class data centre offering exceptional customer service. Datum has enabled us to create a truly hybrid system that gives us the flexibility we need.

Jon Ozanne, UK CIO, Balfour Beatty

Interested in finding out more?

Datum is a proven platform for digital transformation for enterprise clients and a trusted pure-play colocation partner with an impressive client list including FTSE 250 and Fortune 500 companies. Our partner network delivers the additional services required by our clients to ensure they are supported at every stage. Datum was acquired by the infrastructure fund UBS Asset Management in 2021, a move that supports Datum’s ambitions for future development of its operations, including the further development of its Farnborough campus.