The UK datacentre market remains the largest in Europe and is continuing to grow, according to a survey published by Business Wire in January 2020, buoyed by the increasing reliance on IT and the role of third-party expertise to support IT strategies. Key geographic locations with thriving industries, academic institutions and business parks (such as London, Manchester and Slough) are already home to concentrations of datacentres to cater to growing requirements. And, as demand grows, new datacentre hubs are springing up beyond these core locations.
Not surprisingly, London has the highest concentration of datacentres in the UK to serve the capital and surrounding areas. However, whilst inner London datacentre facilities have the advantage of proximity to the businesses they are serving, they are hampered by issues related to accessibility, space to grow and rising costs, all of which are key factors in businesses’ selection of datacentre locations:
- Lack of space to grow: Space is at a premium in London so many datacentres don’t have the luxury of their own dedicated premises. Datacentres within multi-use buildings are often constrained by space limitations, which limit the further development needed to cater to growing demand.
- Difficult access to inner-city facilities: Access can be difficult in central London, so datacentre clusters are springing up on the periphery of London (e.g. Slough) to keep up with demand. The inner London, M25 and Slough data centre clusters together currently account for around 45% of all UK space, but other areas are developing fast.
- High costs: London costs are famously high, but costs have also been rising in other key datacentre hubs such as Slough as they become more populated with datacentres and industry. Consequently, another ring of datacentres and tech has sprung up a little further out of London, incorporating Farnborough, which is developing quickly into the second largest outer London data centre cluster and offers lower real estate and ongoing costs (e.g. power) than the capital.
Why Farnborough was the obvious choice for our flagship facility
Farnborough is a popular location for businesses – it has significant defence industry heritage, a rich history as the birthplace of aviation and is a hub of innovation. Because of this, it has an excellent connectivity and power infrastructure, and renowned out-of-town secure business park locations. One of these is Cody Technology Park, the high security Government-grade business park we selected when we launched Datum in 2012. Our flagship datacentre facility, which was designed and built to our exacting specifications, provides us with the space we need to grow, and Cody Park offers clients and visitors with outstanding on-site facilities such as easy access, ample car parking and conference spaces.
Our service-enhanced approach is underpinned by the drive to provide clients with the bespoke solutions they desire, and we strive to create an environment that is flexible and can be shaped to client demand. Rather than asking our clients to choose from a range of pre-specified service packages, we work with them to create the bespoke solution that fits their needs. In some cases, this means adapting our environment and infrastructure to provide a solution – and our facility in Farnborough allows us to do this.
Accessibility and space to grow
Unlike central London, where space is at a premium (both in terms of availability and cost), we have the capacity to deliver bespoke solutions to our clients. Locations like Cody Park offer very easy access - its location just outside the M25 and within easy reach of the motorway network and rail/air transport links makes it easily accessible. Installations can be carried out easily and our spacious facility means that we can allow for larger footprints and host more varied demands. Our ongoing build-out of the first floor of our existing facility, which will offer capacity for a further 500-600 racks, is testament to this.
Farnborough’s aerospace industry has driven connectivity investment, as has the growth of Farnborough as a datacentre cluster, which has encouraged multiple providers to build out their networks throughout the area. Latency to the City of London of less than 1 millisecond.