For those inside looking out, the M25 is not London, for those on the outside looking in, it is.
If you have a site on the periphery of London the upside is the ability to offer lower cost per-sq-ft when compared with locations in or nearer to the City. The downside could be latency.
There is an interesting mix of data centers dotted around London’s orbital motorway. Fujitsu has its 92,000 sq ft London North site in Stevenage. NYSE Euronext has a 400,000 sq ft mega data center at Basildon and indigenous national players such as Vtesse Networks and Sentrum Limited operate facilities around or near the motorway.
Naturally, anyone with a site says they have ample bandwidth and carrier choice direct into central London. These are not back-up and recovery sites but primary locations for transaction based workloads.
We made a visit to Sentrum’s facility in Woking to speak with Franek Sodzawiczny.
Sodzawiczny co-owns Sentrum. He says it is funded through a mix of private equity and debt. “Finance is partly equity and partly debt funding, it is robust because of the longevity of our relationships. We have robust funding in terms of our expenditure projections this year,” Sodzawiczny says.
The directors and shareholders are listed as Sodzawiczny and Andy Ruhan, a founder of Global Switch.
The 52-year-old Sodzawiczny hails from Birmingham, England’s second city. He would build his data centers closer to home but says you can’t convince anyone from London to go there. “I’m an engineer,” he says.
But if one can compare a man with his data center, both look well built – Sodzawiczny says he enjoys a “full English breakfast” and the robust concrete and steel structure that is his 200,000 sq ft data center in Woking, Surrey, South
He also appears to enjoy tossing off subliminal hits – like using this reporter’s business card as a coffee cup coaster – and dropping in various hand gestures during the conversation.
His inbound enquiries show a shifting market. “It is not coming from the property end but from the user end. They [prospects] are clearer, more defined, not speculative.”
“We signed 50,000 sq ft in Q1 2012 and are working hard to sign 50,000 sq ft in Q2.
At Woking, where we meet, the site offers 1kW to 2.5kW per sq m. The 84MVA is supplied via two 132kV incomers and there is a dedicated on site substation.
These satellite towns sit on or within a few miles of London’s M25 motorway.
At time of writing the company’s twitter account had made 29 tweets and had 244 followers.
For international expansion Sentrum is looking to Singapore and Sodzawiczny says his company will “get on a plane and make things happen.”