The Olympic legacy has now been given a definite data center slant with UK-based data center provider Infinity given the green light to move ahead on a massive project at the Olympic Park close the financial heart of the city.
What is one of the country’s most connected sites - for both power and networks - will become home to a massive Infinity data center providing 140,000 sq ft of net technical space, supported by 40MVA, with double this amount available if required.
Infinity originally partnered with its own subsidiary iCITY, formed in partnership with property group Delancey, to bid for the project under exclusive rights one year ago. iCITY proposes to create a world leading digital and creative hub at the site of the Games Press and Broadcast Centres, bringing in universities, media companies, restaurants and bars with an investment of £1bn.
Three buildings currently sit on the site. They were originally used as the broadcast center, TV studios and press center for print and media for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which took place last summer.
An artist's impression of the iCITY site
Yesterday, London Mayor Boris Johnson said the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has now entered into an agreement with iCITY, which has now formed a full joint venture with Infinity.
At the same time iCITY entered into an agreement to lease the site from the LLDC and Infinity took out a separate lease agreement for the data center from iCITY.
Infinity SDC chief executive Stuart Sutton said it is a major milestone for the project. The agreement means planning submissions will soon lodged.
”We expect planning approval to take six to nine months and then, after that, the iCITY company will hand our space – the data center space – over to Infinity so we can start creating our data center,” Sutton said.
Infinity plans to have customers operating out of the data center by the end of 2015.
Sutton said Infinity’s new site makes use of levels of resiliency created for the London Olympics, which have been the most risk free in terms of power and connectivity.
“Just with power, if you imagine that everything that had to be put in place had to be flawless for the world-class broadcasting,” Sutton said.
The Olympic Park site
Power distribution for the park itself comes in at 11,000V and this is backed to a 132,000V 2N substation.
“This is connected to a very high level to the national grid, with ten physical connections into the iCITY site for power,” Sutton said.
From day one, the iCITY data center will have 40MVA, which is upgradable to 80.
The development will also make use of existing cooling infrastructure, including a district heating system which Sutton said will help the Tier III facility achieve a very low power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.2 - or lower.
This system comes from a combined heat and power plant already on the site, and this will be used to support Infinity’s own hybrid chilled water system, which will allow the facility to use free cooling an estimated 262 days a year.
“We plan to blend the cooling and heating from the combined heat and power plant to our own system to make it very efficient,” Sutton said.
“On top of that, we get access from day 1 to 8MW of cooling which is upgradable to 16MW,” Sutton said.
Most of the UK’s internet peering points are already located close to the Olympic Park, which makes it cost effective for any telco to add connectivity into iCITY.
Infinity currently has a number of data centers across the UK. Its footprint includes 100,000 sq ft of net technical space in its Romford data center, 60,000 in South Romford, 90,000 in Slough and 70,000 in Historic Park. Sutton said these data centers will all be connected to the new facility to create an even greater ecosystem, which is already seeing the benefits of the iCITY deal.
“We have already noticed a halo effect from the Olympic Park. It has pulled through a lot of interest from our other sites and has helped put our name on the global stage,” Sutton said.
Interest has already been shown by a number of local and overseas space takers looking for large amounts of data center space but it is the digital media companies that will come in as part of the wider iCITY ecosystem that will to create the real swell around demand, Sutton said. Financial services companies looking for alternatives to London’s Docklands and the City of London are also expected to take interest in the site.
As for building, Sutton said Infinity has already worked closely with LLDC on its plans for the facility and could end up putting the work out to a third-party contractor or work with iCITY on a combined approach for both the iCITY project and the attached data center for a more economical result and faster build.
“We are also considering doing the development, using our track record of doing this efficiently and effectively,” Sutton said.