21 companies worth checking out in the UK’s data centre market

Data Centre

by Duncan MacRae| 12 August 2014

CBR takes a look at some of the most interesting firms working in the UK’s data centre sector.

1. iomart

iomart was founded in 1998 by Scottish entrepreneur Angus MacSween, who spotted the opportunity to provide managed Internet services to businesses requiring support for their growing IT infrastructures.

In 2007, recognising the game-changing onset of cloud computing, iomart took the strategic decision to invest in its own hosting infrastructure and acquired its first four data centres. The company now owns ten at eight locations across the UK, all connected via a 1,800km fast, high capacity fibre network, offering the 'cloud holy grail' of multi data centre site redundancy.

Through its direct ownership of every layer of the cloud, iomart is solely accountable for all aspects of the customer experience. This enables it to stand behind 100% uptime SLAs to customers including Stagecoach, Skyscanner and Liverpool FC. The company's award-winning control panel enables customers to manage every aspect of their services at the tap of a screen.

iomart continues to invest in new generation technologies and recently unveiled its first Software Defined Data Centre in Maidenhead.

iomart's 24x7 technical support team numbers more than 100 - which is more than most hosting companies' entire workforce - and last year was its most successful yet with revenues reaching £55.6m.

At a glance:

- 10 fully owned and managed UK data centres.

- Own private, fast, dark fibre network.

- Industry-leading SLAs.

- Developed one of the UK's first Software Defined Data Centres.

- Huge technical customer support service team.

2. 4D Data Centres

4D Data Centres was set up in 1999 by David Barker (technical director) when he was 14! It's small with 25 staff, but has experienced impressive growth and is proud of its technical innovation and top service to clients.

The company runs one of the few independently owned, green data centre businesses in the UK. This Tier 3 rackspace provider is based at its own flagship data site in Surrey. It also provides colocation and connectivity services in three other data centres in The City, London Docklands and Kent. Other services include server colocation, dedicated servers, leased lines, ADSL lines and managed services.

4D's customers have access to their racks 24/7, plus support from on-site engineers.

4D also offers ultra-fast connectivity to the UK's main communication hubs and other major colocation providers throughout the South-East. Owning its own diverse dark fibre to Points of Presence (POPs) in major data centres in London, 4D believes it is rapidly becoming one of the major communications providers in the region.

4D pioneered CO2 reduction techniques with its evaporative cooling system, winning the Green DataCentre Project of the Year Award 2012 from DataCentre Solutions magazine. 4D Surrey now boasts a PUE of 1.14 which makes it one of the greenest data centres on the planet.

Recently the company's rapid growth has been acknowledged with listings in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 UK (a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in this country) for 2012 and 2013. This follows progression every year up the Deloitte Tech Fast 500 EMEA listings since 2010. In 2013 4D achieved ISO27001 accreditation for the whole business operation.

At a glance:

- Top green credentials: use of energy-efficient, eco-friendly evaporative cooling to give a PUE of 1.14.

- Unrivalled customer service: 24/7 access to clients & round the clock support.

- Some of the fastest connectivity available today using its own dark fibre to POPs.

- The 4D Surrey data centre is owned outright by the company, meaning it is not controlled by a conglomerate so 4D can push the boundaries of technology to maximise efficiency and performance, & also shape its business/products around customers' needs.

- Focused on the needs of smaller companies in the South-East.

3. Volta Data Centre

Volta is a specialist developer and operator of purpose-designed, carrier-neutral data centres.
Its first high specification facility, located in Great Sutton Street (GSS), is a Tier III stand-alone 91,000ft2 data centre in immediate proximity to the City of London.

Designed to address the ever increasing infrastructure demands of businesses requiring a central London location, Volta GSS provides the communities on its doorstep - including cloud and managed service providers, media and content industries, the latency sensitive financial services and legal communities - with a highly flexible, secure and scalable IT and hosting environment.

Volta GSS is said to offer resilience unparalleled in central London, benefiting from two separate 33kV supplies, with ultra-fast connectivity linking customers to a variety of world-class carriers, cloud providers, business partners, networks and major internet exchanges.

At a glance:

- Benefitting from two separate 33kV supplies of 9.6MVA by Q1 2015, from two independent grid substations, Volta Great Sutton Street provides a level of resilience that no other central London data centre can match.

- Ultra-low latency access to key trading venues. Volta Great Sutton Street has some of the world's leading carriers to ensure ultra-fast, resilient connectivity.

- Volta Great Sutton is a low-profile, dedicated, stand-alone data centre offering a high level of security. This includes 24 hour surveillance and bomb blast protection measures, with the option of private cages for those who wish to house their data in an ultra-secured environment.

- Previously operating as a data centre for twenty-five years, the 91,000ft2 Volta Great Sutton Street site has been completely redesigned and refitted, featuring hot aisle containment with Row-Based cooling systems. This makes Volta one of the most energy efficient data centres in London.

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