Yesterday I was very priveleged to take a tour of Telehouse Europe, based in the East End of London.
An absolutely massive data centre, this home to London’s Internet Exchange manages over 80% of the UK’s internet traffic, and is perhaps one of the busiest internet exchanges in the entire world.
My favourite bit of the tour was definitely visiting this giant room where the backup generators are housed, though.
The four gargantuan engines are actually adapted from marine engines used on submarines and ships, and will probably never be used. This is because they are the third line of defense in case of a blackout, behind some other backup generators and one huge load of car-like batterys that can keep the immense number of racks (11,000) running for 15 minutes.
But back to the impressive powerhouses. There are four in the room and each one costs £700,000, that’s a whopping £2.8 million of pure horsepower.
The walls surrounding the room are 7.5 metres thick, stuffed full of soundproofing, as Telehouse has to adhere to council noise pollution rules. Even with these walls, the sound level just outside when the generators are running is still at 50dB!
At £2.8m, these four engines are worth just over 40 brand new Range Rovers. Coincidently, you can actually fit a Range Rover or two in the huge goods lift that was used in the building to bring the generators up to their home.