IONOS invests £20mn in Worcester data centre
Leading cloud services and hosting provider IONOS and its subsidiary brand Fasthosts has been granted planning permission to build a cutting-edge data centre in the city of Worcester near Birmingham.
The 38,501 sq ft development, which includes 12,978 sq ft of ancillary offices, will be located on Worcester Six – the region’s flagship business park after Wychavon District Council approved the project.
IONOS’ investment in the area is likely to encourage more interest from international enterprises and be a welcome cash injection for the local economy. The company, which was founded in 1988, and is currently the largest cloud services multinational in Europe, hosts more than 12mn domains in its regional data centres.
Plans show the Tier IV hub will have 99.995% availability and will be constructed using the latest, energy-efficient technology. According to officials managing the project, it will also be the most efficient IONOS data centre to date, with 10% of the energy coming from an innovative photovoltaic system on the DC roof.
Edward Peel, Development Manager at Stoford, the contractors behind the project, said the facility would be a welcome addition to the area which is already established in commercial resources. “The approval for the IONOS development will bring another world-class operator to Worcester Six, which recognises the strategic location, excellent infrastructure links, and talented workforce that businesses can draw upon.”
Peel continued, “We believe this is the first data centre to come to Wychavon and it is a clear indication of the confidence that IONOS, which is the largest cloud and hosting provider in Europe, has for the area, and for the business park.”
He added, “The excellent central location of Worcester Six, plus the availability and diverse routing of services that we have installed to the site, made this a forerunner for IONOS; we are proud to be delivering this building for them.”
Achim Weiss, IONOS CEO, also praised the move saying, “The demand for cloud services has been growing even more in these difficult times and with our new site we will be able to provide a variety of hosting, computing, and storage solutions to customers across the UK.”
Since 2018, the Worcester Six business park has seen extensive development, with leading operators choosing the site for their commercial operations, including Siemens, Spire Healthcare, Kimal and Kohler Mira.
NUS and NTU launch cooling project for tropical data centres
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have announced a project in an attempt to source and develop new cooling solutions for data centres located in tropical areas. According to the companies, the programme costs S$23mn (US$17.1mn) and plans to research, build and test innovative and sustainable cooling solutions.
The Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT)
The NUS and NTU say that the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) will act as a research point and innovation hub for the project. Facebook, along with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), is also involved, providing funding for the programme. Further support from other partners includes the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Ascenix, CoolestDC Keppel Data Centres, Red Dot Analytics, and New Media Express.
Commenting on working with the companies, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure, Alex Johnson, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner NUS, NTU, Keppel Data Centres and the CoolestSG community to develop innovative solutions that reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of the average data centre, particularly those located in tropical areas like Singapore”.
The NTU and NUS highlight that Singapore houses 60% of Southeast Asia’s total data centre market, and aims to supply 12% of the country’s total energy needs by 2030. This results in the need to reduce the carbon footprints and power consumption of data centres, meaning more innovative cooling solutions are required, the NTU and NUS said.
Professor Chen Thuan, Deputy President of Research & Technology at the NUS, said: “Data centres are a critical enabler of the digital economy, but the average data centre can exert a significant environmental burden. Aligned with RIE 2025, sustainability is a key research focus of NUS, and our researchers have deep expertise in developing integrated solutions for tropical, urban and Asian settings”.
How will the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) help to provide cooling solutions?
According to the NUS and NTU, the STDCT will be built using equipment such as a novel desiccant-coated heat exchanger and a StatePoint Liquid Cooling System (SPLC) designed by both Nortek Air Solutions and Facebook. The institutions also say they will adopt chip-level hybrid cooling to ensure servers remain cool.
Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will aim to manage the “smart operations” of the technologies so that the data centres are water and power efficient, as well as able to preserve equipment and servers.
The NTU and NSU said in a joint statement the combination of the cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption “significantly” and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to traditional air-cooled data centres. If adopted industry-wide across the entire tropical region, the energy usage of the data centre industry could potentially be lowered by at least 40%”, the companies said.
The STDCT is expected to be operational by 1 October 2021.