Professional Data Centre Solutions to Solve Security & Cabling Challenges for the UK Government
The customer is a data centre team working for the UK government.
The UK government has multiple data centre sites. The problem is that many of these data centres are not in purpose-built environments. They are often housed within listed buildings, for example. This means space is limited and access is outdated. The data stored in the government buildings is also highly sensitive and must be ultra-secure.
The customer was facing two problems: the security aspect and the cabling aspect. They needed data centres that could store the amount of cabling they required and a solution to manage the network and keep data secure. The customer has multiple data centres across the UK, each with unique challenges.
We have worked on various sites for the customer and many of these have been incredibly challenging. For example, we had to hoist large cabinets over a six-foot wall at one site because they wouldn’t fit in the building’s lift. There have also been instances where we have had to cut cabinets to get them through the entranceway and then weld them back together once they are in the building.
The data centres also needed an uninterruptible power supply to keep the network running in the event of a power cut. It is essential that downtime is kept to two hours or less and various services must be able to access the network at all times.
We have been working with the customer for several years now and we are now written into the spec. This means that vendors have to buy products through us as we understand the customer’s environment, product requirements, and unique challenges. This helps to ensure that the customer gets the solution they need, and one that is fit for purpose.
We have come up with unique solutions to help the customer overcome their network challenges such as limited space and outdated access. For instance, we’re discussing innovative solutions such as building data centres into stacked shipping containers and keeping the buildings cool by pumping water from the Thames.
We are currently rolling out one solution in their buildings and there are 10 more projects planned over the next three years.
Generally, we work on a budgetary cost and make an agreement with the client based on what we expect the job to cost. We try to save money wherever we can, but the total cost can change at different steps in the chain due to various factors such as supplier price increases.
The cost can also increase if there are unexpected issues e.g. we find asbestos in the building and the project is delayed. This makes these types of projects very difficult to budget.
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