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Kao Data opens doors on first phase of £200m datacentre campus in Harlow

Kao London One has a capacity of 8.8MW and is being touted as a good fit for hybrid cloud infrastructures

Carrier neutral colocation provider Kao Data has completed the first stage of its £200m datacentre campus in Harlow, Essex, with several more facilities to be built on the site in due course.

The company has opened the doors on its first datacentre at the site, called Kao London One. This is Kao’s first wholesale facility, and the entire space will be rented out for its customers to use. The datacentre has a capacity of 8.8MW, and is being positioned by the firm as a good fit for hybrid cloud infrastructures.

The facility uses indirect evaporative cooling (IEC) to ensure energy efficiency and Kao claims its power usage effectiveness (PUE) is less than 1.2.  

The campus is in the Harlow Enterprise Zone, which seeks to encourage investment due to its location between London, Cambridge and Stansted. Once completed, the entire campus will cover 150,000ft2 and have a total capacity of 35MW.

Jan Daan Luycks, CEO of Kao Data, said the site is being marketed as a good fit for both local and international businesses, with its capacity and location being important selling points.

“The ever-expanding data economy continues to drive the need for IT capacity,” he said. “Kao London One provides highly resilient capacity and connectivity for national and international businesses.”

Paul Finch, Kao Data’s chief operating officer, said the first phase of the project has been completed on time and within budget. “From the outset of the project, we went back to basics, with an acute focus on reliability and availability,” he said. “We have shown that these attributes can be complementary to lower capital and operations expenditure, energy-efficiency and sustainability.

Read more about colocation acquisitions

“Kao adopted a collaborative and shared risk approach to delivery, which in the light of recent high-profile failures in the construction sector, has strongly positioned both us and our partners well for the future phases of the development.”

Goldacre Ventures invested in the campus in 2014 and its chief executive and founder, David Bloom, said it is rare for a company to enter the wholesale datacentre market as Kao has done. “The barriers to entry are simply too high given the funding requirement and the lack of suitable sites with sufficient owned power, land and connectivity,” he said.

For these reasons, in recent years, major colocation providers such as Equinix, Digital Realty and NTT have chosen to acquire other players to increase their market share. The Synergy Research Group found that the growth rate for these companies was 28% year on year in 2016, with acquisitions playing an important role.

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