Home Secretary Theresa May unveils datacentre in Maidenhead

Home Secretary Theresa May has opened a multi-million-pound extended datacentre, owned by UK cloud firm iomart

Home secretary Theresa May has opened a multi-million-pound extension to a datacentre in her Maidenhead constituency, owned and operated by Glasgow-based cloud provider iomart.

May said this is the first time she has stepped inside a datacentre. “Datacentres are an important part of the global economy, so I’m delighted to be opening this new facility for iomart,” she said.

“Everybody relies on accessibility and use of the internet to access services and for marketing, so this is important. It is interesting to see that the cloud has a physicality to it and isn’t just something up in the ether.

“The technology will allow businesses to be better connected than ever.”

What’s inside the expanded iomart datacentre

It has become the first major datacentre to deploy Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA) and Cisco Bi Directional (BiDi) Transmission technology to facilitate automatic provisioning and making it software-defined.

BiDi technology allows transmission of 40 gigabit Ethernet over small form factor, which was previously only possible with more expensive MTP Fibre technology. Meanwhile, the DFA feature makes the datacentre flexible and its network scalable.

The datacentre also has a Power-On Auto Provisioning (POAP) facility that lets the network grow with minimal operations effort.

The result is a greater level of scale-out without congestion points while providing optimised forwarding for all types of applications, and a network enabled for secure multi-tenancy at scale, according to chief executive Angus MacSween.

“Many are talking about software defined datacentres, we are delivering them. This puts us at the heart of the next generation of datacentre technology,” MacSween said.

The new 1500 square metre datacentre extension took one year to complete and has a capacity for 630 racks. The facility can host up to 30,000 physical and about 500,000 virtual servers.

But there were lessons learnt in the process. “The challenge was to make sure that all 630 racks within the seven data halls of the facility are capable of catering for every network requirement, for all business groups, encompassing both initial and rapid future expansion as and when required,” said Neil Johnston, group technical operations director.

Iomart reported a 29% rise in annual revenues for the period ending 31 March 2014.  Its adjusted pre-tax profit was £14.6m, an increase of 37% from £10.7m in 2013. Revenues from iomart’s hosting segment reported the highest growth – 40% to £44.7m from £32m last year.

At that time MacSween said the company will invest in the tools and technologies used to deliver cloud services and that it is expanding its Maidenhead datacentre to meet the computing needs of the growing number of SME and large enterprises moving to the cloud.

“Our strategy is to offer all three main layers of cloud – network, compute and storage from a resilient infrastructure.”

The cloud provider has 10 fully owned and managed datacentres across the UK and its 300,000 customers include Misys, the Science Museum, Logic3 and IT support specialist Cheeky Munkey.

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