Gas company builds datacentre in The Shard

London’s 87-storey skyscraper, The Shard, which is home to plush restaurants, cafes and bars, also has a datacentre

London’s 87-storey skyscraper The Shard, which is home to plush restaurants, cafes and bars, has an unusual tenant on its 28th floor – a datacentre.

IT advisers at the South Hook Liquefied Natural Gas Company, the UK's largest importer of liquefied natural gas, contracted datacentre provider AIT Partnership Group to build a datacentre facility at its head office in The Shard. 

The construction of the datacentre was completed in May but, as the tallest structure in Western Europe, The Shard created a unique set of issues for AIT to solve while building the IT facility. 

“Fitting out a datacentre on the upper floors of a landmark building like The Shard, with limited space and difficult access, was particularly complex,” said Steve Bailey, managing director of AIT. 

“AIT's design had to make the most of the tight space available and provide the level of redundancy required. “We had to be very careful in selecting components that we could install on the 28th floor,” he added.

The strategy AIT used was to have 47U server racks to maximise the available space in the server room. It also selected dual-power feed for the servers, with each A and B feed supported by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) providing over 96% efficiency.

The design also used bypass switches for UPS maintenance and intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) with environmental sensors in each rack to measure the datacentre’s power consumption. Datacentre infrastructure management (DCIM) tools are used to monitor the temperature and humidity throughout the room.

AIT Partnership Group was contracted to provide the expertise by Datrix, which delivers managed IT services to South Hook Gas.  

The datacentre provider worked to tight timescales and completed the design and build in just a few days, ensuring that Datrix could install and commission the IT equipment in good time for South Hook Gas to move into The Shard in May 2014.

“We were impressed with AIT’s breadth of knowledge,” said Darren Ellis, managed services consultant at Datrix. “Its guidance proved invaluable and allowed us to maximise the use of space whilst ensuring it would meet the tight access restrictions of the building and provide a reliable, highly efficient solution.”

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