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Inner-city colocation space in demand as firms want better latency, says Interxion managing director

Previous predictions that rural datacentres would be more common are being changed as enterprises aim to bring better latency to customers, says Interxion managing director Andrew Fray

Demand for inner-city colocation space shows no signs of relenting, as enterprises increasingly favour low latency over potentially lower costs, claims Interxion managing director Andrew Fray.

Speaking to Computer Weekly about the recent opening of the firm’s LON3 facility in Brick Lane, London, he said past predictions about how datacentres sited in more rural locations could become the norm have tapered off as enterprises favour sites closer to where their users are.

“If you went back five or 10 years, you’d be seeing many people suggesting rural or highly green global locations for datacentres,” said Fray. “That’s changed a bit because enterprises want to have their compute much closer to the consumers because we don’t like to wait for content.”

“The UK is a major hub for both digital trading but also general connectivity. There’s that gravity around London and the UK which continues to pull in general activity, but now specifically in the digital economy,” he said.

The LON3 facility has been under development for five years, and the datacentre is the third company that has opened on the site, and has the capacity to accommodate approximately 3MWs of power and contains around 2,000 square metres of net technical space.

In terms of what prompted the expansion, Fray cited the continued demand the company is seeing for colocation capacity from the financial services market, as well as from members of the hyperscale cloud community.

“We have over 200 financial services customers already and are seeing increasing demand,” said Fray. “These are companies, either from the US, Europe or the Far East, wanting to move some part of their critical infrastructure into central London. We’re [additionally] seeing traditional telcos, but also some of the hyperscale compute people wanting to put connectivity right into the centre of London – which is all about getting closer to the ‘edge’.”

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Digital media firms are also strong consumers of Interxion’s colocation capacity, particularly ones that operate overseas.

“That’s really about two things – one is the import of digital media, i.e. bringing content from all parts of the world and having that available to be broadcast or delivered to tablets and all sorts of devices,” he said. “The other part of it is the collection of content that’s been originated in the UK and sending that out internationally.”

While the debate continues to rage about the impact Brexit will have on the London colocation market, Fray said the company has no evidence that customers have “made decisions one way or another on their critical infrastructure as a result of the referendum”.

Outside of London, though, the company is continuing to see strong growth within a number of its other European colocation hubs, including the Nordics, Madrid, Vienna and Dublin, fuelled by the “exponential growth of data”, he said.

“But it’s also [coming] increasingly [from] connected data and the connectivity between hyperscale cloud providers, the people who provide the connectivity that go between them, but also enterprises which have their own resources in their own private cloud,” said Fray.

Demand for colocation

In time, he also expects the demand for edge computing resources to drive further demand for colocation, fuelled by the growing use of internet-connected devices and other emerging technology trends.

“Where will the key distribution points sit for internet of things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, enhanced reality and overall algorithmic computations? A lot of that intelligence will need to sit in centrally located carrier-neutral venues,” he said.

“But there’s going to be substantial demand for that as part of a solution between huge public clouds and between the devices that people have, whether that’s in their vehicle or in their home, or wherever they have that locally held compute.”

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