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Colocation provider Infinity SDC has sold off its much-hyped Here East datacentre in the former London Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, for an undisclosed sum to the V&A Museum.
The company was one of a number of tech firms to have set up shop in the former Olympic Press and Broadcast Centre, having agreed to lease 260,000 square feet of the site around 2013, with a view to building out a datacentre with more than 130,000 square feet of technical capacity.
At the time, Infinity SDC claimed the development would eventually be home to one of the “largest and most efficient datacentres in Europe”, and Computer Weekly understands the company secured one customer for the site, who moved in during January 2016, and had – at one point – some interest from at least one of the hyperscale cloud providers about moving in.
Computer Weekly has contacted Infinity SDC for clarification about how many customers the Here East site housed at the time of the sale, and if they have been relocated to the firm’s other datacentre campus in Romford, Essex, but was still awaiting confirmation at the time of publication.
The firm has steadily wound down the number of datacentres it operates in and around London over the course of the past three years, having sold its shared services facility in Slough to Virtus in December 2015, followed in March 2017 by the divestiture of its Stockley Park site in West London to Zenium.
These site sell-offs come at a time when the London colocation market is in the throes of a boom period, as hyperscalers – such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft – are increasingly leasing datacentre space from them third-party operators, instead of building their own, so they can keep up with the growing user demand for locally-hosted cloud services.
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Where Infinity SDC and the Here East site is concerned, there are a couple of site-specific challenges that might have proven off-putting for some potential colocation customers, offered Steve Wallage, managing director of datacentre-focused analyst house Broadgroup Consulting.
“Particularly where the hyperscale guys are concerned, they want somewhere with lots of expansion capabilities, they want the ability to customise their requirements and they want a bit of privacy – and you get a lot of footfall in that area,” he told Computer Weekly.
“One of the supposed advantages of the site was that you had these media guys in there, such as BT Sport and universities, so you had those as potential customers, but for the cloud guys, it’s not exactly great to have all those people hanging about.”
As previously reported by Computer Weekly, Infinity SDC said the money raised by the sale of its Slough site to Virtus would be used to accelerate the development of its remaining London datacentres, including the site now sold site in Stratford.
According to Infinity SDC’s most recent set of Companies House accounts, which cover the year to March 2017, the Stockley Park sell-off is credited with helping the firm to “reduce debt” and “strengthen its balance sheet”.
As such, the firm reported a 34% year-on-year drop in operating costs to £4.2m, as well as a 2.3% increase in revenue from its continuing operations, which rose from £17.2m to £17.6m over the same time period.
Infinity SDC building out its presence
In a statement, Infinity SDC CEO Stuart Sutton said the sale will enable the firm to concentrate on building out its presence in Romford, where it has two datacentres.
“Moving forward, our focus is firmly on continuing the development of our Romford datacentre campus, which has already proven extremely popular with customers looking for a well-connected, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility close to the heart of London.”
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