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Kao Data secures EMBL-EBI as tenant as bid to become leading life sciences colo gathers pace

Essex-based wholesale datacentre operator Kao Data’s bid to become the colocation provider of choice for the life sciences community sees it secure the European Bioinformatics Institute as a client

The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) has agreed to take up 1.5MW of colocation capacity at Kao Data’s datacentre campus in Harlow, Essex.

This is a significant customer win for Kao, which has set itself the goal of becoming the leading provider of compute capability to the UK’s life sciences community.

The company said the deal also marks the start of its work to build out the second phase of its datacentre campus, which should see it bring online the second of four 8.8MW colocation facilities it has planned for the site.

In the context of the EMBL-EBI deal, this means the company will draw on the capacity of Kao Data London One’s first technology suite (TS01), while also having the option to scale up its use of the site beyond its initial 1.5MW commitment by expanding into the neighbouring facility.

The institute is based in Cambridge, and concerns itself with ensuring biological data remains freely accessible to members of the scientific community to use for research and training purposes wherever they are in the world.

Currently, its datacentres reportedly store about 270PB of raw data pertaining to this work, but these data volumes are growing daily as new scientific discoveries are made.

Steven Newhouse, head of technical services at EMBL-EBI, said these were all important factors in shaping its decision to entrust Kao with its data.

“Datacentre space, physical security and infrastructure availability were critical in our decision-making,” he said. “Kao Data provided a thorough, detailed and consultative approach, which satisfied our technical and operational requirements.

“Its team also demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the needs of the life sciences. Their offer gave us the ability to quickly scale within a single campus, which is another key benefit in this data-driven environment.”

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The Kao Data campus is considered to be something of a rarity in the London colocation community, being a wholesale-only datacentre campus whose design is inspired by how the hyperscale cloud giants operate their facilities.

As such, the facility is kitted out with technologies built by following the principles of the Facebook-backed Open Compute Project, and Kao has committed to powering the site with 100% renewable energy sources.

Gerard Thibault, CTO at Kao Data, said: “EMBL-EBI is an incredibly important customer and marks a significant achievement in our strategic plans, demonstrating that Kao Data has a technically advanced, highly sustainable and energy-efficient solution that provides key benefits to the life sciences community.

“Our ability to exceed expectations and secure the contract against incumbent suppliers further illustrates that Kao Data’s technical abilities, our resource and processes surpass legacy datacentres in the market.”

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