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Kao Data courts hyperscale tenants for Harlow-based mega-datacentre

Kao Data rolls out ‘built-to-suit’ service for prospective hyperscale clients, that it claims will speed up the time it takes to bring online new datacentre capacity in a cost-effective way

Harlow-based colocation provider Kao Data has set its sights on filling more of its 40MW datacentre campus with hyperscale tenants through the roll-out of a “built-to-suit” service.

The offering is geared towards supporting the growth ambitions of the hyperscale sector by removing many of the planning, funding, contractual and technical barriers they encounter when trying to bring new datacentre capacity online under their own steam.

This is one of the reasons why the hyperscale cloud and internet giants have emerged as such keen consumers of colocation capacity across the world in recent years, as they rush to meet demand from enterprises and consumers for cloud and internet-based services.

To ensure they have the datacentre capacity to cope, colocation is often their preferred way of meeting this demand as it is often quicker and easier for them to move into an existing or pre-approved facility within a preferred location rather build their own datacentre from scratch.

This is a trend Kao Data is looking to capitalise on, but in a way that also meets the maturing requirements of the hyperscalers, Kao Data’s vice-president, Spencer Lamb, told Computer Weekly.

“We’re in a fairly unique position in that we have a large campus with a great deal of power to it, and have the ability to provide a more flexible solution to the organisations that are looking for [colocation] capability, and – in the main – that’s the hyperscale community,” he said.

“For five or six years now they have been deploying swathes of colocation capacity in traditional, large, shed-style colocation warehouses around the London region, but have indicated previously that at some point in the future they’ll be looking to consolidate their requirements, be more cost-effective and strategic in what they do, and we’re now seeing the advent of that.”

“We have a large campus with a great deal of power to it, and have the ability to provide a more flexible solution to the hyperscale community”
Spencer Lamb, Kao Data

Expanding on that point, Lamb said what the hyperscalers are looking for now is access to colocation capacity that is more tightly tailored to their requirements, rather than general-purpose sites that meet their capacity and power needs.

In line with this, its Built to Suit service will provide hyperscale providers with a list of funding options to cover the cost of fitting out its data halls as per their requirements, as well as design expertise so they can customise the facility as they see fit, and access to its supply chain to speed up build-out times.

“The campus has four buildings with up to 10MW in each building, and we have the flexibility to dedicate those buildings to individual organisations and – in doing so – they can stipulate their requirements,” continued Lamb.

“The campus is fully enabled with a full complement of power to it, all with connectivity, so it’s got all the planning permits and permissions in place, so hyperscale organisations can benefit from a more refined, structured, property-style transaction, while ensuring they then have influence on the design of the mechanical and electrical plant that supports their cloud infrastructure.”

The decision to more directly court the hyperscale community in this way marks something of a broadening of the types of firms Kao Data is targeting, as it has previously set out its aim to become a leading provider of colocation capacity to the UK’s life sciences community.

The latter aim is driven in part by the facility’s close proximity to the London-to-Cambridge “Innovation Corridor”, said Lamb, and remains a key area of future business development for the company.

Evidence of which can be seen from the advances in new datacentre cooling technologies the site is looking to embrace in the months to come, which are specifically tailored towards clients with high-performance computing (HPC) workloads.

“We put a lot of groundwork in place before the pandemic kicked off, and we’re having lots of meaningful conversations with [the life sciences community] at the moment. We’re also working towards deploying an example of on-chip cooling within the facility, which we hope will go live in October,” he said.

“The aim is to showcase that and provide [the community] with confidence that it can be achieved and give then the capability to support that with deploying that type of infrastructure for them in the future.”

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Interesting and very logical move. The Kao set-up is a really excellent datacentre for cloud service companies to exploit.
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