Scanrail - Fotolia

Goldman Sachs datacentre deal sees IO open first European site in Slough

US datacentre provider IO has opened its first facility in the UK, with the help of global investment bank Goldman Sachs

Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs has been named as the first customer to move into US datacentre operator IO’s newly opened facility on the Slough Trading Estate.

The 20mW datacentre features a modular design and is second the firm has opened outside of North America, with the first being Singapore. The Slough site covers 10,000m2 and has space to accommodate 90 high-density datacentre modules.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Nigel Stevens, managing director of IO, said the firm’s modular design philosophy brings a number of benefits from a security and cooling perspective.

“Each module has its own security. So, if you’re a bank or a customer with strong security requirements, you get your own locked room, as it were, within the datacentre,” he said.

“Most datacentres have trouble being efficient when they’re not full. Someone described the average datacentre setup as buying some beer, putting it on the kitchen table and turning on the air-conditioning to cool it down. “With our approach, you only cool the parts you need to, which helps to make the whole thing far more efficient,” Stevens added.

Customers also have the option to acquire more modules in the datacentre as their needs change, which Stevens claimed can prevent users from over-buying capacity they may never use.

In the case of Goldman Sachs, Stevens declined to confirm how much of the Slough site’s capacity the banking firm will use, but said it has committed to taking on more space as time goes on.

The banking giant signed a global deal with IO for datacentre space in 2012, as part of a wider push to cut IT costs by outsourcing some of its IT infrastructure requirements to a third-party datacentre provider.

Read more about datacentre investments

However, while Goldman Sachs is a good example of the type of customer it’s looking to attract, Stevens said the facility isn’t just designed for use by firms operating in the financial services sector.

“Banking has a lot of the characteristics that suit a very secure, outsourced datacentre, but I wouldn’t limit it to banking,” he said. “This facility is for anyone who has a datacentre at the moment on a floor in their building, but is looking for a cost-effective way to outsource that.”

A feature of the 2012 deal was a commitment to providing Goldman Sachs with datacentre capacity in Singapore and the UK, which – along with its networking links – is one of the reasons why IO chose to set up shop in the Berkshire town of Slough.

The datacentre already has four carriers delivering network connectivity to the building, including Vodafone and Cable & Wireless, and is in the throes of signing up around 10 more, Stevens added. “Generally speaking, we expand with a customer and – if we can – look for a customer to help us open that first datacentre in a new location.”

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)