Meet our new industry placement engineer!

It’s a commonly known fact that there is a growing skill shortage within STEM industries with Gartner estimating there will be a shortage of 90,000 IT professionals by 2020 in Europe alone.

In the engineering sector, Engineering UK claimed that this shortage in the technical and engineering field will be even higher with the UK needing to find 182,000 people with engineering skills every year to 2022 to simply meet requirements.

Recognising that, as an industry, we need to do more to attract and train specialists last year Keysource launched its apprenticeship program. Whilst this has proved successful, we also knew we needed to do more.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills attributes the growing shortage to a reduced number of students studying IT and technology subjects. Within the critical environments sector, we find that this is compounded by a lack of awareness of the data centre sector as a career route – even among those who have chosen engineering subjects.

In order to combat this Keysource has launched a University outreach program to inform studying students about the sector and also offering industrial placements to students studying technology and engineering subjects.

Last week we were joined by our first placement student from the University of Bath, Garth Jackson. We sat down with him to understand what he was hoping to gain from the program.

What are you studying?

I am studying towards a Masters (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. I’ve just completed my second year and wanted to gain practical application experience.

What attracted you to engineering and what do you most enjoy?

I have always enjoyed and excelled in Maths and Physics, however I’ve preferred the more practical applications and projects, which in turn lead me to pursue engineering. I enjoy problem solving the most, finding simple solutions to complex problems.

What attracted you to Keysource?

I was attracted to Keysource as they specialise in a relatively niche field of engineering, and one that I was unaware of on my University course. Their placement program has been built to ensure you can gain experience working throughout the entire company. This was an opportunity I had not seen advertised anywhere else and will provide a unique experience.

What will you be working on or look forward to working on and learning?

Throughout the placement I will mainly be working as a part of their Consultancy team, however I will get the opportunity to work in other departments such as small systems and facilities management. I am most looking forward to getting involved in a project, seeing how the whole company functions and how different departments communicate and coordinate together. My main aim is to contribute as much as I can and be seen as a valued member of the team.

What are your future aspirations?

After placement I aim to graduate from the Master’s program with a degree classification of at least 2:1. Finding a job in a field that I feel I can make a difference in and become a well-respected engineer.

In order to raise the profile of the data centre and critical engineering sector to students, our consultants will be taking part in lectures and career fairs across the UK.  If you are a University or studying student and would like to know more about our University outreach program please email [email protected].

Keysource completes Global Data Centre Review for Pharmaceutical Giant

Critical environment specialist Keysource has completed a global strategic data centre review for an international pharmaceuticals firm.

The project saw the business undertake a three-month assessment of 11 data centres in America, Hong Kong, Canada, China, Australia and in Britain to audit the pharma giant’s IT infrastructure.

Keysource’s review included an assessment of the data centre estate against a number industry standards. This also saw the team develop a road map for investing in the on-premise facilities that detailed where capex would be best directed to support the clients’ wider IT transformation strategy.

The critical environment specialist is now providing continued ongoing support following the recommendation advising on actions from the audit and service continuity.

Richard Clifford, data centre consultant and head of innovation at Keysource, said:

“We are finding that a lot of the global consultancy we are currently called on to provide relates to large, distributed IT estates, which present significant operational challenges.”

“At Keysource we aim to gain a detailed understanding of our customers IT services and business objectives. This includes looking at the potential risks, the likely costs of maintenance and repairs, as well as any inefficiencies in the existing assets and allows us to these then shape recommendations for short or long-term strategies.”

“Undertaking a global audit of data centres and server rooms in a consistent way can be quite an undertaking. Our expertise in both the design and operation of critical data centre environments puts Keysource in a unique position to help global businesses ensure they develop an informed IT delivery model to meet the demands of the future.”

Medium Combustion Plant Directive – will it affect me?

At the end of last year the Environmental Permitting regulation was updated to include the EU’s ‘Medium Combustion Plant Directive’. Set to come into effect at the end of this year, we wanted to understand how it would affect our customers and the data centre industry as a whole, so we sat down with Steve Lorimer who heads up our consultancy teams to find out more.

What is the Medium Combustion Plant Directive?

Part of the EU’s clean air policy package, the MCPD aims to regulate and reduce the amount of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide emissions from generators and plant equipment.  The 2018 deadline will only apply to new plant equipment with deadlines in 2024 and 2029 for existing plant, depending on size.

What will it affect?

The new regulation only currently applies to plant equipment with a thermal rated input of between 1MW – 50MW. For diesel generators this applies to equipment with a rated electrical output as a guide between 400kVA – 500kVA and above.

However if you have plant equipment that meets the above criterial but is used for standby or backup power and are tested for less than 50 hours per year this will not apply.

In the data centre industry this will mainly affect organisations that use plant for Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes such as STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve), peak lopping or in continuous use.

What do I need to do to comply with MCPD?

If you’re unsure if your equipment falls under the regulation our consultants can support with plant reviews, monitoring, any upgrades that may be required as well as applying for the appropriate permitting.


Keysource deliver ITPS upgrade following increased demand for colocation services


Critical environment specialist, Keysource, was appointed by managed IT solutions and services experts ITPS to upgrade and expand its colocation facility in County Durham. The need was driven by increased demand for ITPS’ services, following its selection by Microsoft as one of the early adopters of the Azure Stack roll-out.

The 30,000 sq ft site has a total 1.6MW capacity, with 900kW partitioned into different data halls for specific clients. The upgrade added an additional 300kW, leaving ITPS with further spare capacity to expand.

Keysource has completed the upgrade to the second hall at the 8,500 sq ft data centre in just 12 weeks. The expansion been specifically fitted out to suit one of ITPS’s largest clients’ high performance and security needs – including new high security caging.

Keysource originally designed and built the site in 2014 to act as the flagship hub of ITPS’ network operations, which spans three data centres across the UK. A bespoke modular design was used which enables high levels of efficiency and resilience, and allows capacity upgrades to be delivered in line with customer demand without disrupting existing operations.

The data centre was fundamental in making ITPS one of only a handful of worldwide ICT providers to be selected to join the Microsoft Azure Stack Early Adopters programme. It is also the only North East stage two-certified supplier for NHS Digital, delivering services across the new UK-wide NHS communications network, the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

Richard Clifford, head of innovation at Keysource, said:

“We’re seeing many of our customers accelerate planned site expansions to accommodate increased demand for colocation and cloud services, particularly with the drive in digital transformation, data sovereignty and low latency requirements.”

“Our proven track record of delivering upgrades in live environments ensured that we delivered this for ITPS, without disrupting operations or impacting its employees working on site.”


 Garry Sheriff, managing director at ITPS, said:

“We’ve seen substantial growth over the past three years and, thanks to a series of new client wins, we’re expanding our capacity much sooner than expected.”

“Society is in the midst of a period of unprecedented change, with experts estimating that 20bn ‘internet of things’ devices will need to be connected by 2020. That means a massive amount of data, which needs to be stored, processed, backed up and managed in a safe and secure environment.”

 “Our decision to create a high specification data centre here in the region was based on predicting the growth in cloud services and a shift towards effectively renting, rather than buying, ICT infrastructure.”

 “We selected Keysource as our data centre partner due to its extensive experience and understanding of professional data centre operators, and the team’s track record for project delivery and ongoing critical facilities management. This project was a complete success, and has reinforced our belief we made the right decision, we look forward to working with Keysource again.”

Keysource to support Connexin’s Smart Cities ambition with £5m Data Centre in Hull

Homegrown internet firm and smart cities operator Connexin has partnered with critical environment specialist, Keysource, to deliver its £5 million data centre in Hull, as it advances its smart cities growth strategy.

The scheme, known as CXNDC, follows Connexin securing a ten-year Wi-Fi contract with Hull City Council. Connexin is scaling up its work with local authorities to provide Wi-Fi as a public service for connected devices such as road sensors, energy, and security systems, as demand for smart city technology grows.

Keysource has designed the ‘state-of-the-art’ CXNDC 200 rack Data Centre to a tier-III standard covering nearly 10,000 sq ft, and bringing more than 40,000 Mbps of internet connectivity. The project will support demand from local and national clients and will also become the business’ new headquarters. Work is due to begin on the site in July.

Richard Clifford, Head of Innovation at Keysource, said:

“The growing demand for smart cities infrastructure in the UK represents a significant opportunity for Keysource. We have a long track record of delivering for colocation and internet service providers like Connexin and understand the particular needs of this growing area of the data centre market. CXNDC will provide Connexin with a state of the art data asset and we’re proud to be supporting both it and Hull’s smart city ambitions.”

 Furqan Alamgir,  CEO at Connexin, said:

“With CXNDC we are making a major investment in Hull as it progresses its journey to become a leading UK smart city. Keysource’s consultative approach has been key to ensuring this new asset is designed and optimised with the long-term operation of the site in mind.”


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