The Friday before bank holiday is always a good day in the Keysource offices, but the team have another reason to be celebrating this morning.
Last night at the 2018 Data Centre Solutions Awards, Keysource picked up the award for New Design / Build Project of the Year for their project with the University of Exeter.
Keysource has been working with the University of Exeter as their key technology partner since 2016, supporting them as they looked at the different options available for deploying high performance compute.
Instead of adopting an outsourced compute model, the university decided to build its own data centre to act as the critical infrastructure for its proprietary HPC system, called Isca. Isca provides a next-generation research computing environment, combining traditional HPC with a private cloud infrastructure – which was a first for the UK education sector.
This would allow it to ensure its specific research requirements and capacity challenges were met and give it new opportunities to build partnerships with other universities, including the GW4 consortium, and industrial partners.
After collecting the award, Jon Healy, Managing Executive of Keysource said:
We are absolutely delighted to have secured this award in such a prestigious category. We were up against some major competition, so the success of the University of Exeter project is testimony to the hard work and ongoing dedication of the entire Keysource team, who delivered this fantastic and truly innovative facility on-time and with no disruption.
The DCS Awards are designed to recognise the product designers, manufacturers, suppliers and providers in the data centre sector.
Critical environment specialist, Keysource, has won a five-year contract with colocation provider, Indectron, to provide facilities management and technical services at its Gloucester data centre.
Keysource will provide a full range of FM services at Indectron’s Shield House site, including engineering, service management, remote monitoring and coordinating all planned maintenance.
This contract builds on Keysource’s prior consultancy work with Indectron, which has included providing feasibility, design, and technical due diligence services for the development and commissioning of the 20,000 sq ft facility.
The 3MW site opened in 2018 and provides secure and flexible colocation services to their clients.
Stephen Lorimer, Associate Director at Keysource, said:
“We have a long history of working with colocation providers like Indectron. We’re seeing our clients increasingly value a consultancy-led approach which goes above and beyond the nuts and bolts of facilities management to include technical and client support services.”
“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Indectron over the past three years and the team knew our business could provide the standard of FM support it needed, as well as the technical and consultancy expertise to help enhance the site’s service and drive the business forward. We’ve helped develop this facility from beginning to end and look forward to continuing our partnership by supporting its management.”
Andrew Bence, Managing Director at Indectron, said:
“Having an FM provider that was a trusted partner was important to us. We were confident in Keysource’s ability to deliver what we needed, while providing the additional expertise to ensure our site offers the best service. This peace of mind allows us to focus on growing our business.”
Keysource is part of integrated property services group Styles&Wood, which provides a full range of professional and contracting services to some of the UK’s premier brands and leading blue chip organisations.
This was first published in the March issue of Data Centre News Magazine.
Richard Clifford, Head of Innovation at Keysource, explains that data centre owners and managers could be using their power infrastructure to generate revenue without sacrificing disaster recovery processes.
The UK energy market has seen significant price increases over recent years – as much as 62.6% between 2006-2016, according to price comparison provider Selectra. The market’s volatility was highlighted in December 2017 when wholesale gas prices hit their highest levels in six years, due to supply disruption in Europe. As such, it’s becoming increasingly important for volume energy users to consider innovative ways to reduce costs and ensure they remain competitive.
Battery storage has been billed as the missing piece of the puzzle in addressing the word’s energy challenges. Companies like Tesla are investing in research to create cutting-edge batteries for homes and businesses that store energy from renewables. But energy storage is nothing new. Similar technology lies within Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems, which are already used by the vast majority of data centre owners. Using these systems in new ways could allow the sector to guard against the rapid price changes in the energy market.
UPS systems have been used in Data Centres for decades, but it’s only recently that operators have started to consider this infrastructure as a potential source of revenue generation by taking advantage of National Grid’s Firm Frequency Response (FFR) incentive.
On a basic level, UPS draws in energy while infrastructure is running and automatically switches to power the data centre – keeping systems live in the event of a failure. The stored energy is effectively a reserve that rarely gets used. However some operators are now using this reserve to power their IT systems when energy prices are at their highest, switching back to mains supply when prices are lower. In doing so they’re able to take advantage of the best tariffs.
The obvious question is whether doing this will affect disaster recovery. Using UPS in this way means more frequent recharging and should a power failure happen at this time, there could be a gap in uptime. For some data centre operators, this risk has been enough to completely remove any interest in using UPS for battery storage.
There’s an easy fix, however. By using two systems – one for disaster recovery and a second to reduce costs – operators can avoid risk and assure customers and stakeholders that there will always be back-up power available.
The application of this is relatively straight forward. One UPS system sits below the infrastructure and draws in energy which can be routed back to power IT in the event of a failure – purely used for disaster recovery. Meanwhile, a second is connected further upstream, at the transformer. This second UPS simply stores energy directly from the grid as the IT infrastructure is powered from the mains. It then can act as the battery for use when tariffs are high, helping generate savings without the risk.
Operators that have made the change to using UPS in this way have achieved savings in the region of 5 to 10 per cent on their energy bills. And the model doesn’t just allow for savings. Data centre operators can generate revenue by selling stored energy back to the grid too thanks to incentives like the FFR – a framework that allows third parties to feed back to the grid.
Ultimately the viability of this strategy depends on the data centre and the operator. Among the things to consider is an increase to operational cost. If UPS systems are being used more frequently it means that maintenance of these systems may have to ramp up. And there is obviously the capital expenditure that comes with investing in a second UPS system and connecting this to the existing data centre infrastructure.
Yet the case for doing so is compelling. Margins in the sector are tightening – some are nine times less than they were a decade ago. Meanwhile, energy is still among the largest overheads businesses face –anywhere from 25 per cent to 60 per cent of running costs, according to trade association Intellect.
The good news is that data centre demand has never been higher, due to the increasingly business critical nature of IT systems and growing demands for the rapid accessibility of data. But this means that energy costs will likely continue to be a pressure point which restricts some operator’s ability to grow. Using UPS to generate savings is not a panacea for the sector’s challenge, but it is an example of the sort of small changes data centre operates can make to ease some of the pressure.
Our IT transformation project with Willis Towers Watson has been shortlisted for another award!
As well as being shortlisted for Data Centre Consolidation/Upgrade/Refresh Project of the Year at the 2018 Data Centre Solutions Awards it has also been announced as finalist in the inaugural Electrical Review Excellence Awards.
Shortlisted for Data Centre Design & Build Project of the Year, our project with Willis Towers Watson to deliver two upgraded UK hubs was part of a global transformation programme following the merger of Willis Group and Towers Watson in 2016.
Paul West, Global Data Centre Director said:
“The delivery of the new data centre expansion was a crucial part of our IT strategy and has taken us to another level of resiliency. From designing to our requirements and delivering the project without downtime, the team at Keysource were instrumental in the project’s success.”
A full shortlist can be seen here, with winners being announced at an awards ceremony at The Dorchester in London on the 24th May.
We are proud to announce Keysource has been shortlisted as a finalist in two categories in the 2018 Data Centre Solutions (DCS) Awards.
Our project with the University of Exeter has been shortlisted for New Design/Build Data Centre Project of the Year. Delivered within tight timescales and with very challenging logistics the Keysource team designed and delivered a cutting edge HPC environment that is a UK first in the education sector.
Keysource is also really proud to have been shortlisted for the Data Centre Consolidation/Upgrade/Refresh Project of the Year for their project with Willis Towers Watson. Keysource has been working with Willis Towers Watson on their global IT transformation strategy since 2016, which has included the consolidation of their European data centre estate to two upgraded UK hubs.
The awards assessment panel thoroughly reviewed all entries for the awards before selecting the finalists, who now face a public vote. Voting opened on 9th April and will close on 11th May and votes can be cast at www.dcsawards.com/voting.php.
The awards are backed by Datacentre Solutions magazine, the official journal of the Data Centre Alliance. The DCS Awards will be announced at an evening event at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London on the 24th May.
Jon Healy, Managing Executive, Keysource commented:
It’s great to have been chosen as finalist for our projects with Willis Towers Watson and the University of Exeter. The shortlisting of these projects show that our consultancy led approach has been delivering real value and success for our customers. We hope to succeed in May following a success in previous DCS Awards. We hope lots of people will visit the website and vote!