I’ve made an appointment. I’ve brought my photo ID. And for the tour around one of Scotland’s most secure buildings, I have a guide. Gareth Lush, Commercial Director of DataVita, meets me at the gates of Fortis, Scotland’s first purpose-built state-of-the-art datacentre, just off the M8. It’s a chance to see at first hand the twin anti-scale fence, vehicle ‘airlock’ with anti-ram barrier, motion-sensing CCTV and automatic number plate recognition device.
In the reception, I am faced with a high glass tube that looks capable of transporting me to another place, Star Trek-style. In fact, it acts as an airtight entrance to the datacentre proper, complete with a scale that weighs people on entry and exit as a security precaution. Lush then takes me on a tour of the vast facility, nearing completion when I visit but with still enough work in progress to reveal the many layers of construction and technology that make up this extraordinary building.
After half an hour or so of winding through rooms and halls, across floors of such heft they appear capable of surviving an earthquake, admiring the mass of cabling snaking its way behind walls and through ceilings, taking in the ‘pods’ that will house thousands of servers containing the data and marvelling at the resin encased thick copper for the back-up power supply, I emerge, blinking, onto the roof where the advanced indirect free air cooling system sits, shaped like an elephant.
It was quite an experience. Lush then brings me back to the more prosaic setting of a temporary cabin off-site and talks through what it all means for businesses and organisations preparing for our digital future. “The biggest challenge for most is that they still have legacy systems; equipment and applications that they have used for years and need to keep using to function as a business or organisation, but they know that the future is ‘in the cloud’.
“So, they need a hybrid model; a co-location datacentre where they can house their IT but also access cloud services. That’s what we offer; a cloud-enabled co-location datacentre. It offers the flexibility of gradually migrating to cloud services as the need for legacy equipment diminishes.
“The other flexibility we can offer is different types of cloud; it could be DataVita’s cloud service, it could be public cloud services, private cloud services or it could be the emerging ‘community cloud’, which is built specifically for customers of the same kind, such as the public sector or health and life sciences where compliance is a key issue.
“What we have done is build a datacentre which makes it easy for a customer, who perhaps initially just wants rack space for their equipment – more commonly called ‘co-location’ -, to embrace cloud services in a simple manner, whilst at the same time being confident around issues such as security, compliance, speed and cost.
“Where an organisation has a number of legacy systems, it gives them the opportunity to accelerate their migration to the cloud, in a secure, compliant environment, ultimately enabling them to offer better services at a lower cost and free up more resources for front line services.”
He said that there has been considerable interest in the new facility from both the public and private sector. Last month, it announced a a datacentre partnership with fellow provider Brightsolid whose chief executive Richard Higgs commented: “Their facility really blew me away.”
Lush added: “Being selected by brightsolid as their data centre hosting partner in central Scotland is a real endorsement for DataVita. It demonstrates that our commitment to quality and energy efficiency exceeds the standards required for the most demanding customer requirements“
Critical to any datacentre is connectivity to the Internet and other datacentres. DataVita has announced a partnership with Commsworld, an Edinburgh based telecoms network provider to offer customers fast, reliable communications from launch.
Ricky Nicol, Commsworld CEO commented: “Commsworld are delighted to be a key Partner to DataVita supporting their exciting new Data Centre. We are providing low latency, large bandwidth, and resilient connectivity to the UK Networks and beyond enabling the clients of DataVita to be confident in accessing their applications and servers in as fast and reliable a fashion as possible. Commsworld would like to congratulate DataVita in creating this high quality exciting facility in Central Scotland.”
DataVita plans to announce other partnerships with private and public sector customers over the coming months. Lush said that initial uptake is good “and our ability to expand rapidly, without disruption means we can accommodate anything from a single rack to contracts for hundreds of racks. Because of the way we have designed and built the datacentre we have the ability to expand quickly and with no disruption to existing capacity.
“But even if a business or organisation is looking ahead 12 or 18 months, now is a good time to talk.”
About DataVita: Established to operate Fortis, Scotland’s largest, energy efficient datacentre, delivering high quality co-location products and innovative, agile cloud services. Its co-location products are unlike anything available in Scotland today and take a fresh approach to providing datacentre services. Its datacentre is ‘cloud enabled’ to allow customers to easily mix traditional IT infrastructure with flexible, on-demand private/public cloud services as needed and monitor, manage and report on everything from a single portal.