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Milton Keynes

MKDC-0 Data Centre Tour

Build Blog

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bullet point March 1st 2013

Key fibre and bandwidth partners.

We can now formally announce the names of our first key fibre/connectivity partners at the Milton Keynes Data Centre.

Although there was a wide choice of fibre providers near to the new Milton Keynes data centre there were three which had an advantage over most of the other providers as these three were each also able to provide multiple diverse routes into the site. Two of these providers were selected several months ago and both of these companies have been performing extensive work within the site and also the surrounding area and now have live circuits into the data centre.

The result is we now have two providers who between them have four diverse routes into the building (more or less from four different sides).

We are taking one circuit from each provider (Initially 10Gbs from each one) for our own Managed internet Access and MPLS network but this also means that if customers prefer to purchase their own dedicated or point to point circuits they can choose from two separate providers who can each give them a guaranteed diverse route or instead they could take one route from each provider if they prefer to split the circuit vendors.

Although there are other providers available in the area these providers will have a big commercial advantage as they already have a physical POP within the facility. One of the providers (see below) can also offer managed Internet access (multi-homed bandwidth) direct from the data centre as an alternative or in addition to our own offerings.

NB: We have also taken the opportunity to lay our own secure ducts out to the site perimeter in several directions so if additional fibre is brought into the site form alternative providers the civil work within the site is already complete.

# Provider 1 – Vtesse
Vtesse have a full physical POP within each of our Meet Me rooms which are linked to two diverse routes into/out of our data centre. They can offer diverse MPLS circuits and also dedicated fibre circuits from 10Mbs to 10Gbs and beyond. Vtesse can also offer managed Internet access (multi-homed bandwidth) which they can offer direct form within the data centre either as an alternative

to our own managed internet access giving our customers a provider independent alternative if they wish.

Vtesse also operates a UK WAN, which connects more than 50 key data centre sites in London and across the South East of England. They can provide circuits and dedicated waves to either primary London/Docklands-based facilities for disaster recovery or back-up operations or various other uses or as part of a national Ethernet hosting solution.

The management and organisation of the diverse dig and every other aspect so far has been highly impressive so we are delighted with this choice and also the added options they can offer our customers.

# Provider 2 – BT OpenReach
Pretty much a ‘no brainer’ as connecting our facility direct to Openreach via two separate main exchanges gives us substantial connectivity options both locally and also nationally.

‘Locally’ because as a full CP (Communications Provider) ourselves we can deal direct with Openreach for local circuits at very competitive prices and ‘Nationally’ via BT Openworld however this fibre can also be used as tails with more or less any other provider if the provider in question prefers to use existing fibre or they do not have their own fibre nearby.

BT already had two separate fibre routes into the building from two separate main exchanges however they have performed extensive additional work in the immediate vicinity introducing an additional new large capacity fibre cable into the site. This cable is capable of supporting 146 separate fibres each one capable of supporting up to four separate waves of up to 10Gbs. The second route is also being upgraded shortly and this too will have provision for 146 separate fibre connections as well.

NB: According to the Openreach installation engineers this was the first non BT facility they had installed this volume of fibre cables into!


bullet point February 28th 2013

Man Trap

Anti Tailgating portal installed and working.

The Anti Tailgating portal at the entrance to the main data hall corridor has now been installed, commissioned and is fully operational.

For those not already familiar an Anti-Tailgating portal (also known as a man trap) they are very high security access control systems which restrict access and ensure that each person has to present their credentials before gaining access ensuring that only authorised persons have access to the area and an accurate audit is kept of visitors.

By only allowing one person through at a time they ensure that only those authorised can access the secure data centre areas. On presentation of an access control card/fob the automatic door of the unit opens to allow access inside the unit. Once inside, the unit uses volumetric sensors to detect the presence of a user, only allowing access to the secure side if the user is alone and authorised.

A special program and procedure has also been installed for disabled access.

Note: The main problem is stopping the technicians from playing in it and in particular making Star Trek door opening noises every time the doors open and close. We imagine that the novelty will wear off after several......years.


bullet point February 18th 2013

Completion of technical build.

The technical build is now complete!

Both of the additional fibre circuits are also installed and working however they will not be deemed to be fully operational until we have monitored them for a few weeks and also one provider has completed an additional monitoring circuit and the other some scheduled maintenance on their network.


bullet point February 8th 2013

Milton Keynes Data Centre - Build Progress

We are pretty much ready to host data now. The first main large data hall (DH-1) is now ready with the racks all in place and both sets of cooling, power and network all ready and working.


The only things needed to host data are the second fibre feed (due to be completed next week) and also some additional work on the UPS systems synchronisation panel so we are very nearly ready to go now.

The following (slightly shaky) video shows how close we are by showing everything in place and working. For example in this you can see both sets of air handling units operational and also the power from both feeds (Blue and Orange) and also a test server in one of the racks which is connected to both power feeds and also the outside world via the first fibre connection which is in place and working.

Once the last few bits are completed next week we will turn our attention to some of the other cosmetic finishes and work on rooms which are not core to the service (for example the kitchen and dining rooms and reception) .


bullet point February 7th 2013

UPS Systems

The following video shows one of the UPS rooms (UPSR-2/Blue feed).

Both UPS rooms are now operational and connected. Each room supports one of the two diverse power feeds.

These rooms will supply the UPS service for the first phase with additional rooms (one per feed) added for future phases.

* This video was taken during testing ie before they were put online.


bullet point January 28th 2013

General update

We are now getting to the final stages for the operational aspect of the first phase of data racks.

More or less all the main aspects are now complete (or due to be complete within the next few days) with just the commissioning of both UPS systems (due this week) and also the final stages of the fibre installations and also the fire suppression installation to go.

Once these are complete we will start on some of the cosmetic/ additional finishes such as the reception and carpeting and also the second entry gate.

We are also adding a man trap door at the gate way to the data hall areas (the aperture and additional fire doors for the man trap unit are already prepared at this end so we are just awaiting installation and commissioning of the unit itself which is due the middle of next month).

Not long to go now!


bullet point January 12th 2013

Update - Rack level power distribution almost complete.

This shows the individual tap off points and that there is no messy wiring.
This shows the individual tap off points and that there is no messy wiring.
Racks in place and ready to go with bus bars on top.
Racks in place and ready to go with bus bars on top.

The final part of the power distribution structure which is the power feeds to the server racks themselves is now almost complete.

The rack power will be supplied via A + B high level bus bars.

This type of system enables an individual power tap off point to be added or removed whist the bus bar is live and also for different power sizes and presentation options to be added or amended as needed all within a matter of minutes.

Each tap off point can either give single or three phase power and also different power sizes. This means that for full racks a wide range of combinations can be offered and if the requirements change amendments can be made very quickly.

For example the default presentation for a full rack is 32 amp commando sockets (from one or both power feeds as selected) however if the preference was for each tap off point to have two 16 amp feeds instead then this is easy to accommodate either at the point of order or later. The same would also apply if 64amp feeds were needed or three phase power direct to the cabinet (or any additional custom requirements).

The cost of this power presentation system was more than 50% compared to the other options available but the flexibility and neatness sold us on investing in this system.

One of the other major benefits is that the breakers/fuses are not hidden under the floor and hard to reach or located within a cabinet with hundreds of other breakers but instead are located directly over each rack so in the event that a breaker did trip it is very easy and quick to locate the tap off point which feeds each rack (just look up) and then either investigate or reset it.


bullet point January 11th 2013

Core switches ready

The core switches in 'Meet Me Room 1' and also 'Meet Me Room 2' are powered and being tested.

In the bottom of the image of the core switch (bottom left) you will see the labels for the Blue and Orange power feeds. If you look close you will see that when this picture was taken this core switch was being tested running just on the Orange feed.

We have also included a picture of one of the patch panel racks (bottom right). Cabling to the first phase of racks is due to start next week.

One of the core switches in Meet Me Room. One of the patch panel racks in one of the Meet Me Rooms.
One of the core switches in Meet Me Room. One of the patch panel racks in one of the Meet Me Rooms.

bullet point January 10th 2013

Gate access control and video intercom for new data centre

Access control and video Intercom for front gates and long range reader below it.
Access control and video Intercom for front gates and long range reader below it.

The first electric gate is now linked to our access control systems and the video intercom has been added and is operational as well.

In the picture you will see a large box below the intercom which has a built in normal fob reader. This is a long range reader so we can offer the option of having a long range fob to operate the gates without having to lower the vehicles window for added security and convenience.


bullet point January 6th 2013

Scary secret revealed

Scary Senior Network Admin
Scary Senior Network Admin

Turns out it was not a ghostly apparition after all, just a ghostly senior network admin exploring one of the tunnels. :~)


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