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Milton Keynes

MKDC-0 Data Centre Tour

Build Blog

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bullet point January 26th 2012

Building Purchased

Aerial View
Aerial View

Building acquired and work commences immediately to replace and upgrade the existing security systems, access control and CCTV systems. The full details are not included here (for security reasons) but part of the work included the following:

- Two new alarm systems capable of 600+ sensors with over 100 sensors installed (within 48 hours).

- Key parts of the access control systems are replaced.

- 75 out of the existing 78 cameras already on site are tested and found to be operational. Existing DVR units are replaced with two new totally separate systems (N+N).

- External perimeter detection and a site-wide speaker system is added with local and also remote 24/7 monitoring. Key elements such as the new power upgrade are finalised (Order was placed just before exchange of contracts).


bullet point February 1st 2012

Work Begins

Keen to start work
Keen to start work

Most of February is spent investigating and testing the existing infrastructure and also getting to know the building and having key elements tested and serviced. Various contractors most of which we have used on previous projects have attended site and are in the process of preparing quotations.

New auto cad scale drawings of the building are commissioned along with detailed drawings for the building work needed for the first phase.

Some work on the building begins such as lighting and some decorating and setting up the site office and also getting some of the buildings services operational again. We also continued sorting out keys for cupboards and distribution panels and labeling them (over 200 keys most of which were not labeled!).


bullet point March 5th 2012

Existing Generators tested and load bank tested

The two existing generators have been fully tested and then load bank tested up to 110% recommended capacity for at least two hours each (over 1000 litres of diesel used). Both sets passed all the tests however further testing and refurbishment will also be performed before the decision to keep or replace either one of them or both.

NB: Although we are increasing the overall power to the site from 1.5MW to 4MW the existing N+N infrastructure will be used for the first phase with new equipment for the further phases added in parallel to this. Effectively this will mean that the building will end up being more like two separate data centres in terms of power distribution with the only common element being the main incoming HV supplies as each phase will have its own N+N transformers, N+N generators, N+N power distribution and N+N cooling further enhancing the overall resilience of the facility for the longer term.


bullet point March 8th 2012

Removal of 45,000 litre fuel tank.

Plasma cutting the tank
Plasma cutting the tank

The older 45,000 litre tank which was previously decommissioned and is not suitable for use was sliced into smaller sections using a plasma cutter and removed from site.

We have an interesting idea for the old concrete bund's use. More on this later. PS It is not going to be used as a swimming pool!

The following are some additional pictures.

Before During After
Before During After

bullet point March 19th 2012

Removal of old UPS Systems and general update.

Ready to transport the first phase of the UPS removal.
Ready to transport the first phase of the UPS removal.
Two of the UPS systems being dismantled.
Two of the UPS systems being dismantled.

Work begins to remove the existing 1.1MW of UPS systems.

Although most of these were deemed to be operational they are end of life and also not as energy efficient as modern UPS systems so they are being removed and the components recycled. They will be replaced with new units later. Around 50% of the units and most of the batteries were removed using three lorries and the remaining units removed the following week.

General update
In addition to the main aspects which we are reporting there are quite literally hundreds of other smaller aspects of the project with progress being made every day.

For example the first phase of the security systems, CCTV and also access control is now fully complete and most of the office HVAC units have been serviced and/or repaired. The existing fire alarm systems have also been serviced and linked to our monitoring station and all fire extinguishers serviced or replaced.

The main HV power upgrade is also advancing well and the 'meet me room' has been repainted and existing meet me room raised floor has been cleared ready for new power distribution and also the new floor tiles to be installed.

Work has also started to replace some of the interior and exterior lighting with low energy units. Work has also started to tidy up the grounds with extensive repairs and maintenance to the existing security fencing and also clearance and tiding of overgrowth and trees around the site.


bullet point March 23rd 2012

Secret tunnel found !

Hidden Entrance to secret tunnel.
Hidden Entrance to secret tunnel.
Looking down tunnel to an open access hatch at the other end.
Looking down tunnel to an open access hatch at the other end.

We have been steadily investigating the building and each week reveals a new surprise.

Most new data centres (including our own) are now either converted warehouses/offices or built using similar construction principles. However this data centre was originally custom built specifically as a data centre. As a result we are discovering all sorts of useful features many of which would now be far too expensive to construct. It is now becoming clear that this building must have cost much more to construct than we originally thought.

For example although the facility looks quite low from the outside much of the building is below ground level, the roof insulated and the building seems to be covered with galvanized steel lined insulation panels. The windows are also armored/toughened (no opening windows) and all main external doors are steel/security doors. However some of the most interesting aspects have been the various ducts and access features designed to allow plant to access the building securely and also for plant and communications to be routed around the building. For example around the plant area there are extensive 1M+ deep concrete lined ducts and even the office areas have concrete floors with access beneath (i.e. like a low cellar). Much of the key fibre or cables routed around under the floor are also contained in steel ducts.

On Friday we were looking at some of the existing fibre access routes into the site and came across a hidden manhole cover. As we are fully investigating every part of the site each and every manhole cover is being checked we opened it up and to our surprise we found a tunnel which is approximately 1.5 metres high and 2 metres wide and around 50 metres long.

It is fully lined with concrete and has its own drainage and runs under part of the car park and building linking two of the secure yards so that services can be connected from one to the other under ground level. We cant even imagine how much this must have cost to build.


bullet point April 1st 2012

Exterior of building.

External refurbishment (removing loose sealant and treating metal work).
External refurbishment (removing loose sealant and treating metal work).
External refurbishment - Phosphorus coating (yellow in colour).
External refurbishment - Phosphorus coating (yellow in colour).

Work starts on the refurbishment of the exterior part of the building.

The first stage is to pressure clean all of the external panels and then treat them with an anti fungal coating.

The next stage is to remove any imperfections or surface rust from the external steel frame work and then treat these areas with a specialist Phosphorus coating and remove and replace any loose sealant.

Next the main panels and also steel work is repainted with at least two coats.

The work was originally due to take around six weeks but due to the unusually wet weather this is scheduled to take at least eight weeks in total now.


bullet point April 20th 2012

Data Halls - First phase

1. Under floor clearance and cleaning.
1. Under floor clearance and cleaning.

The first phase of the data hall build involves creating a new access corridor, one new large data hall and two smaller individual suites.

The main data hall and other rooms will be segregated in their own two hour fire rated enclosures and the existing suspended ceiling removed and replaced with a new solid one which is also two hour fire rated. The internal walls will be built from the concrete floor to the underside of the new two hour rated ceiling to create a fully isolated space in each hall and for extra segregation the external walls will extend further up to the underside of the buildings steel roof. This means that each data hall is isolated and also the void above the segregated data halls is also isolated from the rest of the building as well.

Before work started the existing floor tiles were removed and the existing network and power distribution infrastructure removed and disposed of and the old tiles replaced (these will be replaced with new modern tiles once the rooms are complete).

2. Data hall cleared and ready for building work to start 3. Work starts removing the small office at the far end of the room and removing the ceiling 4. Suspended ceiling removal.
2. Data hall cleared and ready for building work to start 3. Work starts removing the small office at the far end of the room and removing the ceiling 4. Suspended ceiling removal.

bullet point May 11th 2012

Data Halls - Update

The building of the walls and new ceiling is now almost complete. The walls and ceiling are in place with just the installation of the lockable ceiling access hatches and also the doors and architraves needed to complete the shell. This was completed in just three weeks to a very high standard (Many thanks to AKShopfitting).

The next stages are painting and then a full 'sparkle' clean of the rooms and then installation of the new floor tiles.

1. Same view as picture '3.' below it now shows new wall (from concrete floor to underside of buildings roof) 2. Inside the larger of the three first data halls and also the new one hour fire rated data hall ceiling. 3. New corridor. The first two doors on the right are the smaller mini suites and the second two doors lead into the larger data hall.
1. Same view as picture '3.' below it now shows new wall (from concrete floor to underside of buildings roof) 2. Inside the larger of the three first data halls and also the new one hour fire rated data hall ceiling. 3. New corridor. The first two doors on the right are the smaller mini suites and the second two doors lead into the larger data hall.

bullet point May 22nd 2012

Exterior of building refurbished.

Milton Keynes Data Centre
Milton Keynes Data Centre

The refurbishment of the exterior of the building is now complete.

It looks almost like a different building now that this and further landscaping work has also been done.


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