Rackspace Partners with Digital Realty to Open New “Green” UK Data Center

Managed cloud hosting company Rackspace, along with data center and colocation provider Digital Realty Trust, has unveiled its new UK data center. Based in Crawley, West Sussex, the 130,000 square foot data center, a green facility with a calculated Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.151, will help to meet the growing demand for managed cloud hosting services in the UK and Europe.

The new facility has been designed with the specific needs of Rackspace customers in mind, encompassing top speeds, availability and energy efficiency. Delivering outstanding Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.151, and with a design BREEAM assessment certification of ‘Excellent’, it is one of the UK’s greenest data centers.

cloud-hosting-rackspaceThe Crawley data center, which is the size of two football fields and holds up to 50,000 physical dedicated-servers, occupies a 15-acre site. The initial build was constructed in 15 months and took approximately 500,000 man-hours. It provides 6MW capacity across two data suites, and will eventually comprise of four data suites with a total 12MW capacity. The site allows for further expansion up to 30MW, and a staggered build approach would maximize year-on-year advances in technology and efficiency gains.

Physical security of Rackspace and Digital-Realty’s data center project is provided at multiple layers starting with the physical perimeter fence through to personnel badge readers. There are also biometrics scanners that read the fingerprint of an individual before they are given access to sensitive areas. The Crawley site is connected to the existing Rackspace London metro fiber ring. This links its Slough facility to the main connectivity exchanges in London.

Energy Efficiency, Scalability

The new operation is the first data center in the UK to make use of innovative ‘indirect outside air’ cooling technology on this scale, without mechanical cooling, according to Rackspace. This means the overhead energy required to operate the data center has been cut by almost 80 percent.

rackspace-hostingThe Crawley data center was designed to maximize compatibility to and compliance with Open Compute Project standards. By using Open Compute Project designs, Rackspace has been able to realize scalability and energy efficiency opportunities in the hardware it deploys. The data center would deliver less weight, less waste and less wattage than traditional server designs.

“This is our tenth global data center and this expansion will enable us to grow with our customers for many years to come,” said Mark Roenigk, COO, Rackspace. “We are proud of the energy efficiency achieved with the innovative design that will become the starting point for boosting the adoption of more efficient technologies in the UK and Europe. We are honored to operate and provide a positive impact in the Crawley community.”

Rackspace is founder of OpenStack, the open-source operating system for the cloud. Headquartered in San Antonio, Rackspace-hosting serves more than 300,000 business customers from data centers on four continents.