Data Centre Hosting/co-location Supplier of the Year
We would like to submit an entry for Europe's largest data centre, Vantage CWL1 Campus (formerly Next Generation Data).
We believe it is relevant as this campus significantly powers and enable the UK Digital Economy through its world-class hosting for Enterprise and Public Sector Colocation services.
Since 2020 Vantage CWL1 has been owned and operated by Vantage Data Centers. In addition to serving hyperscaler cloud provider organisations, the data centre facility offers densities varying from 2kW to 125KW+ per rack for wholesale customers and UK enterprise clients requiring cloud hosting, private data halls, and colocation solutions. With 72MW connected and 200MW in reserve, built to exceed tier III standards, the resilient facility is Europe’s largest data centre comprising 750,000 sq. ft (GIA) over three floors.
Originally built as a semiconductor production plant but never used, the facility has been sustainably repurposed and continuously improved ever since it originally opened for business in 2010.
During 2020 and 2021, notable ongoing developments and achievements at Vantage CWL1 included:
- The delivery of 55,000 sq. ft / 18MW additional white space
- Power upgrade to up to 270MW from a unique direct SuperGrid connection
- Increased diverse fibre connectivity options and network capacity from major nationwide carriers
- Opening of a new totally separate fibre route connecting Vantage CWL1 to Bristol
- Vantage CWL1’s continuous development of the HR Diversity and Inclusion programme (last programme: Women in Engineering: https://vimeo.com/685539750/17a5c1e848)
- Vantage CWL1’s commitment to reaching Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030
What are your company’s/solution's key distinguishing features and/or USP?
Vantage CWL1 can respond rapidly to the private and shared data centre space requirements of all types of colocation customers due to the facility’s unrivalled scalability and abundant power. It allows large enterprise organisations and IT service providers to consolidate power strapped and/or multiple smaller estates, while also accommodating hyperscale cloud providers, and even small growing businesses. All have the flexibility to scale as and when required.
Future proof scalability: During 2021 Vantage built additional white space for customers within the shell of the existing building. This comprised the delivery of 6 further data halls, totalling 18MW/ 55,000 sq. ft built out space. Completed in less than 6 months using the company’s rapid build data hall shell & core construction model, this ensured accelerated time to market for customers. Long-established and new customers have future-proof solutions with the convenience, cost savings and peace of mind from being able to continue to expand in the same data centre location.
Rack densities: All CWL1’s shared and private data halls offer unprecedented power to rack: up to 125kW per rack is currently available for the most demanding high-performance computing requirements. This allows Solution Architects to decide the best technical solution for their users’ needs rather than be blocked by unsuitable data centre designs and minimal rack power densities.
Security, resilience and abundant power: Built to exceed Tier III standards, the highest levels of security and resilience are underpinned by CWL1’s unprecedented power supply from an adjacent on-site sub-station supplying a direct connection to the SuperGrid. In 2020 the power supply was further increased to 270MW: this will continue to ensure unprecedented forwards power available to customers for many years to come and assures a smooth delivery and control of power into the building, minimising risk of surges or spikes. There has not been a single outage since the facility opened more than 10 years ago.
Sustainability: In 2021 CWL1 further improved its offering with a commitment to reaching Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2030 in line with all Vantage Data Centers’ portfolio worldwide. Vantage is a signatory of the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact and is actively involved in ongoing sustainability initiatives including water reduction. This further strengthens CWL1’s established energy optimization credentials as follows:
- The first data centre campus in the UK to be powered by 100 per cent renewably sourced energy when opening in 2010 and the first to commit to the UK Government’s Climate Change Agreement initiative
- A custom Energy Management System designed by Schneider Electric for enabling real-time monitoring, measuring and reporting on energy and environmental performance.
- Leveraging the lower ambient climate in Wales for harnessing free-cooling to its state of the art intelligent cooling systems from Stulz GE and Vertiv. These indirect free cooling units also allow CWL1 campus to control the ingress of contaminants and humidity, ensuring sealed white space environments.
- Industry-leading PUE rating of 1.2
Diverse Connectivity: 2020 - 2021 saw Vantage CWL1 further increase its connectivity offerings to maximise the choice, bandwidth and resilience of networks available to customers:
- In 2021 Virgin Media Business 02 more than doubled its existing fibre capacity available at CWL1 – 96 fibre pairs now available and direct connection to Virgin 02’s 128,000 km UK network.
- In 2020 Neos Networks became the first to POP CWL1’s alternative dark fibre route into South Wales from Bristol. This spans the M48 Severn Bridge - the first to do so – and allows customers to access a choice of dark fibre and managed lit services, connecting seamlessly into Neos’s 34,000 km UK-wide network.
- LINX Wales’ also has a direct presence at CWL1 which has enabled it to grow faster than any other regional UK communications hub. As a point of presence for the London Internet Exchange, the LINX Wales Peering Exchange allows CWL1 customers lower latency and an overall improved end-user experience.
- CWL1 Campus became LINX Wales fastest-growing regional interconnection point in the shortest amount of time.
- Further CWL1 connectivity credentials include direct gateway connections into the network infrastructures of the major public cloud providers, bypassing the public internet to ensure the delivery of extremely responsive, secure and reliable cloud-enabled services.
- CWL1 is directly connected to Telehouse in London so customers can remain in London while leveraging the considerable cost-savings of operating their server racks remotely at CWL1’s out-of-town rates.
Price Performance: The Cardiff campus’s huge size, economies of scale and low out of town cost base combine to offer world-class colocation at half the price of comparable facilities in the London/M25 region.
Accreditations: Quality, environmental, security, data privacy, and process management certified including BSI ISO 9001:2015, BSI ISO 14001:2015, BSI ISO 27001:2013, BS 10012:2017, PCI DSS, ISAE-3402, SSAE-16, SOC 1, SOC2 and SOC3.
On-site support and services: 24/7/365 assistance on all aspects of installation and capacity planning; remote hands service and hands and eyes support for performing tasks such as power cycling, visual inspections and cable replacements; advice on regulatory matters, IT issues and products; specialist server migration and de-installation/installation services get customer racks transported, up and running in hours – not days; extensive range of on-site private meeting suites and conference facilities available to clients
What tangible impact has your product/solution had on the market and your customers?
With pricing half that of London/M25, Vantage CWL1 Campus has evolved into a world-class and highly affordable regional alternative to large metropolitan areas.
Vantage’s Cardiff Campus is now ‘home from home’ to the IT Systems of an impressive and growing list of blue-chip organisations. From UK government departments and major banks to BT, CGI, IBM, WiPro and other global giants, including some of the world’s largest software and cloud companies. Its huge scalability and power source has and is enabling large organisations and IT, service providers, to consolidate power strapped and/or multiple smaller estates; while also allowing growing businesses the flexibility to scale up as they expand.
With 270MW of power available, the site offers more than enough forward power and power to rack densities for meeting the most demanding Cloud Hyperscalers, as well as Hybrid Cloud and HPC (High-Performance Computing) requirements including specialist semi-conductor, engineering, and life sciences organisations - of which there are many in the Wales region. Moreover, having Vantage Data Centers practically on their doorsteps is proving attractive to local enterprises looking for secure and cost-effective space to house perhaps an initial one or two server racks.
A 100 per cent commitment to renewably sourced energy and certified commitment to the government CCA initiative, affords customers Zero Carbon Tax and enhanced Green credentials. The semi-rural location also offers customers a more naturally secure environment than a metro one.
As a supporter and key proponent of Digital Strategy for Wales, the continued success of the campus in attracting major businesses to the Cardiff Capital Region brings significant ongoing investment into the local economy. Vantage has also evolved into a growing UK employer, intentionally focusing on diversity and inclusivity, as well as generating regular on-site construction engineering work for hundreds of local subcontractors.
Looking forward, Vantage’s 1,450,000sqft/50 acres campus offers considerable scope for growth with enough space to keep pace with continuing strong demand for high-quality data capacity.
What levels of customer service differentiate you from your competitors?
• At the heart of CWL1’s success is its ability to consistently leverage the vast space available and low-cost base location to maximise economies of scale for the benefit of existing and future customers:
A key factor has been the company’s rapid build programme which ensures the cost-effective delivery of individual data halls within an industry-leading time of up to 16 weeks. This is down to the expertise and prowess of Vantage’s on-site construction and engineering team and principal contractors, the hundreds of construction workers permanently on-site, and the flexibility of trusted suppliers.
• Engineering support: Onsite 24/7/365 assistance on all aspects of installation and capacity planning; remote hands service and hands and eyes support for performing tasks such as power cycling, visual inspections and cable replacements; advice on regulatory matters, IT issues and products.
• Specialist server migration and de-installation/installation services get customer racks transported, up and running in hours – not days.
• Extensive range of on-site private meeting suites and conference facilities available to clients
• Event catering service (Room booking and catering, Meet & Greet, Badging and registrations, site tours and presentations)
• Competent Persons Course (CPC): Internal certification system ensuring that all attendees working on-site have been inducted for site health & safety.
This is to provide a full understanding of site familiarisation, security policy, code of conduct and emergency procedures are essential for all personnel when on site. Completion enables the attendees to have un-escorted access to Data Halls and racks
• Strong commitment to quality to quality through achieving various certifications: certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, BSI10012 and ISO 45001; ISAE 3402 SOC 2 and PCI DSS Compliant
What are the major differentiators between your product/solution and those of your primary competitors?
• Meets Global, National and Regional demand for colocation and hosting – all from a highly scalable single site campus at pricing half that of London
• Design and construction of bespoke data halls within industry leading timescales - up to 16 weeks
• A world class regional colocation and telecommunications hub for Wales and West England
• Future-proofed – 420,000 sq. ft net technical capacity under one roof with room for further expansion on the campus with three further data centre buildings planned
• Stable, forward power – up to 270MW available; connected to national SuperGrid via private sub-station
• Power to rack – 125MW scalable power - to support the highest density requirements
• Diverse carrier/ISP connectivity with latency as low as 1.2 ms between Cardiff and central London; a Point of Presence for LINX Wales Peering Exchange; direct gateway connections to hyperscale public cloud provider network infrastructure; direct Layer 2 connections into London Telehouse for added customer convenience
Please supply any supportive quotes and/or case study materials to demonstrate the value of this product/solution to your customers/partners.
- Matt Lewis, Chief Operating Officer, Shared Resource Service (SRS) – customer since 2021: “We now have a much more cost-effective data centre solution and one that is fit for purpose for hosting a modern private cloud to seamlessly deliver a common set of services to all our stakeholders. And without any of the burden of capital expenditure just to remain up to date with the latest infrastructure technologies. Furthermore, Vantage’s commitment to using 100 percent renewable power is of key importance to our Council members. Previously we only had one network connectivity option available to us with BT. Now we can choose from multiple carriers with direct points of presence at Vantage CWL1 as well as leverage further potential cost savings including access to the LINX Wales Internet Exchange and Peering Service. In CWL1, we have found a safe harbour for securing the future of SRS and the shared services we are responsible for providing on a continuous basis.”
- Rob Corrigill, CTO, TeleWare Group PLC – customer since 2016:
“The exceptional security, resilience and high-speed connectivity on offer at the data centre, combined with a lower cost proposition compared to London data centre options, made using their high calibre facility for our Cloud Call platform a no brainer. We have total peace of mind that the data centre is the right fit for our current requirements and has the scale to support our future needs.”
- Wipro Technologies EMEA - customer since 2013
“You’ve really got to question paying premium rates for data centre real estate and power in large city areas like London. There aren’t too many data centres on the planet that can tick the unlimited power box.“
- UK Data Centre Business Area Manager, IBM – customer since 2011:
“Consummate professionals providing world-class facilities and a first-class delivery, they have met considerable challenges to implement a bespoke solution for an IBM High-Performance Computing managed service solution and remain a valued partner of an extending IBM team.“
- Ken Skates, former Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills, Welsh Assembly Government (2018):
“This building is a real success story and for Welsh Government, having turned an unlettable building into something really quite special and economically successful…this is now the site of a state of the art data centre which offers the capabilities and flexibility to meet the specific needs of its customers with great space, power and cooling capacities. For customers, big and small, this means the site offer optimum scale economies, expansive customer facilities and great capacity for growth.
“To now see it home to some of the finest tech and IT providers in the world, with more in the pipeline, is fantastic and bodes incredibly well as we look to ensure our economy is equipped with the technology and innovation needed to ensure our continued growth and prosperity.