Data Centre Hosting/co-location Supplier of the Year
Opened for business in 2010, CWL1 is a continuously evolving hyperscale data centre hosting and colocation campus operated by Vantage Data Centers which acquired the 50 acres site from Next Generation Data (NGD) in July 2020. Vantage’s mission is to provide a world class data centre campus that provides scalable, secure, resilient, energy efficient colocation and hosting solutions.
In addition to serving hyperscaler cloud provider organisations, the existing 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 tier III standards, the resilient facility is Europe’s largest data centre comprising 750,000sqft (GIA) over three floors.
The building has been sustainably repurposed and transformed over the past decade, having originally been built as a semiconductor production plant for LG but never used. The company has developed the ability to respond rapidly in delivering the private and shared campus space required to fulfil the exacting needs of its world-class customers. A 16-week build programme allows it to meet demand and deliver quality quickly. The semi-rural location surrounding the facility is currently being developed to accommodate three further data centres, the first two of which will be completed within the next two years, each offering 300,000sqft and 40MW capacity.
• Sustainable redevelopment of an existing site and building structure
• Large size of building for scalability / economies of scale
• Abundant, reliable, lower-cost power
• Enhanced natural security by being in rural location, away from flight paths and flood plains
• Convenience - proximity to M4 hi-tech corridor to be within reach of customers throughout West England/South Wales and London/M25 area
• Creating employment and attracting new business into the region
What are your company’s solution's key distinguishing features and/or USP?
Ultra-secure and resilient by design: The highest levels of resilience are underpinned by an unprecedented 270MVA power supply from an adjacent on-site sub-station supplying a direct connection to the SuperGrid. This ensures 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 was opened in 2009. Further, the current facility is bomb and earthquake proof, and benefits from prison grade perimeter fencing.
Power to rack: up to 125kW per rack is currently available for the most demanding high performance computing requirements. Solution Architects favour our ‘blank canvas’ approach where they can decide the best technical solution for their users’ needs rather than be blocked by poor data centre designs and minimal rack power densities.
Energy Optimisation: CWL1 campus offers PUE of 1.2 and was the first data centre campus (since 2010) in the UK to be powered by 100 per cent renewably sourced energy. This is complemented by a custom Energy Management System designed by Schneider Electric enabling real-time monitoring, measuring and reporting on energy and environmental performance. Further, lower ambient temperature in the Wales region aids cooling efficiency with the use of outdoor air for free-cooling in cooler months when the outside ambient air temperature is below 20°C
Diverse Connectivity: Central to its delivery of services, Vantage’s Cardiff campus also serves as a regional Internet hub and major communications node for Wales and the West of England. In total 15 telecommunications providers offer regional, national and international connectivity services from the data centre for providing diverse, high-speed fibre solutions. These include BT, Level 3 Vodafone, Surf, Verizon, Zayo, Expo-e, Virgin and SSE Telecom. The site has multiple MMR’s with multiple routes radiating in different directions to facilitate diversity and dark fibre routes are also available. This enables thousands of low latency options.
As a point of presence for the London Internet Exchange’s LINX Wales Peering Exchange, it means lower latency and an overall improved end-user experience for LINX members and their customers. Further connectivity credentials include direct gateway connections into the network infrastructures of major public cloud providers, bypassing the public internet to ensure the delivery of extremely responsive, secure and reliable cloud-enabled services.
Price Performance: Vantage Cardiff campus’ huge size and low out of town cost base combine to offer world-class co-location at half the price of comparable facilities in the London area.
What tangible impact has your product/solution had on the market and your customers?
With pricing half that of London/M25, 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. With this, the company is moving ahead with the construction of two further data centres. At 300,00sqft and 40MW apiece, these are due for completion within the next two years, bringing even further capability to the region.
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): ensures that all attendees working on-site have been inducted for site health & safety. Completion enables the attendees to have un-escorted access to Data Halls and racks
Commitment to quality: certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, BSI10012 and ISO 45001. (Also 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 – 420,000sqft net technical capacity under one roof with room for further expansion on the campus with three further data centre buildings planned – two at 300,000sqft/40MW apiece already agreed for delivery within the next two years
• 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 1.2ms 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.
- Wipro Technologies EMEA (customer since May 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.“
- Tom Freeman, Head of Global Mission Critical Solutions Jones Lang LaSalle
“One of the only next generation data facilities of its type outside of the United States that meets the suitability standards required by major corporations.”
- UK Data Centre Business Area Manager, IBM
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.“
- Rob Corrigill, CTO, TeleWare Group PLC:
“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.”