Last edited 04 Mar 2021

Data centres


[edit] Introduction

Data comprises facts about things, people, events, states of affairs and other subjects. It is a set of values that can be stored in various formats, each value relating to a quantitative or qualitative entity. Put another way, data is a method for representing in some form or other how certain things actually are in the real world.

For more information see: Data

Data centres are buildings (or spaces within buildings) in which data can be stored on servers, computers, hard discs and other devices. Data storage is now often a rentable commodity, and it is crucial to maintain a service that is seamless and reliable. Data centres therefore feature ancillary systems such as back-up components and power supply systems.

Extending as far back as the first computer rooms of the 1940s, data centres became prolific during the dot-com bubble of 1997-2000, offering equipment, space and bandwidth facilities to retail customers. Today, they may take up a few floors or entire multi-storey buildings with areas of thousands of square metres.

[edit] Requirements of modern-day data centres

Modern data centres will be governed by the physical requirements that cover most buildings but will be required to satisfy extra criteria due to their specialised nature:

See also:

[edit] Telehouse West

Opened in 2010, Telehouse West in London's Docklands area, was Europe’s first purpose-built neutral colocation provider. It was also the first major data centre to be built in the UK following the newly introduced energy requirements of the 2008 Planning Act. Spread over 19,000m2, with five floors of IT technical space, four service floors and a separate two-storey generator building, the windowless centre offers equipment, space and bandwidth facilities to retail customers.

To reduce the carbon footprint, engineers at WSP included a solution to provide 9MW of warm water free to the local community, and installed photovoltaic cells on the south elevation to further balance energy consumption.

NB NABERS UK, The Rules, Energy for Offices Version 1.0, published by NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in November 2020, defines a data centre as:

'A computer server room that comprises:

  • a) at least 5 % of the total office NIA of the rated building; or
  • b) at least 25 % of the NIA of the floor on which it is located; or
  • c) a room where at least 75 % of its capacity is dedicated to external users.

The combination of multiple computer server rooms is not considered a data centre.'

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