One of Europe's largest data centers is fishing for U.S. tenants, and says it may have a big fish on the line. Next Generation Data Ltd. says it is in discussions with a "name brand" U.S. company about housing a large modular data center installation at the company's 750,000 square foot data center in Wales.
The Next Generation facility in Newport was completed last year, and is one of the world's largest data centers. The huge facility was previously used as an LG semiconductor plant, but has been converted into a three-story data center facility that will feature more than 375,000 square feet of wholesale data center space.
Major Modular Opportunity
"We are talking with a big American company that doesn't want just a data hall, but wants an entire floor or more," said Simon Taylor, Chairman and Founder of Next Generation Data. Taylor said the potential tenant required space for "containerized computing" and is in discussions about the best way to implement containers on the NGD's 50 acre campus.
"We've got three or four choices on the way we could do it," said Taylor. Those options include:
- Containers could be housed in the open air in a secured area of the NGD campus.
- An existing 300,000 square foot building on the site, separate from the main data center, could be adapted house modular data centers.
- Containers could be rolled into a floor in the main data center, which can support more than 125,000 square feet of technical space on each of its three levels (and probably more when used for a container bay).
One of the attractions for large users is the power profile of the NGD site, which has an on-site substation and 180 megawatts of capacity - with half of that supply originating from renewable energy sources such as biomass and wind generation. "Power is a scarce resource in the UK, much moreso than in the U.S.," said Taylor, who noted that new construction for the 2012 Olympics has constrained the supply of power in London.
BT and Logica Already On Board
Existing tenants at NGD Europe include BT and Logica, who currently occupy three data halls between them. For these providers, the NGD site provided a secure facility outside London with plenty of space to grow.
"Our customers' growing concerns over the higher prices and power constraints typically found within the M25 area led us to identify an out-of-town hosting partner," said Sean Chandiram, ICT & Solutions Consultant for BT Business. "Next Generation Data's mega data centre in South Wales was able to demonstrate to BT that hosting outside of London is compelling due to the price per footprint and more importantly the ability to deliver more than enough resilient power to site."
Three more data center halls are currently being prepared for additional clients. The site's strong security is attracting interest from the financial industry, including major U.S. banks. Taylor said attracting American companies is an important goal for Next Generation. "The wholesale business in the UK has been quiet because of businesses battening down the hatches," he said.
NGD secured "significant" debt financing from a unit of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2009, which helped it prepare the first phase of the facility for occupancy. Taylor confirms that the company is continuing to considering a public stock offering on the London stock market early next year to raise funds to build out additional space. "We haven't set a date," said Taylor, who said a flotation was unlikely before the third quarter of 2011