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Thurrock Council acquires new data centre


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Thurrock Council has taken delivery of a new data centre designed and built by Secure I.T. Environments.

The 234m2 facility provides a home, claimed to be energy- and space-efficient, for the council’s IT infrastructure.

It includes Resilient Data Centre energy efficient air conditioning in N+1 configuration, Riello MPW UPS, a built-in 65KVA generator, 840U of server space, raised access flooring, environmental monitoring, biometric access control, CCTV and Novec fire suppression. 

The project also included all ground works and connection to existing electricity supplies and back-up generators located on other parts of the site.

Secure I.T. Environments said the new facility has been required as the previous operational location and IT systems had reached end of life. 

Two phases

The project was split into two phases, the first comprising the design, build and testing (including acceptance testing) of the centre, along with the evaluation of existing critical and essential power and decommissioning of the existing ICT infrastructure. 

Phase two is an ongoing five-year programme of planned preventative and reactive maintenance, including emergency call out services.

The move contrasts with the increasing emphasis in the public sector on using cloud services rather than investing in new physical infrastructure.

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said it evaluated options including a fully cloud based solution and building an off-premise data centre, and made a decision in favour of a small, modern on-premise facility. This was largely because some of its systems currently have no viable cloud alternative and the legacy data centre could not provide support through the timescale needed to migrate all systems.

It has been built with a capital budget of £560,000.

Cloud possibilities

The spokesperson said that Thurrock is considering cloud solutions on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the full lifetime costs of a move, and that it aims to select the most cost-effective solution to help it deliver services.

“This hybrid design approach will allow the council to leverage emerging cloud based developments and ensure the smooth transition of any systems to the cloud without placing business continuity and service provision at risk,” he said.

“It also ensures that the council has a viable fall-back position in the event that any cloud based provider ceases service provision, and the council has to take services back in-house on short notice.” 

He added: “The data centre also offers us a commercial opportunity to provide other local authorities with a modern colocation and hosting service, or act as their disaster recovery site - to generate income to fund core services.”

Image: W.Rebel under GNU Free Documentation Licence through Wikimedia

Story was amended on 24 October to incorporate further information from Thurrock Council

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