Trio plans data centre network

23/06/2011 - 00:00

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A START-UP Perth business has unveiled an innovative plan to enter the data centre market, in which heavyweight IT and telecommunications players like Fujitsu and Leighton have recently made multi-million dollar investments.

A START-UP Perth business has unveiled an innovative plan to enter the data centre market, in which heavyweight IT and telecommunications players like Fujitsu and Leighton have recently made multi-million dollar investments.

Perth Data Centres has been set up by three established businesses that use data centres and think they can do it better.

The founders are Metro Power Company’s Timothy Edwards, Corporate Backup’s Kevin Allan and Mazda Computers’ Matthew Terry.

Their unique business plan involves the establishment of up to 15 small data centres across the central business district.

In contrast, many of its competitors are building large data centres at single locations outside the CBD.

Fujitsu opened its new data centre last year in Malaga, Leighton subsidiary Metronode is building in Shenton Park, ASG Group recently completed its new data centre in Bentley and another Perth start-up, HPC Data Centres, built at Henderson.

Yet another player set to enter the market, national company NEXTDC, announced last week it had completed the due diligence on the land for its proposed data centre in Malaga.

The growing investment in data centres reflects increased demand for remote hosting of IT infrastructure, data storage and cloud computing services.

Mr Edwards, who was a WA Business News 40under40 award winner this year, said larger data centres were being forced out of the CBD because their high energy consumption adversely affected the NABERS ratings of commercial buildings.

He believes the suburban locations selected for data centres present more risk of power outages, which is a critical issue for data centres.

In addition, he says it creates a hassle for IT professionals who have to travel to the data centres if they need to access hardware.

Perth Data Centres believes its business model will allow it to operate in the CBD without the issues facing large data centres.

“We think that small is better, it’s smarter,” Mr Edwards said.

The business plans to use Metro Power Company’s E2M technology, which is designed to maximise energy efficiency.

“Our E2M system will use its artificial intelligence to manage the power supply and costs through wholesale trading with renewable power suppliers,” he said.

Mr Edwards acknowledged the real test for Perth Data Centres would come with growth.

“Our first one is a traditional data centre with some smarts attached,” he said.

“When we have three or four, we will have our own private cloud network. The question then will be, have we overcome the challenges.”

The group’s first data centre, due to open next month, is located in West Perth on the hospital grid, which Mr Edwards said delivered the most secure power supply in Perth.

Each of the group’s data centres will have 30 to 50 ‘racks’, and its stretch target is to have 1,000 racks in five years.

Mr Allan said the inter-connected data centres would deliver distributed storage, with no single point of failure.

He is pitching the new service to businesses such as accountants and financial planners.

“They want to go to cloud computing but their biggest hang-up is; where is the data stored?” he said.

“They’ll be able to get all the benefits without the data going offshore.”

Meanwhile, HPC operations director Justin Thomas reported this week the group was about to sign off on its stage 3 expansion at Henderson in response to growing demand.

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