What is a data centre?

A data centre is a secure facility that houses Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in a centralised location enabling technological equipment to collect, store, access and process data. Data centres are an integral part of our society and economy and are essential for many parts of our everyday lives. Demand for data centres has grown exponentially, driven by the growing popularity of cloud-based infrastructures, remote working and the huge increase in social and online media use. This has only increased due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be further boosted by the ongoing rollout of 5G. A data centre mainly consists of:

Halls in which racks of computers are grouped to provide processing power and storage

A cooling system to combat the heat these computers generate

A backup power system consisting of emergency batteries and/or backup generators

Offices for administrative work, maintenance and security

Why here?

In 2019, London and the surrounding area recorded the highest take up of data centre capacity of any European market in history, showing that its place as a European and world leader for data centres continues to grow and consolidate. Within this market, the Slough to Hayes ‘Golden Corridor’ is by far the largest subsection, containing over 50% of data centre. This corridor contains the two key ingredients for a viable data centre: power and fibre connections, as well as being located in a strategic location for London businesses. It is served by a number of high voltage substations and several fibre connections running along the Great Western Railway and the Grand Union Canal. Currently, the provision of data centres within this corridor is centred around Slough, which has 19 data centres, and Hayes, which has 8. However, the combination of these areas running out of suitable sites, particularly in the case of Slough, which can be considered to be ‘full’, and a reluctance of data centre operators to rely too much on the same locations, means that the market is looking for potential new sites within this corridor. The limiting factor in the number of new data centres that can be developed within this corridor is the amount of power available. Link Park Heathrow LLP has secured sufficient power for its site to accommodate a data centre.

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