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Rackspace doubling UK datacentre capacity to meet cloud computing demand

18 Feb 2013
Stacks in a datacentre

Rackspace is set to open a new UK datacentre facility based on Open Compute infrastructure in order to meet growing demand for cloud services.

The move will eventually double its UK capacity and create 300 new IT jobs in the South East.

While much of the UK economy is still in the doldrums, the hosting firm said it is planning a large new campus-style data facility near London, comprising five data halls, three of which will be online by the end of 2014.

Each hall will be 2MW in capacity, which will deliver a total of 10MW when all five halls are eventually online, more than doubling Rackspace's current UK capacity in order to meet growing demand for its cloud computing services, the firm said.

"The thing that is driving this is the adoption of cloud, and the significant expansion we need to do both around open cloud and to support people building privately with Openstack," Rackspace vice president of technology Nigel Beighton told V3.

"It's the interest in OpenStack and big public open cloud that is driving all of this."

Rackspace is also adapting the way it builds extra capacity in order to enable it to respond faster to growing demand, according to Beighton.

To this end, the new UK datacentre is being leased from datacentre specialist Digital Realty rather than being built and owned by Rackspace, and will be outfitted with infrastructure based on the Open Compute specifications.

"The plan going forward is for [Digital Realty] to own and we lease from them. The reason is simply the speed of getting it done. They build it and we concentrate on what goes into it," Beighton said.

Meanwhile, Open Compute allows the firm to standardise a lot more of the infrastructure.

"One of the key aspects of cloud computing is the ability to scale quickly, because customers can come along at any time and take a huge chunk of capacity," Beighton explained.

"We have published how we are going to scale using those Open Compute principles, and the design allows us to purchase new components much quicker and drop them in much quicker."

Open Compute is an initiative started by Facebook to drive more efficient datacentres at lower cost, and now counts Rackspace and many IT vendors among its contributors.

However, the OpenStack cloud platform also plays a key part in Rackspace's strategy, according to Beighton.

"OpenStack has incredibly good provisioning capability, so we are able to deploy huge swathes of bare metal at short notice and then use OpenStack to configure those dynamically into what we want to make them," he said.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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