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London data centre hub putting UK businesses at risk

29 May 2013
A view of the Docklands in London

NICE: London's position as the data centre hub of the UK is putting businesses at risk by opening up their data to a host of threats.

Speaking to V3, MigSolv chief executive Alex Rabbetts, whose firm owns a data centre facility in Norwich, said that a more distributed, regional model for data centre deployment is needed in the UK.

"London is rubbish. It's on a 20-year flood plain, based on the Environment Agency's own data. It has power problems, it's a terrorist threat, so there are numerous issues. People say they have to be there for connectivity but that's not the case anymore," he said.

"Capital cities around Europe used to be considered the best sites for data centres and perhaps 10 years ago or so they were. But now connectivity around the UK is suitable, and areas like Manchester and Leeds, or Lyon and Marseille in France are growing for data centre sites."

Rabbetts also cited the risk of having hubs of data centres in areas like Slough that have grown up in recent years as posing a risk to the UK. "If you put all your data in one place, that's a risk. After 9/11, all the data centres [at Ground Zero] were wiped out, and the same problem could happen in London or Slough."

MigSolv claims its base in Norwich, as an example, proves regional areas are more than suited for date centre hosting, due to strong connectivity options, good power access and a lower security risk from terrorists threats. The firm partners with other firms for backup, but Rabbetts told V3 the firm intends to build out more data centres in the future.

MigSolv also revealed it has now achieved PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) accreditation for any customers storing, transmitting or transacting credit card data through its facility.

Customers with MigSolv include various public sector and private sector organisations in areas such as oil and gas, managed services and larger enterprises.

Despite the argument put forward by Rabbetts, Daniel Doimo, vice president of IT at energy management firm Schneider Electric, said that cities of the future must incorporate data centres at their heart, akin to churches in the Middle Ages.

"We're going to have to add more infrastructure to cities in the next 30 years than we have in the last 4,000 years. We must build cities around data centres to maximise their data transfer and energy use," he said.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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