5NINES new data centre will be catalyst for further investment in NI Digital Economy

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  • The opening of the new £20 million data centre in Coleraine will be the catalyst for additional investment and growth in the digital economy across Northern Ireland, according to 5NINES NI General Manager, Paul Besley.

    5NINES, whose portfolio comprises 14 data centres operated across the UK, Europe, China, South America and the US, will open its new centre at the 40-acre Atlantic Link Enterprise Campus at the end of April.

    The Campus is sited within Northern Ireland’s first Enterprise Zone and just 1km from Project Kelvin’s low latency Transatlantic fibre network landing point.

    Planning consent for the Coleraine site was received back in 2013 - and now following the successful creation of the Enterprise Zone in 2016, the 5NINES Northern Ireland facility will officially open for business in the next few weeks and already a number of customers have committed to locate servers there, potential customers have arranged site visits and telecommunications carriers connected the data centre to their networks.

    “This is something new and exciting for Northern Ireland,” says Paul. “From consumers to hi-tech businesses we’re all producing and consuming vast quantities of data, so the great thing for Northern Ireland is that this can now be collected, stored and processed locally from a purpose built, secure, modern, efficient and truly carrier neutral facility.”

    While Brexit presents risks for some businesses, separation could see international businesses locating their UK and European data on the island of Ireland and using this facility as a UK stepping stone from the USA to Europe due to its unique proximity to both and also the abundance of network operators connectivity.

    “There is no other enterprise-grade large-scale carrier-neutral data centre in Northern Ireland. Post-Brexit we will become the closest UK data centre to Europe, and the closest UK data centre to North America, which is already creating a lot of interest from national and international businesses” he said.

    Prior to joining 5NINES, Paul was sales director for Global Switch and has been working in data centres and telecoms since the early 1990s.

    According to Paul, Atlantic Link will have “broad appeal to any business that generates data, stores it, moves it, distributes and processes it”.

    “Northern Ireland has found a good place within high tech industries for example, fintech, pharmaceutical research and cyber security - where there are new applications being developed, there will be data and there is a growing need for a top quality data centre and we are now able to address this need.”

    Businesses can use the facility as a ‘lights out’ operation whereby they set up servers and leave them to operate remotely using 5NINES and their partners to assist with the day to day support, new installations and back-ups.

    “Most businesses, both national and international will want to come in, de-box, set up and test their servers in our purpose built staging rooms and also to use the data centre as a place to work from while they complete their installations, so we've created hot desking and office space, kitchen and breakout areas to help our customers do business in a secure and comfortable environment.”

    While cloud services are widely available, Paul says there is still big demand for physical colocation; “Some businesses have migrated everything to the cloud, but they may find it's hard to get out and that the costs are can start to soar, so many companies are finding a hybrid solution the most viable, particularly where they have a need to understand and control where their data is, and be responsible for critical things such as carrier choice, latency, resilience and security” he says.

    With three-metre high perimeter fencing, vehicle and pedestrian access control and personnel onsite 24-hours a day, 5NINES data centre is also physically secure. There is also man trap access and all doors and server racks are locked, under CCTV surveillance and alarmed.

    “We’re geared for flexibility, “ he says. “Customers may have high-density racks, high-performance compute, or very high-security standards and audit requirements, or they may want additional managed services, which can all be delivered on site.”

    5NINES has been operating for 15 years and as well as operating and expanding its own portfolio of facilities across the globe, works with organisations to fund, design and deliver data centres.

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