NextDC builds out Sydney data halls

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NextDC builds out Sydney data halls
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull cuts the ribbon to open NextDC's S1 as chairman Ted Pretty watches on.

Reaches 27 percent utilisation before opening.

NextDC is beginning construction and fitout of a second data hall at its S1 facility in Sydney after contracting 27 percent "utilisation" before a single piece of customer equipment had been installed.

Chairman Ted Pretty told a launch event at Macquarie Park in Sydney's north last night that the contracted utilisation was proof of the "pent-up demand" for new capacity and space in the Sydney market.

CEO Craig Scroggie declined to break up the capacity utilisation figure to iTnews. The first of four planned data halls contains a co-location area, but most of the space is presently empty and set aside for customers to bring in their own racks of equipment and create caged areas.

However, he did confirm that the "next 25 percent of the facility" — which is being developed as four data halls, each representing a 25 percent slice of the total floor space — is already under construction.

Scroggie said that S1 had been built with shared facilities in mind, noting the availability of videoconferencing rooms, office space and other floor space that could be used by customers to host private network operations centres (NOCs) and the like.

"When we build we really build with shared services in mind," he said. "US companies which don't have established offices in Australia need to use the facility as if it's their own office."

When completed, S1 is expected to boast approximately 2800 racks "at a density of 2kW per square metre", Scroggie said.

Currently, the facility boasts interconnection with 29 fibre operators.

It has three of a planned 13 diesel rotary uninterruptible power supply (DRUPS) units in place.

Each data hall is also to have 22 computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units, which are located in a service corridor surrounding the hall. These are being put in in an N+4 configuration for redundancy, with each unit capable of moving 203 cubic metres of air per second at full load.

The facility is designed to operate at 22 degrees Celsius, with an allowable variation of two degrees either side of that under service level agreements.

Entry to the facility requires two-factor authentication. Administrators receive a swipe card and also must provide two fingerprint scans. Both are required to proceed through three man traps in the foyer. The traps also weigh administrators as they enter and exit to ensure only one person passes through at a time, and that they are not carrying extra items in or out.

Customers can also use the OneDC iPhone app to view environmental data inside the facility, and to lock and unlock their racks.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull toured the new facility and said he was "awestruck by its magnificence", including by its "striking colour scheme" of red and greys.

"If you fail in this venture, which of course you won't, you have a huge career in terms of corporate styling and decoration ahead of you," he joked.

"This must be the most striking data centre I've ever seen. It's an amazing landmark."

'More Bevans'

Pretty praised those involved in getting NextDC to the point of launching the S1 facility.

"It's incredible to think that three years ago this business started on a card table with three staff," he said.

"In those early days it was about the technology, but let me tell you it was a lot about the finance as well to be able to do something like this."

He reserved thanks for NSW Government Trade & Investment for helping "smooth approvals" for the facility.

He also paid tribute to the company's founder, Bevan Slattery, who has since moved onto other startup projects.

"While he has probably been a supplier, competitor or even an annoyance to some of you, the reality of it is we need more Bevans in the country," Pretty said.

"We need people who have a vision, are prepared to execute it, back it with their own cash, and be our national heroes. Bevan ... is a true ICT entrepreneur and probably our most leading in the country."

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