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The TCL Data Centre Scotland - 2016 report finds that a number of new key trends are about to transform the Scottish Data Centre market:
- As of the end of 2015, TCL has identified five third party Data Centre providers with 8 facilities in Scotland, located in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow & Dundee.
- As of the end of 2015, TCL forecasts that there will be 11,000 m2 of Data Centre space and 13 MW of Data Centre power.
- The Scottish Data Centre market has the potential to grow almost four-fold from the end of 2016 to the end of 2019, to 40,000 m2 of Data Centre space and 46 MW of Data Centre power.
- To date, Data Centre space in Scotland accounts for only 2 per cent of total UK Data Centre space, but is projected to double over the next 3 year period, if the prospective new build outs are introduced.
- The growth is coming from three proposed new speculative build outs by DataVita (Lanarkshire), the Blair Farm Data Centre (Fenwick) and the Queensway Park Data Centre (Glenrothes).
Most of the new Scottish Data Centre facilities planned are speculative, with the DataVita facility being the first new Data Centre to enter operation from June 2016. It is to have an UpTime Institute Tier 3 design certification, and DataVita to be the first purpose-built cloud facility in Scotland, with potential space of up to 4,000 m2.
The TCL report finds that in order to be sustained, the growth in Scottish Data Centre facilities is dependent on the following conditions:
- Green sustainable power is required – New Scottish Data Centre facilities are being provided with 100 per cent sustainable power sources and a low PUE ratio.
- The need for anchor tenants/partners - The Blair Farm Data Centre and the Queensway Park Data Centre both appear to be dependent on finding anchor tenants or partnerships for the projects to go ahead.
- Low cost Data Centre space is needed as a differentiator - Scottish Data Centre facilities require a clear differential advantage, with a low cost price structure.
- Scottish Government promotion of third party Data Centre space - Scottish third party colocation and cloud services are being promoted by the Scottish Government as an alternative to self-built in-house Data Centre facilities.
However, TCL has identified a series of potential road-blocks that need to be surmounted if the potential for the Scottish Data Centre is to be realized. They include the following issues:
- The cost of Data Centre energy: Industrial energy costs in Scotland (as with the rest of the UK) are among the highest in the EU-28. Energy costs in Norway, Sweden & Iceland are at least half the cost per kW Hour compared with the UK.
- The introduction of direct international telecoms networks: The vast majority of international cable systems connect Scotland via London or other parts of the UK with implications for latency.
- The availability of renewable energy supplies: With selected Data Centre providers reporting that the “Big Six” energy providers are reluctant to offer renewable power to new Data Centres, which in one case is being sourced from a new energy provider.
- The desire of customers to use outsourced Scottish-based Data Centre facilities: Customers are beginning to migrate to 3rd party IT solutions, away from in-house solutions in Scotland.
Scottish Data Centre providers report that there is latent demand for cloud, hosting & colocation services from particular segments such as healthcare, life sciences, large enterprises and the public sector. They also believe that cloud and IT integrators require a regional Data Centre presence in Scotland, which has been hitherto lacking.
In the report TCL highlights the considerable differences in Data Centre space and power between Scotland and surrounding countries such as Iceland, Ireland, Norway & Sweden, and also the variation in power costs.
However, the UK Data Centre market has become more fragmented over time, with geographical Data Centre clusters in areas such as Slough, Reading, Milton Keynes Birmingham, Manchester & Newcastle pursuing their own pricing strategy which is distinct from the traditional London & M25 cluster.
As Data Centre facilities spread out from London there is scope for other regional Data Centre clusters to become established with their own ecosystems – including fibre & IP connectivity, cloud & digital partners and customers – with their own pricing regimes. The Scottish Data Centre market is currently a small cluster but it has the potential to grow fast from a low initial base.