Virtus is a 7 year old pure-play data centre owner and operator with a strong London focus providing a flexible mix of wholesale and retail co-location services from ultra-secure, highly connected data centres. Since its inception Virtus has placed a great emphasis on being different by design, be it through the excellence of their people, the transparency of their customer relationships or the thought and effort they put into the design of the data centres.
Virtus have two owned and operated data centres on the outskirts of London, one in Enfield and the other in Hayes. Their view is that being in the current location hotspots is not always necessary or optimal. Real estate costs, energy availability, access etc. make central London sites (including Docklands) very expensive. Furthermore, not all applications need the speed provided by being “on top of the pipe” or through the use of cross connects. Virtus customers can link in to these sites with minimal impact on response times particularly as they invested heavily in digging their own ducts to allow fibre connections to the main network trunks.
London 1 at Enfield is a Tier III designed and built data centre with 2,900 m2 of net technical space 11 miles from Central London. Its 100% up-time record is facilitated by N+N redundancy on UPS and N+1 on all other critical services. The 4.2MW data centre load is powered from the National Grid by entirely renewable sources. ISO 27001 security accreditation is backed up by 3 metre high fencing, round-the-clock on site security, multi level defenses including bio metric access control.
The brand new London 2 data centre at Hayes to the west of London near Heathrow Airport has a total IT load of 11.4MW and the ability to handle rack densities up to 40KW. With 6,000 m2 of net technical space in 3 halls of modular build at a design PUE of 1.2 provides customers with a state of the art , highly secure facility in close proximity to the transatlantic pipe. As with London 1 there is N+N redundancy on all UPS and N+1 on all other critical services. Security levels mirror those described above at London 1.
Virtus have used modelling technology and consultancy from Romonet to help validate their choice of cooling system. In an attempt to achieve low power usage effectiveness (PUE) and a reduced TCO, Virtus London2 facility became one of the first in the London to deploy Excool’s Indirect Adiabatic and Evaporative Datacentre Cooling technology.
Excool uses outdoor air through a series of heat exchangers, which enable cooling to take place without allowing outdoor air to enter the data hall, keeping air pollution hazards outside the building. The product uses less power and is directly fixed to the datacentre, helping to produce big cuts in energy consumption.
The mechanical and electrical infrastructure is smaller than usual, costs are lower and energy consumption is typically between 5% and 10% of conventional systems. The technology also allows Virtus to reduce generator power use by 60% and transformer power by 70%, as well as to cut the amount of diesel stored on-site.
While the firm’s London1 facility went live in 2010 with a PUE of about 1.6, London2 has been designed with a PUE of less than 1.2. The Excool deployments are modular, which means Virtus can roll out additional cooling units to meet changing requirements.
Virtus recently secured £50 million funding from Deutsche Bank which, in conjunction with their tie up with Brockton Capital, gives them a fair amount of freedom to develop the business. Also Virtus own the freehold of their two existing sites giving them extra financial flexibility as there are no additional costs going to a landlord.
Partners and Customers
Virtus focus on a number of key vertical markets, Financial and Professional Services, Content and Media, Healthcare, Education, Research, Oil and Gas, Cloud, Hosting and Systems Integrators. They are carrier neutral having built up partnerships with 22 Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers, peer with the London Internet Exchange (LINX) and have a range of Cloud providers and Cloud direct connect capabilities.
Innovation and Transparency
In a crowded and competitive co-location landscape in London Virtus focus on providing direct customer links into their Commscope iTRACS DCIM system, their provision of flexible pay-for-use power contracts, the ability to offer very high density up to 40KW per rack, a low cost operating model and excellent connectivity in highly secure facilities should enable them to continue growing profitably and hasten the development of the planned new London 3 data centre.