Cloud datacentre Engineer virtualisation

The Timico Virtual Datacentre #cloud #DCrevolution

I’ve had time to recover from the Timico Virtual Datacentre launch in London on Tuesday night. It was a great evening with a fantastic mix of people there from the IT Director community.

After the talks we had an “unconference” panel session where we discussed the issues of the day in the cloud. One of the things that came out of the discussion was the fact that whilst advantage of the Virtual Datacentre is massive scalability that can quickly be turned on, most standard enterprises don’t need these huge bursts of capacity.

What was interesting is the large increase in servers being used over recent years. One attendee said that he had increased server usage in his business fivefold in as many years. That’s 300 up to 1,500. The beauty of the virtual game is that it is easy and cost effective to do this.

So the question then arose “why not use AWS?”. The simple answer is “throat to choke” and service levels. With Amazon there is nobody to call when it goes wrong and no guarantees. Also AWS does not provide connectivity and the “embedding” of the server infrastructure in the connectivity infrastructure brings real performance benefits.

Another point that came out was the advent of the Platform As A Service. The Virtual Datacentre represents Infrastructure As A Service but starts ups these days don’t want to have to maintain infrastructure. They just want functionality. Office 365 and Google Apps are examples. PAAS is increasingly the domain of both very small and very large organisations whilst the mid-market likes to manage its own services and is the ideal candidate for the IAAS play.

The Virtual Datacentre is another key step for Timico in our onward march in the communications world. It is a sign of continued progress and investment and a recognition of the needs of our growing customer base. If you want to know more check out the Timico landing page here. Press release here. Thanks to Joe Baguley of VMware for his usual terrific talk.

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Cool stuff – Timico datacentre vids

Some pretty cool vids showing off our datacentre. Also pretty cool landing page. Come and visit. Nuff said.

Business datacentre

What do students and CEOs have in common?

One of the data halls at the new Timico data centre in Newark

Students from Lincoln University Computer Science dept visit the Timico datacentre in Newark I’m a fairly egalitarian sort of guy. CEOs from Nottinghamshire District Councils visit the new Timico data centre in NewarkIf someone says to me they have heard we built a new data centre and “can they come and see it please” I go all misty eyed and rearrange my diary to fit in. Whoever they are.

In the case of this post it is two hugely differing groups of people. The lot on the left threw away their ties after their ALevels as symbols of repression imposed on them by a controlling Establishment. They are first and second year students from the Lincoln University Computer Science Department. I was pleased to find out that among their courses they study are networking and virtualisation (plus the c-word).

The extremely respectable bunch on the right are clearly well practiced in smiling for the camera (Galaxy S2). They are the collected CEOs of all the District Councils in Nottinghamshire for whom we got out the good biscuits.

I enjoyed meeting both sets of visitors and have to say to the students that I’m sorry they didn’t get any biscuits but there weren’t enough packets to go round:). Thanks go to Timico’s Ian P Christian for the tour on both occasions.

Archived Business datacentre

Advertorial for Timico Managed Service Provider Partner Programme

Timico Manged Service Provider partners get a tour of the Newark datacentre facilitiesI realise that most of you reading this blog think that life at an ISP is exciting. We seem to only do fun things you say? Pigeon versus broadband racing, major industry parties at the London Transport Museum to celebrate the end of the IPv4 address space, Charity world record attempts, 4G testing on double decker busses in London, cake baking competitions, Christmas parties, offsite seminars in 5 star country houses etc etc etc.

You would of course be completely right. What you don’t necessarily see is all the nitty gritty hard work that goes on back stage that keeps the show on the road.

Cloud Engineer media

Videos to delight and entertain

Couple of videos here for your delectation and delight. We had a Dell film crew come and visit a few weeks ago. They were very professional, all three of them, and had flown over from gay Paree the night before. Their one mistake was flying into Manchester where they stayed the night and then took a 2 1/2 hour taxi ride to Newark the next day. Next time they come they said they will try East Midlands airport – less than an hour away. Very sensible I’d say.

Anyway here are the vids:

There were three of them. I don’t know what happened to the first. I must have said something.

Archived Business

staff wanted

the new Timico Network Operations Centre in Newark has gone live

Get on board – we are looking for staff for our Newark based Network Operations Centre. Vacancies include a 24×7 NOC position, 1st and 2nd line engineers and a “Helpdesk to Helpdesk” person to interface with IT Staff of our larger customers.

We are also after a senior network engineer Cisco, Juniper, MPLS, BGP,VPLS, TCP/IP (both IPv4 and IPv6), GRE, IPSec, PPP (including Radius), HSRP and SNMP.

Check out the vacancies here.

Business media

Experience preferred but not essential – the art of movie making

the Dell  film crew gathers round to start shooting at the Timico data centre in NewarkJust had yet another film crew in. You know what it’s like. photo of me looking serious (and eloquent) taken by Dell film crewEarly start,  breakfast provided by the outside catering company. Shoot a few scenes followed  by bacon sandwich. Bit more then 3 course sit down lunch – it’s hungry work this location based filming1.

This one was from Dell. They had flown into Manchester from Paris and took a 2 1/2 hour taxi ride from the airport. Should have flown into

Business Cloud datacentre

The communications world of the future #TimicoDC

Datacentre of the future

For the odd one of you that missed last week’s datacentre opening day I now have a few photos to fling your way (rhyming purely coincidental but reveals a deep natural talent 🙂 )

reception open for business at Timico datacentre in Newark

We had a great line up of VIP guests including from Newark Madam Mayoress, Mr Mayor and our local Member of Parliament the Rt Hon Patrick Mercer OBE, pictured here with our Chairman Tim Radford.

Mr Mayor, Madame Mayoress, Rt Hon Patrick MErcer MP and Mr Tim Radford attend the official opening of the Timico Newark Datacentre

Hover your mouse over photos for narrative.

TV cameras roll at opening of Timico datacentre in Newark

We had the TV cameras in and have also recorded the event for our own purposes (available in time for Christmas).

Timico Chairman Tim Radford makes a few opening remarks at opening of Newark datacentre

Tim gave a very inspiring speech supporting local business initiatives and talked about the great communications infrastructure that Newark has making it an ideal place to do business.

Patrick Mercer MP  swipes iPad to open virtual curtains officially opening the Timico datacentre

Patrick Mercer swiped some virtual curtains on an iPad that opened curtains on the big screen in the NOC revealing a virtual plaque replicating the real one downstairs in reception.

Trefor Davies is interviewed for the TV at Timico datacentre opening


Trefor Davies says a few words about Timico datacentre capability

I was interviewed by Central Television and then gave what I can only imagine must have been a highly intelligent and entertaining talk about the new datacentre to an audience of over 200 invited IT Directors, CEOs and CFOs.

Panel discusses future of IT at Timico datacentre opening

We were fortunate in having a top class panel that discussed the future of the communications world for business – you can wait for the video to come out – it would take too long to discuss on the blog.
audience focused on panel discussion at Timico datacentre opening


artistic shot inside data hall at new Timico datacentre

The panelists were Christian Craggs, Director of O2 Strategy, Delfino Canas, Strategy Director of BT Wholesale, internet entrepreneur Rob Wilmot and last but not least Ewan Macleod of “Mobile Industry Review” fame.

another artistic shot inside Timico datacentre

Incidentally we have a great meeting room on the top floor of the new new building that can be used for many purposes – look out for news in the future of events that we will be planning here.

last artistic shot showing front of new Timico datacentre Finally if you are wondering what on earth that fancy dress get up is all about in the header photo then join the club. The things I have to do for this business!!

Keep the faith…:)

Oh and I almost forgot. Thanks to everyone who helped to make the day a great one. This includes staff, the panelists, our VIP guests and of course customers both existing and of the future variety. Having been involved in many successful events over the years I can honestly say this was up there with the best of them.

Business Cloud competitions datacentre video

Video games killed the art of conversation – spot the game megaprize competition #TimicoDC

Timico datacentre logoWe had a hugely successful data centre opening event at Timico yesterday – 210 customers, prospective customers and business partners came along and, if I say so myself, had a great time (and were impressed 🙂 ). More on this as soon as I’ve assembled the photos etc – I’m on the move at the moment.

In the meantime I have a little prize competition for you. At the back of the lecture theatre (conf room, call it what you will – it had more than 200 odd people in it), just for fun, we had a range of “antique” video games, consoles and computers on show.

There’s a bottle of champagne1 and a mug for the first person to correctly identify all the different systems shown in the video below (Timico staff not eligible here as they will have been able to view the kit yesterday).  Note no apologies for the title of the post. It is partly true and the internet is now doing its best to finish the job.

1 I saved it specially from yesterday’s celebrations 🙂

Cloud datacentre Engineer virtualisation

View from inside a Network Operations Centre #digitalbritain

the new Timico Network Operations Centre in Newark has gone liveI’m excited to say that the new NOC is now up and running as the header photo shows. The screen content is evolving at the moment but is intended to serve as a useful visual monitor of what is going on in the Timico network.

Timico NOC being populated with furniture prior to "go live"

The photo on the left shows the view of the Timico NOC from inside "manage" meeting roomroom being built. The photo on the right is the view from the “manage” meeting room which has a glass wall showcasing the facility.

The security levels applied to the NOC itself means access is restricted to NOC staff. No sales people, no customers but there is a great view from the meeting room.

The shift system currently means that some desks are unoccupied at times. However as the business grows the staff will operate a hot desk system with personal possessions kept in a movable tray.

The also use a PCoIP zero client desktop hosted on our VMware platform. When a shift worker logs off and a new person logs on from the same seat the PC instance is completely rebuilt using the new logon credentials.

The official opening of the Timico Newark datacentre and NOC is on Wednesday 18th January.

Business Cloud datacentre

Interactive network design the Newark way

Timico network engineer using new Acer Aspire R3700 interactive whiteboardI hope these guys really appreciate what we do for them at Timico.interactive white board in use at new Timico Network Operations Centre in Newark First we build them a brand new data centre. Then we put in a state of the art coffee machine closely followed by a kennel. And now they get an interactive white board to play with!!!

I’m beginning to feel like a second class citizen. I only have a kettle, a normal old fashioned whiteboard and no kennel. Wossthatallabout?

For those of you who are interested in these things, ok most of you, Acer Aspire R3700 in use at teh new Timico Network Operations Centre in NewarkBen is modelling the latest Acer Aspire R3700 interactive whiteboard. It comes with an overhead projector (ceiling) and a shiny black box (inset). I can hear those oo’s from where I am sat.

On a slightly serious note this is all about productivity. On a slightly less serious note, where do they get these part names from? The Aspire R3700!

What would a world without decimal numbers be like? The Acer Aspire RMMMDCC. There you go. Sorted. Have a good one.

PS I have sneaked in the first photo of the new videowall in action – click on the header pic to see more. It was either this or Sky Sports and the boys chose the former 🙂

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Chchrrrshshsh whooosh – nuff said

For those who have problem with flash.

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Where there is technology there is art

sign above entrance of new Timico data centre in NewarkI am often asked for updates on the progess of the new Timico data centre in tidy cabling at the new Timico data centre in NewarkNewark. This is most easily done in pictorial fashion.

It’s nearly done. We are moving kit in. No desks yet but there is now a steady stream of engineers popping over, doing stuff.

the desk in reception at the Timico data centre in Newark We have a reception desk. More like Tardis console without the bit in the middle going up and down. Obviously the reception area is still work in progress but first impressions are important and it aint looking bad.

Some of these photos have been chosen exclusively for their artistic qualities. The patch panel below for example is worthy of the Tate Modern though quality of the photography probably leaves a little to be desired – I’m not a trained photographer you know.patch panel or work of art? - the Tate Modern beckons The photo of the cold aisle is a development on the last one I did which didn’t have the enclosures and attracted comments about inefficiency. This one shows the door at one end and you can just about make out the fact that the aisle has a roof on it.cold aisle - a cool place to be at the Timico Newark Data centre

Two more pics to go. This first one is a bit of the coffee machine in the coffee machine, vacuum cleaner or missile component?first floor kitchen. It reminds me of the Graham Green novel “Our Man in Havana” who was supposed to be sending back photos of secret Cuban missile parts (or simlar) but which in reality were components of a vacuum cleaner. If you look at it from the right angle it could be a missile part (or a vacuum cleaner) 🙂 .

I will say the NOC engineers are going to have to look out for caffeine overdoses because this dispenses the real mcoy in volumes and free of charge. There is also a tap for boiling water – no more frustrating queues Tref holding some cables at the Timico Newark data centre in the kitchen waiting for the kettle.

And finally a picture of me holding a bunch of cables. I’m not going to give you any clues about the cables because are goingto be plugged into something uber impressive and you will have to wait for that.

Oh and there is one more I forgot – no data centre is complete without it’s Dyson blade dryers and here they are in high speed action 🙂
Dyson blade driers in action at the new Timico data centre

There you go – a data centre update 🙂

Business Cloud datacentre

Timico to spend £7m on datacentre, NOC and virtualisation

I am quite excited to be able to announce that we have begun the building of a new 18,000 sq ft, three storey facility at our Newark Corporate HQ. This will house a datacentre with up to 150 4KW racks on the ground floor. 

The first floor is designed as a Network Operations Centre and will provide us with a great 24×7 monitoring facility, screens galore and mirrored glass – the works. The initial build is costing £5m but we are planning a further £2m spend over the next three years, mainly on increasing the capacity of our virtualisation platform and Storage Area Network.

The Newark site already has diverse fibre connections but we will be adding a further link to Manchester to increase our route options out of the UK.

This facility will allow us to offer customers we host in London Docklands an alternative DR option in the midlands. The bigger play though will be virtualisation and the private cloud. We have been offering bespoke virtualisation services for three years or so but this will represent a big step up. Look out for announcements on this later in the year.

The header photo (click to see all of it) is of me and Construction Manager Gary Davies of Lindum Construction doing the ceremonials for the “groundbreaking”. The pic below is me actually doing some digging – I went out and bought a new spade especially 🙂

Business datacentre internet

Building Datacentres: The Costs are Rising

Datacentres are quite a hot topic in the Internet Service Provider world, and their costs are rising, largely due to the increasing costs of power and cooling.

In the UK the major datacentres have typically been located in London’s Docklands. This is because Docklands is where most of the world’s major network providers connect. The cost of connectivity has traditionally been far too high to locate critical network infrastructure outside the capital.

I am sat in the LINX meeting in London writing this post listening to Bob Harris, Technical Services Director of Telehouse, one of the major datacentre players in Europe. Timico is already located in Telehouse North and East. Well the news is that they are building a Telehouse West (not particularly new news).

What is interesting are the financials associated with this project.

  1. £165m over 5 years (£80m over 1st 2 years for the first two floors)
  2. 5 floors with 985 sq metres per floor
  3. 425 racks per floor providing 4KW per rack = total 2125 racks
  4. Business plan to fill the facility over 3 – 5 years

That works out roughly at £78,000 per rack or just under £20,000 per KW. In terms of contribution to the operating costs the capital depreciation is £258 over 25 years, which is incidentally a long time in this game – 10 years might be considered more normal and the period has been arbitrarily chosen by me for illustration. Remember this is before anyone starts charging for operating costs.

I think the costs of this project point towards a trend to start building datacentres outside of London. Communications costs have plummeted and service providers and businesses are going to start hosting all but their most critical, perhaps latency sensitive, infrastructure outside the M25.

You can follow the progress of the Telehouse West building on their webcam here. I’ve pasted a picture of a typical backup generator that is used by datacentres to give you a feel for where the costs are incurred.


PS I don’t think there is room for a Telehouse South, in case anyone was wondering.