Intelligent Data Centres Issue 49 | Page 48

retire before I ’ d get decent exposure to big clients . At the same time , I was aware of technological advances and the growth of the digital economy and I wondered whether or not there were real estate houses that were advising within the data centre space . I was very fortunate that an opportunity presented itself at CBRE within its data centre team , so I took the opportunity and was there for three or four years . I then realised that as the industry grew , it made sense that some of the other large real estate houses could do with a data centre team . That was three years ago and it feels just like yesterday .
How do data centres and real estate marry up and how does the data centre benefit from real estate connections ?
When I first started exploring the world of data centres I had no idea what a data centre was . There ’ s a misconception that the cloud is something which isn ’ t physical , that it ’ s just up there in the air somewhere , but data centres are physical buildings . The Internet actually has a physical home and that ’ s a data centre ’ s purpose . The whole premise here is that a data centre is just another physical building . Data centres look very similar to big industrial logistic boxes , except for the fact that instead of whatever you may have stored in an industrial building , we have lots of racks and servers and supporting infrastructure to keep the servers cool and lots of backup power like generators , UPSs and batteries , just in case the mains utility goes down . So there ’ s a big symbiosis between industrial and data centres . It ’ s much like any other asset class that location is key – the best data centres are those that are more profitable and tend to be in the better locations , i . e ., those that have good access to power and fibre , so they ’ re no different when it comes to location . I have a saying that within data centres , location is Queen , power is King and connectivity is the Ace card .
How would you describe the data centre landscape currently , particularly in the UK , and how has it evolved over the last 12 months ?
Cloud adoption combined with the huge increase in general data usage has had a massive impact on these physical pieces of real estate . When I started five years ago , the average-sized data centre in London was probably somewhere between 10 and 12 MW of IT power and for the layman , that ’ s probably somewhere between 100 and 120,000 square foot of gross building . Whereas today on any new site we ’ re selling within London , or the M25 and the surrounds , we ’ ve got to be able to show the prospective purchaser that the building has the ability to be five-times that size .
Another consideration is that before the cloud is adopted , data centre operators would have a multitude of different customers they ’ d provide a service to and what we ’ ve seen is mass migration to the public cloud . The likes of Microsoft , Amazon and Google now account for about 80 % of total occupational take up throughout Europe . Therefore , their data centres and commitments to data centres are increasing in scale . So not only is it having an impact on being able to identify viable development – brownfield sites that can accommodate that scale
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