New South Wales’ highly lucrative data centre construction and development deal has finally been appointed to Leighton Contractors. After vying for the project, which was announced four years ago, Leighton has attained the highly prized contract, which will see the construction of two new tier three data centres by the end of this year and a further consolidation of 130 data centres in collaboration with the state government.
Metronode, a Leighton unit, will undertake the delivery of the centres, to be located in Silverwater and Unanderra. The goal of the contract and development plans will be to modernise the NSW data centre network, which is currently lacking in terms of efficiency and technological advancement.
“Much of the government’s existing capacity is outdated, inefficient and does not deliver a viable, cost-effective service for government agencies,” says NSW finance minister Greg Pearce. “These will be gradually closed and data migrated to the new centres as they open, enabling significant cost savings.”
The overall strategy for consolidating the bulk of the 130 centres will be through eight separate initiatives including: Service NSW, open government, open data, infrastructure and managed services, managing information for better services, sharing information assets, and ICT skills and innovation.
The data centre deal underlines the strong push by both Leighton and several state governments, in addition to the federal government, to deliver data centres in Australia; plans that have been a long time coming. In a report last year, Metronode general manager Malcolm Roe spoke of the company’s ongoing expansion into the generally undeveloped sector, which included a $500 million commitment toward a data centre expansion plan aimed at capital cities nationwide.
“We’ve been working on our (data centre) expansion program over the past two years and we’re committed to investing in excess of $500 million,” said Roe.
While in these early stages of the project, delivery has gone unmentioned, it holds a key level of importance that not been lost on the developers. After securing approximately 80,000 square metres of land dedicated to data centre facilities, Metronode revealed project delivery and running plans that would include the use of green cloud computing and further technologies that have been implemented and run in some of the greenest and most highly-rated centres in Europe.
The development of data centres nationally has, for the most part, flown under the radar, leaving a prime opportunity for Leighton to obtain market dominance in a country that is ‘desperate for data centres.’
According to Roe, various data centres globally have shown that delivery and running is most successful when founded on energy efficient principles.
The global trend in data centres is to build using green principles and run them using optimal energy efficiency. While this may be put down to a growing sense of environmental responsibility, the overwhelmingly high energy output used by inefficient data centres is reason enough for developers of these facilities to build green. On a global level, that is exactly what they have been doing.
In order to reduce energy use and associated costs, which for the most part are a result of the high level cooling used on the various systems, green technologies have been used by global IT companies such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo.
There is a global green standard for data centres now in place due to their highly energy inefficient nature, as is often explained by Greenpeace in their analysis of the design, construction and running of these facilities globally.
Metronode in association with the NSW state government should be mindful of this, as although Australia is relatively new in undertaking large-scale data centre development, there is still a strong green standard to be met.