Ark Data Centres Limited designs, builds and operates next generation, highly secure data centres within the UK. Its data centres are known as Arks and are spread across campuses which are designed to enhance security and reduce development costs. Ark’s USP is to deliver state of the art data centre facilities, including the highest levels of availability, security and environmental sustainability, at the lowest total cost when compared with similar offerings. Its sole product is colocation – it offers the space and infrastructure and the customer controls the rest.
Ark’s campus approach to developing data centres leaves plenty of room for expansion. By building modular data centres within large secure campus plots, Ark can develop new data centres in line with demand, and technological improvements. Space utilisation is therefore high within each centre and that helps to keep operational costs low.
All of Ark’s data centres currently have ISO 14001 Environmental Management, ISO 27001 Data Centre Security, and British Standard BS 25999 for Business Continuity Management. It is also a member of the Data Centre Alliance and techUK.
Ark owns and operates multiple modular data centres across two dedicated data centre campuses. Those are Cody Park in Farnborough, Hampshire and Spring Park in Corsham, Wiltshire.
Cody Park currently houses three data centres and has planning permission for three more. It is aimed at businesses and organisations looking for fast links with London, with latency just 1.5 milliseconds to the city. It is based just 12 miles from the M25 and close to Farnborough’s high speed rail link to Waterloo Station in London. It is highly secure, has its own substation with a 33kV dual feed for N+N redundancy on power, and has an overall power capacity of 60MVA.
Spring Park is company headquarters and registered office. It sits within a 38 acre secure campus adjacent to MoD Corsham and benefits from decades of national infrastructure investment. Spring Park currently houses three data centres and has planning consent for two more. Power feed to the site is 40MVA and is expanding to 120MVA, and it has its own dedicated on-campus power station with dual 33kV feeds (N+N redundancy).
One of the more interesting features of Spring Park is its underground capacity for further expansion. At present, underground vaults are available as an extra option, with the possibility in future of expanding fully underground.
Both campuses offer multiple Tier 1 carriers and primary and secondary PoP rooms.
Ark is signed up to the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centre Energy Efficiency and is a member of the Green Grid Association.
It is highly focused on implementing energy efficient technologies in its data centres and builds them in at design stage. For example, all of its data centres currently benefit from free air cooling for 99% of the year and each modular data centre matches heating and cooling to IT demand. This has resulted in an annualised Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of less than 1.25
Ark Data Centres Limited is a subsidiary of holding company Ark A9 GP (Ark Group) Ltd. It was established in 2002 as Oval Limited and changed its name from Ark Continuity in 2013.
Increased demand led to a major recapitalisation in 2012 from an investment consortium led by real estate investment company Revcap Advisors Ltd. New leadership came on board and Ark is now run by some of the top executives in the UK, including the former Director General of MI5 until very recently.
Ark has experienced substantial demand for its services since the recapitalisation exercise and continues to expand within its two existing campuses.
Customers and partners
Ark’s most high profile client is the UK Government. In early 2015, Ark joined forces with the Cabinet Office to create the Crown Hosting company. The seven year joint venture agreement will enable the government to bring all non-cloud based data centre activities together in one place and save £105 million of public funds in the process. Crown Hosting also resells its data centre services to publicly funded organisations at significantly lower costs than on the open market.
Other clients include exponential-e, BT Compute and Capita and many more high profile UK and European companies.
A premium offering for companies located in the south of England
For companies and organisations mulling over their options for data centre services, what better vote of confidence than a major £700 million contract with the UK government. Ark has attracted some major UK companies to its books and while it looks like a minor player on the outside, it has some major commercial muscle, and creative direction, lurking in the boardroom.
Ark offers a relatively new business model in the data centre world, and one that appears to be working well for its target market. It offers no compromises on its three core features – security, sustainability and availability, yet still prides itself on offering a service that is good value for money.