Fascinating Facts About Data Centres

So we all know the basics right? Data centres are used by businesses across the globe to store, share and manage their company data as well as ensure the reliability and efficiency of their IT infrastructure. In Laymen’s terms, they can be thought of as the “brain” of the internet. Data centres are a relatively new concept. Although the earliest examples of a data centre can arguably be found back in the 1940’s, the average age of a modern data centre is only 9 years old. Here, we explore some interesting facts about data centres to really get to the bottom of how they are changing the way we store and manage our data.

At least 1/3 of all data will pass through the cloud and this stat is only expected to increase in the coming years given that a massive 90% of the data on the internet has been created since 2016 according to an IBM Marketing Cloud study.

The number of data centres that are owned and operated by cloud service providers and other tech firms now exceeds 10,000 worldwide with over 2,600 packed into 20 top global cities alone. Over 500 of these are hyperscale and there are another 176 in the pipeline to be built!

The exact amount of global energy data centres consume is not known. A lot of sources and studies have suggested that data centres consume only 1% of global electricity. However, The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) argues that this figure could be as high as 3%.

With around 340 sites, London has the largest concentration of data centres in any given city across the world. London is followed closely by California which, with just over 300 locations, has the largest concentration of data centres in the U.S.

The average data centre consumes over 100x the power of a large commercial office building, while a hyperscale data centre uses the electricity equivalent of a small U.S. town!

Data centres are increasingly using in-flight wire speed encryption which keeps data fully protected from the moment it leaves one data centre to the moment it arrives at another.

The largest data centre in the world is situated in Langfang, China and is 6.3 million square feet—to put that in perspective….that’s almost the size of the Pentagon!

As much as 40% of the total operational costs for a data centre come from the energy needed to power and cool the massive amounts of equipment data centres require. You can see why clients are now focussing on going green right! Speaking of which, experts predict that nearly 8% of all new data centres will be powered solely by green energy.

High-Performance Data Centres use liquid cooling technology as opposed to the traditional HVAC systems. Google turned some heads back in 2018 when they put an AI system in charge of the cooling systems of many of their hyperscale data centres which delivered a whopping 40% reduction in energy usage. Just last year, ESS worked on a Facebook data centre in Odense whereby the waste heat was recycled and used to warm around 6,900 houses in the local vicinity. This is achieved by circulating water around the data centre via insulated steel pipes through copper coils inside cooling units. The water picks up low-temperature heat which is then channelled to Fjernvarme Fyn’s heat pump facility. Fjernvarme Fyn then use heat pumps to warm the water further until it is hot enough to be used in homes. In October last year, Facebook announced they would be adding another 30,000 square meters to the campus which will heat even more homes in the local community.

We’re sure that in the coming years, data centres will continue to make huge developments in the technology sector. In fact, Microsoft have already announced their ambitious plans for Project Natick; a fully automated micro-data centre designed to be submerged in the ocean! There has also even been talks of data centres in Space! Now, THAT would be one for the CV!

Some Positives From 2020

What a year! With COVID pretty much taking the limelight from everyone and everything else going on, we thought it was important to highlight some GOOD things that happened in 2020…yes, there were one or two…

After Joe Wicks nearly killed us all at the beginning of the pandemic with his home workout videos, we all faced our fate and resumed to eating what we wanted, when we wanted. The only thing off the menu though was fast food as the lockdown saw all of our favourite restaurants close. The restaurants, however, took pity on us and our heightened cravings. From McDonalds McMuffins to Ikea’s meatballs, the big dogs had us covered and released some of their secret recipes so that we were able to make the real thing at home.

We all rediscovered our love for sitting together at home and binge watching Netflix series and what series connected us better in 2020 than Tiger King? I think it’s safe to say it had everyone hooked from the off. The story got more and more unbelievable as the series went on and left everyone asking “what on earth did I just watch?!”. Conversations started to not solely be about the virus which was a welcome break for us all. It was also ironic timing because by this stage of the COVID-19 lockdown, we had all started to cut our own hair and let’s just say for some, it looked as though they had taken inspiration from Joe Exotic and his now infamous mullet.

Just a week into the lockdown, India experienced a 20 year low in pollution levels. We were met with images from across the world showing the visible changes to the environment and the UN Environment Programme have claimed 2020 to be a super year for nature and biodiversity. We’ve seen dolphins frolicking in places we never normally would and turtles thriving on the beaches.

Another great thing to come out of 2020 was the emphasis on the importance of mental health and wellbeing. It was no longer a taboo to talk about your feelings and companies worldwide really stepped up their game when it came to their approach to the subject.

Something like a pandemic will bring out the best and worst in people. We had the people who, for some reason, thought their milk, pasta and flour consumption would quadruple during lockdown and cleared out the supermarkets but we also had some absolute heroes emerge from the darkness. 99 year old war veteran Tom Moore raised more than £14 million for the NHS after walking 100 laps of his garden, absolutely smashing his £1000 target within days. And the healthcare workers, where do we even start? They will really be the heroes of this crazy year along with the other frontline workers working tirelessly every day to keep us safe, healthy and fed…To you, we say a huge THANK YOU!

Now, the next one is controversial. 2020 meant a lot of us ended up creating makeshift offices at home. I for one had always been jealous of people prior to 2020 that worked from home…well, not anymore. I completely lost any sense of routine, I was eating a diet which very much centred around convenience rather than health (or even taste for that matter), and I deemed it a good day if I had brushed my teeth. However, I have added it to this list because for some, it was a game changer. Many have found they are more productive when working from home with fewer interruptions and it’s helped them create a better work/life balance. Some companies have even cancelled the lease on their offices to adapt to a fully remote work life. As I said, it’s a controversial one as mine and many others personal experience of working from home was the complete opposite and I would rather work in the office kitchen than at home again.

So as we approach the end of 2020, a year we will certainly be happy to see the back of, we wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday. 2020 has hit a lot of companies hard, except maybe the toilet roll manufacturers since it appears bog roll became the new “must have” commodity of the year. 2021 can’t come quick enough and here’s hoping that this time next year we are posting a blog about how the world got back on its feet and how our feet got back in the bars!

Images: Shutterstock

Our European Labour Pool

As the second wave of COVID-19 spreads across Europe, many national governments are adding more and more countries to their “mandatory quarantine” list, more commonly known as countries in the “red zone”. These continuous and last-minute changes are having a drastic effect for our clients on site as it is impossible to plan with any certainty under these conditions. Not only will this potentially delay a mobilisation by up to two weeks but any operatives who are on rotation at the time will then be unable to return as scheduled.

Never has it been so important for us to utilise the large and diverse pool of labour we have available across Europe. Our stapled presence on projects in over 10 countries means we are well networked with operatives in the surrounding countries and are able to source candidates from all over the UK and EU at the drop of a hat.

This is always of benefit when we have a white-collar requirement which stipulates the candidate must speak the native language of the country where the project is located. We understand the importance of being able to find candidates who not only speak the language but understand the culture and the law of the land. This understanding has given us the edge many times over our competitors as instead of just ticking boxes on a client requirement, we are dedicated in finding the right candidate who can exceed in the role.

Another advantage of having resources from multiple locations is that we are able to ensure candidates are mobilised ultra-compliantly with the national qualifications for that country. For example, in Finland, it is mandatory for any operatives performing electrical work to have SFS6002 accreditation as well as First Aid and in Switzerland, many industry specific qualifications have to be approved by SUVA (the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund) which normally means the course has to be performed in Switzerland. Mobilising non nationals to countries with such requirements can not only be costly but can result in severe delays.  Our ability to mobilise on a national basis in most countries means we can submit candidates who are ready to start on site from the off.

As projects are popping up all across Europe, having such a large pool of labour available both nationally and in surrounding countries means we can mobilise quickly and if needed, in volume. Operatives can be ready to start, fully compliant with site rules and regulations within a day or two. For a hyperscale data centre in the Netherlands last year, we had over 500 operatives of various disciplines working on site. Thanks to our extensive experience with mobilising high numbers of operatives from multiple locations, we were sometimes inducting 35 operatives from one week to the next.

If you would like to find out more or have a requirement we can assist with, please get in touch with our Project Manager, Shannon Earl at shannone@eusiteservices.com

Mobilising Safely During The Pandemic

Following the recent government announcements across Europe regarding the heightend restrictions which will stay in place for up to 6 months, we felt it was important to remind our clients on the precautions we take when mobilising operatives on site.

COVID-19 has put a strain on everyone working in the construction industry. From late deliveries of materials, low stock of antibacterial gel to mandatory quarantines, the impact it has had on sites across Europe has been huge.

With that being said, mobilising labour now comes with a new variety of challenges and responsibility.

Pre-deployment checks

Before deploying any manpower to a project, ESS will evaluate the following information for each operative:

  • Where has the operative travelled in the past 2 weeks? Are any of these countries considered to be a high risk?
  • Which mode of transport does the operative intend to take to travel to the project? Is there a lower risk mode of transport?
  • Which route will the operative be taking to travel to the project? Is there a lower risk route?
  • Ask the operative to declare if they have any symptoms? Should the operative be deemed a risk, we will not under any circumstances mobilise them for a project for their own safety and yours.

We are always happy to perform additional checks as requested by our clients.

Ongoing Checks

Even once mobilised, we will check in with our operatives regularly to ensure they remain a low risk to themselves and others:

  • Rotations: Where will the operative be travelling to? Does the operative intend to stay there for the duration of their break? Which mode of transport does the operative intend to take? Which route will the operative be taking? Would any of the answers given by the operative pose a risk?
  • Regular email updates on the virus and guidelines on what to do if the operatives suspect either themselves or a colleague has the virus
  • Regular checks on site by our Site Support team to check on the general health of the guys and if anyone is showing symptoms In the case where we consider an operative to become a risk, we will inform the client immediately with a detailed explanation and follow the client/site protocol.
  • Digital infrared thermometers issued to key personnel so that operatives temperatures can be checked without contact on arrival

Our logistics team keep themselves up to date with any changes to restrictions in the countries where we are operational so we can adapt quickly to any new rules set. For example, we recently heard that it would become mandatory to wear face masks on a site in Switzerland and within 2 days, all of our operatives had ESS face masks delivered to site.

It’s this quick and decisive way of working that is allowing us to keep one step ahead of these tough times.

If you are in need of labour, whether it be temporary to ride this period out or for a longer term, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

One Week At ESS

What an exciting and rewarding week it’s been here at ESS! COVID-19 has affected us all and with site closures, mandatory quarantine measures, air bridge cancellations and project delays, we too have had a quiet few months. However, we can finally feel the tide changing and the construction industry is coming out strong. Here are some highlights of week 36 from the ESS HQ:

A large data centre in Belgium also saw us mobilise a team of electrical testers for a new client this week. With just 3 days notice to source the team and arrange logistics in a VERY over populated area of Belgium, our team worked flat out to ensure we got the job done with minimum fuss.

This week we started a team of 10 electricians on a large data centre in Finland. Current COVID restrictions on entry to Finland are high with only a small number of countries on their “approved list”.  However, thanks to our large database of operatives and sheer resilience of our recruitment team, we were able to source the full team from the limited countries available to us to ensure the client requirement was met on time.

Denmark has also been ramping up again over the last few weeks. This week we started some logistics personnel on a data centre in Frederica and almost as soon as they started, we had another requirement for a team of pipefitters to start Monday next week.

The Netherlands has always felt like a second home to ESS. After a quiet period at the beginning of this year, things have picked up exponentially in the past few weeks. Just last week we mobilised 4 teams for 4 different clients on data centre projects across the country. The busy times followed into this week when on Monday we started a team of 8 mechanical fitters to work on a shipyard in the South of the Netherlands. It’s really great to see the projects here back up and running again.

It’s so exciting to be given the opportunity to work on so many diverse projects across Europe. We have started in multiple new territories this year, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland to name a few. Each new territory comes with its own challenges but the team at ESS have really pulled together this year to ensure every opportunity has materialised. It’s great that clients can rely on us for any territory they are starting in and know that ESS will not only mobilise high quality operatives but also deliver an ultra compliant solution in an unfamiliar country.

For more information on which countries we are now fully compliant in, please contact shannone@eusiteservices.com

Photos: Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock.com

Not Just Your Average Agency

If there is one thing we all know about the fast paced construction of hyperscale data centres, it’s that things can change in an instant. A new area of work has opened up, safety requirements have changed, the program gets condensed but completion dates remain the same… the list of potential challenges a contractor may have to overcome are endless.

From the outside, people may think of Euro Site Services as “just another recruitment agency” which could not be further from the truth. With over 40 years of experience behind us and having established ourselves across Europe, we help our clients in more ways than you would think!

It’s Thursday, work is progressing well, you’re on target for your benchmark, the number of operatives you have out on site is sufficient. Then Friday comes around, you are awarded a new area of work with a tight deadline and need more operatives urgently. We get it!! ESS can mobilise teams, no matter the size, with just a few days notice so you can let us know on Friday and expect the team there suited and booted on Monday morning. Quick right? Don’t be fooled, ESS have a thorough recruitment and screening procedure which involves competency trade tests (both theory and practical) which we can tailor to your specific needs. The same can be said for when the time comes for the demob as we understand this can also change just as rapidly. Our local site support team is always on hand to assist you with this. We can take care of notifying the operatives and letting them know what they need to do before they leave the project.

When starting a project in a new territory, I think it’s safe to say that learning the payroll set up and associated laws and regulations is not only mind-numbingly boring but also not something you want to be spending your time on. ESS has established branches with the help of local tax experts and formed partnerships with ultra-compliant payroll companies across Europe ensuring that all labour is compliant according to local legislation and site requirements. We don’t just limit this assurance to our own labour however, we can also process your own employees on our payroll guaranteeing they will be fully compliant on site and with the tax authorities. Last year on a hyperscale data centre in the Netherlands, we would all too often see contractors arriving to site, ready to start but being turned away because their company didn’t have the relevant tax documents etc. The Compliance Manager for the main contractor on site would then refer them on to us and we would have them on site within the hour. We indemnify all our clients against chain liability with regards to payroll and compliance and offer comprehensive insurances to all employees.

With large deployments, ESS will provide a Project Coordinator, Project Administrator and logistical support team on site, full time, at our cost. We know from previous experience that organised; close support is an essential service that contributes a great deal to the success of a project. Not only will all new starters be personally introduced to you on site, we will also take care of all the associated administration such as booking inductions, timesheets, reporting, rotation planning etc taking the burden away from you and your team. It also means you will have a dedicated point of contact on site for any queries whether that be to do with labour, invoicing, compliance etc. Essentially, we want to make your life as easy as possible for the duration of the project so if there’s anything else we can assist you with whether that be with regards to labour or administration, our team will be all too happy to help.

ESS has a long history of mobilising labour on hyperscale data centre projects across Europe and we have a very experienced Logistics team with an established network of landlords, accommodation agencies and property managers with valuable knowledge of the local property market around current and upcoming projects. At the start of any project, our team will visit the local area to make new contacts and establish what vicinities are most practical for staff (distance from site, transport links, local amenities etc). On previous data centre projects, we have been tasked with devising and delivering accommodation and welfare strategies for main contractors so we fully understand the unique challenges faced with regards to accommodation…we’re just really awesome at overcoming them.

ESS is extremely conscious of our responsibility to help provide and maintain healthy and safe working conditions. We have an excellent safety record and a goal of zero incidents. We promote a safety culture and follow a documented HSE management system. We ensure all the operatives we deploy have the necessary safety certificates and qualifications needed for site and for the work they will be performing. We have built up a great network of training companies for every safety course under the sun and often assist clients with arranging individual or group courses for their own operatives.

For many territories across Europe, we also help our clients with arranging PPE (both plain and company branded), tools and site machinery. If you need something urgently and you’re not overly familiar with the area yet, just reach out to us! We have numerous suppliers across Europe with local branches and we’re all too happy to share them with our clients.

ESS have an extensive supply chain of recruitment partners and sub suppliers across Europe, if a client were to choose ESS as a Master Vendor we could provide a single point of contact for alternative EU labour, managing all recruitment activity from ourselves and all other EU suppliers within our PSL. ESS continuously evaluates the performance of the PSL and sub supplier’s ability to meet agreed KPI’s in quality and compliance. Benefits of this are extensive, it means you will have one set of competitive tariffs for all your staffing and manpower. You will have one point of contact to manage all hired in temporary labour from multiple EU suppliers as well as a consolidated invoice for the labour. Essentially, we will take care of the process, removing the uncertainty sometimes associated with hiring in labour and enabling you to focus on your core business of delivering the project safely, on time and in budget.

We’d love to hear your feedback and whether you have any ideas on how we can further expand the services we offer to our clients. If you would like to hear some more about any of the services we provide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Project Manager, Shannon Earl