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Spark opens digital future with huge investment in cloud services

31 Oct 2014

Spark Digital opened the $60 million Takanini Data Centre yesterday as the company continues its investment programme in cloud services.

 “At Spark Digital we believe the future for New Zealand business is digital and we are bringing about that future by investing in infrastructure and expertise,” says Tim Miles, Spark Digital CEO.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a start-up business, an SME beavering away in the engine room of the New Zealand economy or a major government or private enterprise our range of Spark Cloud Services can provide the spark that powers your data engine and digital future.”

Prime Minister John Key opened the hi-tech building, which features security controlled biometric access, a bullet-proofed and fire-proofed security centre and the data centre building mounted on rubberised bearings to provide earthquake proofing.

Multiple electricity sources back-up the electricity supply to the data halls while both the electricity and cooling systems are demand linked for efficiency and sustainability. The building’s foundations stretch 19 metres down to bedrock while its position on top of soft peat protects the hall from vibration – an important feature for data storage. It’s positioned away from flight paths but close to road transport and data fibre links and is in an area rated as a low risk from tsunami.

“This is as good as it can get in New Zealand with its Tier 3 international rating,” says Miles. He says Spark customers can expect zero to a maximum 1.6 hours unplanned down time in a year when utilising Spark services.

“The next level of international rating is military grade and can’t be built here because we don’t have competing national electricity networks,” he says.

The data centre is the flagship project in an ongoing $200 million investment by Spark Digital in its Spark Cloud Services. The investment includes the acquisition of leading cloud service providers Revera and Appserv, the building of a Christchurch data centre to support the rebuild, an upgrade to the existing Dunedin data centre and the soon-to-be completed construction of a third data centre in Wellington.

“We’ve been managing data centres for 25 years and with 15 centres across the country, linked by our high-speed, high grade Optical Transmission Network, we have the flexibility necessary to provide services to any New Zealand business,” says Miles.

“The two key services we are providing are co-location where we provide high quality, high availability data centres and infrastructure management for customer owned servers and storage equipment, and cloud services such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

“That’s where we provide the computing power on a variable basis to meet demands and the customer only pays for what they need. This is a service that we can quickly scale up or down to meet the rapid growth patterns that successful digital businesses often achieve. Investing in similar capability and security of access is a considerable cost for most businesses.”

Miles stresses the scalability and flexibility available from the Takanini Data centre with four 100 rack data halls in the current building and the capacity to increase that to 1200 racks to meet future expected demand.

He says the data hall, which is a separate pod, is designed to continue at full capability even if the front part of the building, the admin and security centres, collapsed completely. Its modular construction means it can be quickly replicated, and there is room for two more pods on the site.

“One rack can house the equivalent of 1600 standard desktop machines so the data halls can contain the equivalent of 640,000 servers – or enough processing power for every New Zealander to host 10 personal websites - meaning there is plenty of flexibility to meet the needs of small businesses as well as the major enterprise end of town.

“When you add in our $150 million investment in spectrum to enable mobility, our investments in submarine cables that enable our international access, our partnership across the Tasman with Telstra and our establishment of Qrious with its New Zealand leading data analytics engine, Spark has a range and flexibility of cloud services that is unmatched in New Zealand.”

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