Secure data centre opens in Sydney’s IT precinct

An e-warehouse, promising secure data storage, was opened yesterday in inner Sydney’s well “connected” suburb of Ultimo.

Global Switch SARL, a worldwide operator of carrier neutral, technical real estate, set up the A$160 million (US$86 million) center, designed to provide secure, resilient, connectivity-rich, data center environments to the business community, in the converted, former Government Printing Office.

As well as six layers of security on entry, it has duplicate systems for air-conditioning, power and cabling, and according to Rob Kelly, managing director, Asia-Pacific, Global Switch, can offer 99.99 percent availability.

Kelly said the location — in what is fast becoming an inner city IT precinct — offered better bandwidth availability than outer Sydney locations.

“The facility couldn’t have been further out of the city as this site is probably the most connected part of Sydney, with significant power capacity,” Kelly said.

The facility has five underground cable entry points, a three-stage fire detection system and centrally stored gas fire suppression system. The center will house and manage computer and fiber optic cable equipment.

The Global Switch Data Centre has a floor-loading capacity in technical areas about four times the structural capacity of a normal office building, a company statement said.

Andrew Vander Meersch, CEO of London-based Global Switch, which was set up in 1998, said the new facility offers a complete range of service space, including state-of-the-art disaster recovery facilities.

“Critically, we also offer the best-connected environment in Australia. Our carrier-neutrality allows multiple telecommunications providers to operate from our facility allowing Global Switch to offer customers secure, resilient, multiple connectivity options to Australia and beyond,” he said. Global Switch has eight Internet data centers in Europe and Asia.

Vander Meersch said the center represents a critical part of the secure IT&T infrastructure Australia needs in order to sustain its reputation and competitiveness as a global business hub.

“The market has evolved since we began this project in 2000, announced during the Sydney Olympics. It is now a more conservative market, but we are seeing demand growing, particularly among companies, Government and Web hosting companies, with business continuity planning being a key driver since the events of September 11 2001.

Kelly said the first customer of Global Switch Sydney, is GlobalHost, a managed collocation, and shared and dedicated Web hosting provider.

Due to signed confidentiality agreements, Kelly was unable to give details of the other three current customers of the Sydney facility or other prospective customers but said large companies have shown a lot of interest.

“We have four clients now, almost six. Biotechnology companies have shown interest, as have two other large organizations that we are currently in talks with.

“We have also been in talks with the government, and the police which would require 9,000 square meters of space,” Kelly said.

He said the facility may take five years to reach full capacity, for which Global Switch has planned in its business model.