Rackspace launches green UK data centre to support European expansion and growth

New facility custom-designed with strong eco-credentials to help meet growing demand for managed cloud services in UK and Europe

London – April 23, 2015 – Rackspace (NYSE: RAX), the #1 managed cloud company, along with data centre and colocation provider Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: DLR) has today unveiled its new UK data centre. Based in Crawley, West Sussex, the 130,000 square foot data centre will help to meet the growing demand for managed cloud services in the UK and Europe. The facility has been designed with the specific needs of Rackspace customers in mind, encompassing top speeds, availability and energy efficiency.

Delivering outstanding Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.15[1] compared to the average data centre today rating of 1.7[2], and with a design BREEAM assessment certification of ‘Excellent’, it is one of the UK’s greenest data centres. The new operation is the first data centre in the UK to make use of innovative 'indirect outside air' cooling technology on this scale, without mechanical cooling, which means the overhead energy required to operate the data centre has been cut by almost 80 per cent[3]. The use of these cutting-edge technologies in the facility is testament to both Digital Realty's and Rackspace's full support of the latest ASHRAE guidelines[4], which demonstrates an ability to follow stringent energy and sustainability targets while ensuring high levels of server performance.

The Crawley data centre was designed to maximise compatibility to and compliance with Open Compute Project standards. By using Open Compute Project designs, Rackspace has been able to realise outstanding scalability and energy efficiency opportunities in the hardware it deploys. The data centre delivers less weight, less waste and less wattage than traditional server designs

Mark Roenigk, COO, Rackspace commented: “This data centre is the epitome of intelligent 21st century infrastructure engineering.  We partnered with industry leaders to design and deliver one of the most environmentally friendly and reliable data centres in Europe. Our customers depend on us for their mission critical managed IT services and this new data centre furthers our commitment to delivering world class services to those customers”.

 “This is our tenth global data centre and this expansion will enable us to grow with our customers for many years to come.  We are proud of the energy efficiency achieved with the innovative design that will become the starting point for boosting the adoption of more efficient technologies in the UK and Europe.  We are honoured to operate and provide a positive impact in the Crawley community.”    

The new data centre, which is the size of two football fields and holds up to 50,000 physical servers, occupies a 15 acre site. The initial build was constructed in 15 months and took approximately 500,000 man hours. It provides 6MW capacity across two data suites, and will eventually comprise of four data suites with a total 12MW capacity. The site allows for further expansion up to 30MW, and a staggered build approach maximises year-on-year advances in technology and efficiency gains.

Physical security is provided at multiple layers starting with the physical perimeter fence through to personnel badge readers. There are also biometrics scanners that read the fingerprint of an individual before they are given access to sensitive areas.

A.William Stein, Digital Realty’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “With the addition of the Crawley site, the Digital Realty – Rackspace collaboration, which began in 2011, has been extended to a third continent. We are delighted to see Rackspace establish its new managed cloud data centre with such outstanding eco-credentials; in addition, Rackspace’s recent expansion in Sydney is accessing clean energy through Digital Realty’s Clean StartSM program. With competition growing for facility services across the UK and Europe, we are pleased Rackspace choose Digital Realty as a provider to collaborate on this bespoke facility in Crawley.”

Customers around the world will have access to the Crawley data centre, although Rackspace anticipates that the majority of requests will come from customers in the UK and Europe.

For more information:

  • An infographic with some of the statistics related to the data centre is available here
  • A short time-lapse video of the build can be seen here
  • The technology and design innovation in the Crawley data centre can be seen in this gallery of pictures



Notes to the editor:

Green Credentials

The Crawley data centre has adopted a blend of the ASHRAE Recommended and Allowable Ranges promoting best performance without impacting server availability. This has enabled Rackspace to remove more typical refrigerant cooling systems. In addition, the air flow from the roof mounted units is delivered to the white space with as little pressure drop as possible in a way that enables high density racks to be deployed. The management of fan energy along with removal of compressors plays a key role in reducing the amount of energy necessary to cool the servers and therefore the PUE rating for the facility.

Rackspace is using an indirect cooling solution that necessitates much lower water consumption than other systems in its class and significantly less water than a traditional cooling tower. The use of rain water from the roof rainwater harvesting system minimises use of mains water. Rackspace and Digital Realty have achieved an annualised average PUE of 1.15 for the facility, significantly reducing the amount of energy consumed.

The construction centres around a modular approach with the key items of plant including cooling solution, generators, UPS and switchgear as well as transformers constructed off-site and craned into position thereby reducing the time to deploy, improving the standards through factory based quality control and providing a scalable solution. These items of plant are located on the roof, reducing the footprint and therefore the environmental impact of the facility by reducing the amount of ancillary space required to support the data halls.


The Crawley site is connected to the existing Rackspace London metro fibre ring. This links its Slough facility to the main connectivity exchanges in London. The Crawley site is within a few miles of the main European long haul route therefore Rackspace has extended its London metro fibre ring using dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) technology. This enables Rackspace to quickly and easily increase bandwidth capabilities between sites as we add additional provider connectivity and in response to ever increasing customer demand.

[1] This is an annualised average PUE for the facility

[2] Based on the survey conducted by a third party, Uptime Institute, LLC: http://journal.uptimeinstitute.com/2014-data-center-industry-survey/

[3] Based on a sector norm of a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.7

[4] ASHRAE TC9.9 2011