“As good as it gets” as Spark makes digital future bet

“As good as it gets” as Spark makes digital future bet

Designed to protect data not people, Spark Digital continues its investment programme in cloud services with the opening of its new $60m Takanini Data Centre.

Tim Miles, CEO, Spark Digital

Tim Miles, CEO, Spark Digital

Designed to protect data not people, Spark Digital continues its investment programme in cloud services with the opening of its new $60m Takanini Data Centre.

Billed as one of the country’s “safest and most secure” buildings, the telco, formerly known as Gen-i, offered the first glimpse of the company’s digital future during an official opening in Auckland yesterday.

“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, CEO, Spark Digital.

“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, a building that 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, adds Miles.

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,” Miles adds.

“That means our customers can expect zero to a maximum 1.6 hours unplanned down time in a year when utilising our 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.”

Miles says the state-of-the art 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 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,” he adds.

“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.

Read more: Spark NZ announces half-yearly dividend amidst year-on-year revenue dip

“Investing in similar capability and security of access is a considerable cost for most businesses.”

Miles stressed 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.

“The data hall is actually a separate pod,” he explains, “it is designed to continue at full capability even if the front part of the building, the admin and security centres, collapsed completely - and its modular construction means it can be quickly replicated. There is room for two more pods on the site.”

One rack can house the equivalent of 1600 standard desktop machines meaning the data halls can contain the equivalent of 640,000 servers – or enough processing power for every New Zealander to host 10 personal websites, ensuring greater 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,” Miles adds, “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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