Meeting global demand - How data centers in London are leading the way

Our need for data is growing at an exponential rate – that trend is fuelling the unprecedented rise in the data center market. SMEs to multi-nationals are rethinking their IT infrastructure strategies to cope with the cloud platforms that host their IT applications and the internet of things. London is the capital of this digital frontier.

Data Center London

What's driving growth in London?

As one of the four financial capitals in Europe (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris), London is seen as one of the tier 1 co-location data centre markets in Europe. As we increase our reliance on digital applications, we boost our need to connect, transfer, store and protect that data. While the financial markets have traditionally been at the heart of this development, it’s becoming more relevant for general business, and significant investment is being funnelled to fund further development.

Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the London market shows no signs of slowing down. Access to the relevant skills to build and operate data centers are abundant. At the same time, these specialist resources are being drawn to the growing number of large scale DC developments across the other tier 1 DC markets and the Nordics. As an IT and media sector magnet, investment in low-latency networks and infrastructure across London has never been greater. It’s safe to say, the sector is booming.

Which DC is right for you?

The type of data center you choose depends on your business needs.

Traditionally, organisations have owned and operated their own data centres, a secure way to manage their business-critical applications and data. It also allowed them to ‘stay close’, both figuratively and physically, to their IT infrastructure. This is known as an enterprise data centre.

Co-location data centers (so called co-los) operate like hotel rooms, where companies rent IT ‘space’ based on individual client needs. London is the largest co-lo data center market in Europe due to unrivalled connectivity, in large part due to subsea cables to North America and continental Europe, making London a central hub for the flow of data between continents.

Many of these co-los have been developed on the outskirts of London, in old industrial or brownfield sites, such as East India Docks (Docklands), the trading estates of Slough, on the edge of the M25 and down the M4 corridor, all of which have favourable property prices, power availability and planning process/consent. They also maintain the connectivity and latency required for organisations using real-time data applications, such as online trading platforms.

The massive growth in cloud services (up 17.5% in 2019, representing $214.3 billion, according to Gartner) coupled with social media platforms has created the need for hyper-scale data centers. These massive operations handle huge volumes of data traffic. Operators are not as concerned about connectivity and latency – for them, it’s all about the cost and availability of power and land. A hyper-scale DC can range in size from 40-750 megawatts required power to a site (a 40MW facility utilises the equivalent power to 2,600 domestic 3-bedroom homes). Countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway are particularly attractive thanks to government incentives for such investment, along with long energy costs and amenable weather conditions.

Making cities liveable

As one industry dies away, a new one takes its place. Regenerating fallow industrial land and former manufacturing sites to house data centers has a positive impact on the local economy. The properties are cleared of toxins, redeveloped, landscaped and greatly improved. They also provide a wide range of employment opportunities including construction, operation, maintenance, security and cleaning.

In this super competitive sector, time to market is critical. That’s where Arcadis comes in. From identifying the best location, costing the project, obtaining relevant planning permissions, to designing, building and fitting out the operation – we help clients to make the best decisions in real time.



Making the connection – join us at EXPO REAL to find out more about creating liveable cities. We’ll be in the Innovation Hall, A3.125


Anders Eklund

Sector Lead - Data Centers +44 7917 073088 Ask me a question