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New Aberdeen data centre - Brightsolid

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cloud computing company Brightsolid has opened a public data centre in Aberdeen on October 1, with a £5m investment.

Oil and gas companies can use the data centre to avoid the trouble of running their own. They can install their own computer servers on Brightsolid's premises, or use Brightsolid's computers.

Brightsolid was previously operating data centres in Dundee and Edinburgh, mainly serving the banking industry and government.

'Oil and gas people were saying, we like what you've done, but would like it more if it was in Aberdeen,' says Alan Matthew, business development manager with Brightsolid.

'I've never had customers as interested in any product as 35 years as a salesperson,' he says.

Services like this could work for geoscience software, where you could install powerful computers in the Brightsolid centre (perhaps with GPUs rather than CPUs), and your geoscientists would just receive a video image to their PCs (as described in the previous issue of Digital Energy Journal).

Most oil and gas companies are on a gradual path towards cloud adoption, he says. Companies don't generally want to make a sudden move to stop running their own infrastructure.

However companies are less scared of the cloud than they have been in the past, he said, partly due to their experience working with cloud software in their personal lives. 'People know iTunes doesn't live on your phone, he said.

BrightSolid works with Microsoft, so it can do 'hybrid cloud' - where a company might put some of its computing on Microsoft's 'Azure' public network, and some of it on Brightsolid.

Companies do not usually outsource desktop computing software, he says. Some companies use the service just for data backup.

Brightsolid also provides services to a number of satellite communications companies, including Rignet and Caprock, storing data which is sent from offshore by satellite.

Brightsolid is also offering services to software companies who want to provide hosted software ('software as a service'). By providing cloud hosted software, it is possible to set up a software company with a much lower number of personnel, such as just 10 people in the company.

The data centre

The Aberdeen data centre is located at the premises of newspaper Aberdeen Press and Journal, because both Brightsolid and the Aberdeen Press and Journal have the same parent company, DC Thomson. DC Thomson is the owner of a number of big websites including Friends Reunited, and originally built data centres for its own websites.

The site is 2200m2. It has 217 high density racks with capacity of 25kW per rack. The power usage efficiency is similar to the highest performing of Google or Amazon data centres, Brightsolid says.

For physical security, the data centre is stored in a 'building within a building'.

The data centre is 'Tier 3', which means it confirms to current best practise in how data centres should be run, Mr Matthew says. It is open 24 hours a day, audited for security, has a back-up power supply and a mix of communications routes. Data is backed up to the Dundee data centre, via a 10GB fibre optic link.

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