Category Archives: London

Haberdasher Aske ́s Federation: A Venerable Foundation Relies on Parallels Mac Management

“Thanks to Parallels Mac Management, the IT teams can always monitor our entire Mac hardware and software inventory, as well as the current user logins. We can attach existing and new Mac devices to the network using a fully automated procedure.” Ian North, System Administrator at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation In this blog post, we will explain […]

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Parallels will be at Mac Admin & Developer Conference in London

Parallels to sponsor Mac Admin & Developer Conference (MacADUK 2017) in London this year and we look forward to seeing you at our stand. Our Senior System Engineer, Robert Rengstl will also give a speech on 8th of February: When?  7th – 8th February 2017 Where? The O2 London, United Kingdom – Foyer Speaker Slot? Senior System Engineer Robert Rengstl – Day 2, […]

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Parallels with Douglas Stewart EDU at Bett Show in London

Together with our partner Douglas Stewart EDU Ltd we will be at Bett Show in London this year: When? 25 -28 January 2017 Where? ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL, United Kingdom Stand? B425 What is Bett Show? The Bett Show (British Educational Training and Technology Show) is an annual trade […]

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Parallels at HP Enterprise‘s Discover 2016 London

Since their inception last year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has leveraged the immense expertise of HP to immediately become one of the leaders in business-oriented hardware solutions. As part of their mission to the market, HP Enterprise organizes several conferences around the world to shed light on available solutions. The biggest event by far is the […]

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London’s Virtus Data Centres doubles annual revenues

VirtusLondon based Virtus Data Centres has announced it has doubled its revenues over the last twelve months, though the team haven’t released any specific numbers to substantiate the claim.

The company has recorded a healthy number of new customers throughout the period, including T-Systems which runs its private and public cloud operations from the London2 location in Hayes, as part of a five year transition project to close its private data centre in Feltham. Virtus has 40MW of capacity across its three locations, having acquired the London4 site in Slough during the latter stages of 2015 from Infinity SDC.

“Our aim is to combine cutting edge design and technology with transparent and agile commercials to offer the very best tailored solutions and service for our customers,” said Neil Cresswell, CEO at Virtus Data Centres. “This unique approach to data centre service delivery is the reason we see continued growth across all business lines with the likes of T-Systems and Symantec collocating in our leading facilities. It’s been a fantastic start to the year, and one which we seek to improve upon.”

The company, which has been in operation since 2008, offers traditional retail and wholesale colocation models, through three locations in the London area (Enfield, Hays and Slough) will a fourth set to open early next year. Virtus also boasts to have the highest total colocation MW sales of any operator in the London market throughout 2015, according to findings from CBRE, and is only one of four data centre operators in London to have been awarded Tier III design certification from the Uptime Institute. Virtus has also been expanding its credentials and capabilities in recent months, achieving supplier status with the Crown Commercial Service as part of the G-Cloud 7 initiative.

Recent expansion initiatives have been driven through investment from ST Telemedia, which was announced last year in June. As part of the agreement, ST Telemedia will make what it claims is a ‘significant investment’ into Virtus committing to a 49% via a Joint Venture with Virtus’ existing owner Brockton Capital. ST Telemedia has a healthy track record when it comes to data centre companies having launched i-STT in 2000 which was later merged into Equinix (it has now divested), as well as investments in Level 3 Communications and GDS Services.

Rain From the Cloud (and Some Sun At the End)

Guest Post by Roger Keenan, Managing Director of City Lifeline

Cloud computing is changing the way in which computing and data communications operate.  The availability of high speed low cost communications through fibre optics means that remote hosting of computing and IT applications is economically possible, and there are clear cost benefits for both users and providers.  The migration from in-house computing to cloud has not been as fast as expected.  Putting aside the usual over-optimism of marketing spread-sheets, what holds users back when they think about cloud adoption?

Firstly, there is much conflicting hype in the market and many variations on which type of cloud – public, private, bare-metal, hybrid and so on, and the user must first find his way through all the hype.  Then he must decide which applications to migrate.  In general, applications with low communications requirements, important but not mission critical security needs and a low impact on the business if they go wrong are a good place to start.

Security is always the first concern of users when asked about the cloud.  When an organisation has its intellectual property and critical business operations in-house, its management (rightly or wrongly) feels secure.  When those are outside and controlled by someone else who may not share the management’s values of urgency about problems or confidentiality, management feels insecure.  When critical and confidential data is sent out over an internet connection, no matter how secure the supplier claims it is, management feels insecure.  There are battles going on in parliament at the moment about how much access the British security services should have to user data via “deep packet inspection” – in other words spying on users’ confidential information when it has left the user’s premises, even when it is encrypted.  The “Independent” newspaper in London recently reported that “US law allows American agencies to access all private information stored by foreign nationals with firms falling within Washington’s jurisdiction if the information concerns US interests.”  Consider that for a moment and note that it says nothing about the information being on US territory.  Any IT manager considering cloud would be well advised not to put forward proposals to management that involve critical confidential information moving to the cloud.  There are easier migrations to do.

Regulatory and compliance issues are barriers to adoption.  For example, EU laws require that certain confidential information supplied by users be retained inside EU borders.  If it is held on-site, there is no problem.  If it is in a cloud store, then a whole set of compliance issues arise and need to be addressed, consuming time and resources and creating risk.

Geographic considerations are important.  For a low bandwidth application with few transactions per user in any given period and limited user sensitivity to delays, it may be possible to host the application on a different continent to the user.  A CRM application such is an example where that works.  For many other applications, the delays introduced and the differences in presentation to the user of identical transactions may not be acceptable.  As a rule of thumb, applications for a user in London should be hosted in London and applications for a user in Glasgow should be hosted in Glasgow.

When applications are hosted on-site, management feels in control.  If management gives its critical data to someone else, it risks lock-in – in other words, it becomes difficult for management to get its data back again or to move its outsourced operations to another supplier.  Different providers have different ethics and processes around this, but there are some real horror stories around and management’s fears are not always misplaced.

Where cloud implementations involve standard general IT functions provided by standard software optimised for cloud, the user can have confidence it will all work.  Where there is special purpose software integrated with them, life can get very complicated.  Things designed for in-house are not usually designed to be exported.  There will be unexpected undocumented dependencies and the complexity of the integration grows geometrically as the number of dependencies grows.  Cloud has different interfaces and controls and ways of doing things and the organisation may not have those skills internally.

Like the introduction of any new way of working, cloud throws up unexpected problems, challenges the old order and challenges the people whose jobs are secure in the old order.  The long term benefits of cloud are sufficiently high for both users and providers that, over time, most of the objections and barriers will be overcome.

The way in which organizations employ people has changed over the last thirty years or so from a model where everyone was a full-time employee to one where the business is run by a small, tight team pulling in subcontractors and self-employed specialists only when needed.  Perhaps the future model for IT is the same – a small core of IT in-house handing the mission critical operations, guarding corporate intellectual property and critical data and drawing in less critical or specialised services remotely from cloud providers when needed.

Roger Keenan, Managing Director of City Lifeline

Roger Keenan joined City Lifeline, a leading carrier neutral colocation data centre in Central London, as managing director in 2005.  His main responsibilities are to oversee the management of all business and marketing strategies and profitability. Prior to City Lifeline, Roger was general manager at Trafficmaster plc, where he fully established Trafficmaster’s German operations and successfully managed the $30 million acquisition of Teletrac Inc in California, becoming its first post-acquisition Chief Executive.

Euro Data Centre Viewpoint: 2013 to be a Year of Growth, Uncertainty

Guest Post by Roger Keenan, Managing Director of City Lifeline

The data centre industry forms part of the global economy and, as such; it is subject to the same macro-economic trends as every other industry.  For 2013, those continue to be dominated by uncertainty and fear.  The gorilla of course, is the on-going problem in the Eurozone.  This time last year, many commentators predicted that this would come to a head in 2012, with either the central monetary authorities accepting fiscal union and central control across the Eurozone, or the Eurozone starting to break up.  In the event, neither happened and the situation remains unresolved and will continue to drive uncertainty in 2013.

One major uncertainty has been resolved with a convincing win for Barack Obama in the US presidential elections and the removal of the possibility of a lurch to the right.  However, the “fiscal cliff” remains and will cause a massive contraction in the US economy, and hence the world economy, if it goes ahead at the end of 2012.  For the UK, predictions are that interest rates will stay low for the next two to three years as the banks continue to rebuild their strengths at the expense of everyone else.

So the macro-economic environment within which the data centre industry operates is likely to stay uncertain and fearful in 2013.  Companies have massive cash reserves, but they choose to continue to build them rather than invest.  Decision making cycles in 2013 are likely to be as they are now – slow.  Companies will not invest in new project unless they have the confidence that their customers will buy, and their customers think the same and so the cycle goes round.

At a more specific industry level, the on-going trend towards commoditisation of infrastructure is likely to continue.  Whereas data centres five years ago were specific and unique, new entrants to the market have made data centre capacity more available than it was and driven up technical standards.  Older facilities have upgraded to match new builds, which ultimately benefits the industry and its customers.  The new builds and rebuilds are of varying quality and veracity, with some being excellent, however, others are claiming tier levels and other standards which are simply not true or claiming to be in central London whilst actually being somewhere else – perhaps following the example of London Southend Airport?  Even in a more commoditised market, quality, connectivity, accessibility and service still stand out and well-run established data centres will always be first choice for informed customers.

The next part of the consolidation process is probably networks; new entrants are coming into a market where prices continue to fall at a dizzying rate.  There is no end of small new entrants to the marketplace, some of which will succeed and some of which will fall by the wayside.  At the larger end, consolidation continues.  In City Lifeline’s central London data centre alone, Abovenet has become Zayo (and consequently moved from the very top of everyone’s list to the very bottom, possibly not causing joy in Abovenet’s marketing department), Cable and Wireless/Thus has become part of Vodafone, PacketExchange has become part of GT-T and Global Crossing has become part of Level 3.

Data Centre Infrastucture Management (DCIM) systems may establish themselves more in 2013.  DCIM was predicted to have a massive impact, with Gartner stating publicly in 2010 that penetration would be 60% by 2014.  In the event, penetration at the end of 2012 is only 1%.  DCIM is hard and laborious to implement but it offers serious benefits to larger organisations in terms of the management of their physical assets, power, space and cooling and can quickly repay its investment in answering the basic question “how many servers can I have for the capacity I am paying for”.  DCIM deserves more success than it has had to date, and perhaps 2013 will be the year it takes off.

Power densities will continue to increase in 2013.  Five years ago, many racks drew 2KW (8 amps).  Now 8 amp racks are becoming unusual and 16 amps racks are the norm.  Five years ago 7KW racks (about 30 amps) were unusual, now they are common, and 20KW racks are starting to appear.  The trend to higher and higher performance and power densities will continue.

The data centre industry continues to grow, driven by the move to Cloud.  By the end of 2013, an estimated 23% of all data centre space will be in commercial colocation operations.  The leading market segments are likely to be Telecoms and Media, with 24%, Healthcare and Education, with 21% and Public Sector, also with 21%.  In-house data centre capacity is likely to continue to decrease and the commercial colocation market to grow, even in spite of the uncertain macro-economic environment.

Roger Keenan, Managing Director of City Lifeline

 Roger Keenan joined City Lifeline, a leading carrier neutral colocation data centre in Central London, as managing director in 2005.  His main responsibilities are to oversee the management of all business and marketing strategies and profitability. Prior to City Lifeline, Roger was general manager at Trafficmaster plc, where he fully established Trafficmaster’s German operations and successfully managed the $30 million acquisition of Teletrac Inc in California, becoming its first post-acquisition Chief Executive.

Six Degrees Group Acquires Datahop

Six Degrees Group has expanded its UK network capabilities with the acquisition of Datahop, an international datacentre interconnection business with 200 customers. Datahop’s network consists of a resilient, high-speed fibre ring that connects 21 points of presence (PoPs) in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.

Six Degrees Group’s expanded network will bring most of London’s datacentres on-net, including Telecity, Telehouse, Interxion, Level 3 and Iomart facilities. Datahop’s network brings 16 new PoPs onto the Six Degrees core network as well as extending the Group’s footprint into four Western European countries. Six Degrees Group run-rate revenues are now approximately £44m with EBITDA of over £11m.

Following the acquisition, Six Degrees Group will be investing in its network by undertaking a multi-million pound upgrade before launching a next generation VPLS-enabled datacentre interconnect fabric that will enable multi-gigabit port capability for distribution of its converged voice, data and hosting portfolio. The Group’s network now connects European and American financial centres with an unrivalled footprint in London carrier-neutral datacentres, and uniquely positions it with the ability to deliver high-speed network interconnects in London.

Daniel Lowe, managing director of Six Degrees Group’s managed data division, commented: “This announcement marks a significant step-change in the scale, reach and capability of the Six Degrees Group network. Datahop’s technologies will allow us to deliver higher bandwidth, and a broader range of services to our customers. Our ability to link people, places and clouds has been boosted significantly with the flexible service creation capability we now offer to the market.”

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