10th June 2015 by GCI

The Rise of the Data Centre

Data security and availability is a hot topic in the world of IT today, becoming a crucial way for leading companies to out perform their peers, create new growth opportunities and leverage data driven strategies to innovate, compete and capture value.


Although these advancements can be driven by numerous departments within a business, success depends on the real time and high frequency nature of data. Not only must data be judicious and accurate, but accessible and dependable in order to support modern business objectives both technically and financially.

Though the criteria to achieve the above seems endless, enterprises need to look no further than the data centre as a critical approach to enhance and develop their capabilities. Estimated to date back as far as the 1960s, the first datacentre can be traced back to the initial development of computers for commercial use, with the first appearing in New York for the use of IBM and American Airlines.

Today, data centres are at the heart of modern software and virtualisation technology, allowing businesses to host applications externally for reduced facility costs and expenditure, simplified administration, to exploit specialist knowledge and keep data highly secure. At present there are a staggering 7.5 million datacentres globally with a peak of 8.6 million expected by 2017. But why are they so important?

Where space and maintenance is concerned, data centres have enormously improved the usability of data as a whole, allowing businesses to explore vast capabilities and do more with less. However most importantly, the advancement of technology is positioned to play an important role in the way data centres are conceived, configured and utilised.

The GCI Smartbunker

When the world of data centres is mentioned, it is easy to imagine a confined space full of endless humming servers and flashing lights. Whilst this is true, GCIs data centres offer much more than this in the form of its unusual Ex-Nato Smartbunker, a facility that provides high class military grade physical security through its bullet proof and physically impenetrable capabilities.

Acquired by GCI in 2011, the Smartbunker was originally built as a protective structure for key officials and Royalty to escape when the Cold War Began. A military grade facility with 3m thick reinforced walls, GCI knew it was the perfect location to build our largest ISO certified, best-of-breed datacentre and with great investment it has become just that.

Whilst it still contains an untouched radio studio, canteen, dormitories and even the original decontamination showers to preserve its historical qualities, the underground facility has had hundreds of thousands of pounds invested into making it a resilient Disaster Recovery centre.

What’s inside? The Cloud Underground.

Deep below ground GCIs cloud infrastructure is ticking away supporting businesses nationwide:



Why choose us to host your applications?

Concealed from the outside, the bullet-proof exterior is reinforced with top of the range electronic and virtual security measures to ensure the contents remain safe from even the most sophisticated of hackers, intruders and virtual attacks.


GCIs data centres comply with industry standards as defined by TIA-942, designed to ensure compliance in private and public domain data centre requirements for applications and procedures. GCI data centres are ranked as Tier 3 meaning they have a robust availability of 99.982% with industry leading SLAs.

Green credentials:

Wind generated energy: As part of GCIs ISO14001 certification GCIs low energy, high performance data centre produces zero carbon emissions. With the help of Ecotricity, GCI produce the majority of their power supply from wind generated energy and as a result managed servers consume up to 60% less power, enabling clients to increase their corporate accountability as greener consumers.

Fire suppression:

GCI provide fire suppression throughout all three of their data centre suites including the Smartbunker. These systems are based on Inert gas suppression, an industry recognised method that enables a clean method of reducing oxygen levels within the datacentre. The gases are environmentally friendly and can simply be dispersed into the atmosphere with no harmful or detrimental results.

Fully Supported and Monitored:

Monitoring: The Datacentres are monitored 24x7x365 ensuring a fully managed solution with experts on call to provide level 2 and level 3 support when required.

Environmental systems:

GCI provides managed and monitored air conditioning facilities throughout all data centre suites. These comply with ASHRAE standards with are concerned with the correct refrigeration processes and the design and maintenance of indoor environments. Environmental monitors are proposed which monitor temperature, humidity and water detection in order to highlight potential risks and support operational load.

Security and access:

The Smartbunker is fully CCTV monitored by intelligent cameras, responding to schedule, motion detection, or operator direction as needed. Entrances are fully covered by surveillance with a digital storage system recording all activity for review. With electronic access only and with prior permission, security is enhanced by on site teams who control all access. Door access control systems log activity and use a two-factor authentication process using personal access cards and individual PINs.

With data at the heart of many organisations today, businesses need to choose wisely and consider their options. To learn more about the Cloud Underground call us today on 0844 443 4433

And pair your data centre package with GCIs new cutting edge, feature rich state-of-the-art Juniper core network delivering connectivity speeds of up to 10GB for a complete communications package.