Repurposing Old Buildings for New Networking Capabilities
The arrival of a data cabling and network installation crew to an old building can only mean one thing: the building is being repurposed as part of a strategy of developing new networking capabilities for its owner. Such is the case with a former television station once used to house and produce programmes such as The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.
The Kent studio, now owned by Custodian Data Centres, was originally built more than 30 years ago using technology that was state-of-the-art at the time. However, that technology is rather old and antiquated compared to the fibre optic cabling and advanced servers now being installed in the space. What was once a cutting-edge space for television is being transformed into cutting-edge space for modern networking. It is a model of re-purposing an old building for new networking capabilities.
Not every company interested in building data centres is also interested in repurposing old buildings. In some cases, starting with something completely new is the best way to go. Nevertheless, in other cases, old buildings have built-in infrastructure that can make the switch over easier and more cost-effective. In the case of Custodian's data centre in Kent, the building already houses the power system necessary to support the new data operations.
The fact that the building is a former television studio also provides a lot of the infrastructure necessary for fibre optic cable installation throughout. In other words, the building was originally designed to accommodate mile after mile of wiring to support the studio's operations. That wiring can simply be replaced with the new data cabling being run by Custodian.
Another benefit of repurposed buildings is that when you find the right one, the physical layout can already be perfect for a data centre facility. The Kent TV studio is a perfect example of this. Throughout the structure, there are multiple studios with wide-open spaces once used to create the popular television programmes. Those wide-open spaces are perfect for data floors that will house dozens of servers. The fact that each of the studios is isolated further allows the company to keep the various data floors separate from one another.
The former television studio has one more feature that makes it ideal as a data centre: a double skinned, building-within-a-building construction design. The facility consists of a large main building housing smaller, independent structures with their own walls, ceilings, and floors. This adds an extra layer of security against physical breaches. Custodian expects this to be a big draw for clients who need to be extra cautious about physical security.
Although re-purposing old buildings for new networking purposes is not always possible, it is something we ought to think about doing as often as we can. Fitting old buildings with new communications cabling and server hardware is a way for us to preserve small pieces of the past and keep the open land we have free of development, all without slowing down network development.