London-based Volta Data Centres has seen an increase in companies looking to deploy datacenter workloads in and around Central London, but at the same time, colocation capacity to meet this demand has not always been easy to find. Furthermore, a new wave of foreign business is entering the market, despite Brexit, with US organizations in particular seeking colocation supply.
Volta operates a datacenter in Clerkenwell, between the key transport hubs of London Liverpool Street and King's Cross/St. Pancras. It began operation in 2013 with a focus on the local market, where media companies and service providers made up much of its demand. But in the last year, it has harnessed newfound channel partner relationships, which has seen it welcome a number of new American tenants.
The 451 Take
Volta is not the only London provider that has seen increased interest in colocation services in the last year. Despite Brexit, many organizations from 'across the pond' have been searching for a European home for local operations. The EU's General Data Protection Regulation still influences demand in London, despite Brexit. Many US organizations feel the UK's business environment and English language overcome many of the perceived barriers for an entry into Europe (and most are confident the UK will retain some form of arrangement for data transfer with the EU post-Brexit). Many also have operations already in the UK, and seek proximity of services. For those needing a presence within the EU post Brexit, Volta can offer this through its partnership with LuxConnect.
Volta was founded in London in 2012 as a joint venture between Apollo Global Real Estate and Glebe London. Its original focus was the financial services market, before it found some success with managed service and regional cloud providers and media and creative industries requiring an inner-London presence.
Volta's datacenter officially launched in September of 2013. At this time, its sales team focused on a direct model of engagement. Over the last two years, however, the company has been focusing on new channel partners, many of these specialize in particular regions, verticals or hardware subsets. Volta's channel is what has opened up its business to foreign and multinational customers. Volta says as a result of its channel engagements, its customers now consists of 70% American-based firms.
Volta continues to pride itself on its flexibility against the larger players in London such as Equinix and Interxion. The company offers metered power and inclusive pricing models, as well as a range of deployment sizes from single racks to custom customer suites. The company has about 35 staff, which includes outsourced M&E and network operations center teams, security and cleaning. Volta's managing director is Jonathan Arnold, who was previously enterprise sales director at Daisy Group.
Central London Datacenter
The team behind Volta knew that finding datacenter supply with proximity to office locations can be tough in central London. The cost of property, power and development can be significantly high, if you can find a suitable location with connectivity in the first place. Volta's datacenter was originally a BT facility before it transitioned to Reuters.
In 2012, the site had access to just 2MW of power. At the time of Volta's acquisition of it, however, the city was in the midst of planning the installation of a new power ring to support the development of high rises surrounding the City of London, which is a short walk away. Offering up the newly acquired site to hold two substations for the ring, the building was offered an additional 7.6MW of power in return, resulting in the 9.6MW capacity (6.4MW of which is sellable).
Volta's datacenter is just over 30% occupied, with roughly 4.5MW of remaining capacity. Volta is building out the site from top to bottom, having 100% leased the fourth floor while the third floor stands roughly half full. Each floor offers around 1.25-2MW of customer power. The second and the first floors remain largely open, with one larger suite leased to an American customer on the second floor.
Strategy and Customers
Volta will continue to use a combination of direct sales and channel partners. It works with a network of 12 channel partners, and has a lean sales team of five employees. While the provider has witnessed deals primarily under 25 racks, it is open to deployments of up to 1MW. Depending on deal flow over the coming year, company leadership has already begun talks with its investors on purchasing an existing site equipped with customers in either Amsterdam or Frankfurt, although the expansion would most likely come speculatively.
Volta plans to further build out its ecosystem of managed service providers and cloud links. It offers access to 13 managed service providers that have presences within the datacenter (many of these serve London-based customers), while customers can access public and hybrid cloud deployments though a combination of cloud connectivity options. It has longstanding partnerships with euNetworks (which offers its dc connect service), connectivity service provider Custom Connect, and Epsilon, IX Reach and Megaport for access to AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure among others.
Volta has a unique proposition in London as a pure-play retail colocation company with central London capacity. It used to compete with City Lifeline, but City Lifeline was acquired by Redcentric, which offers managed services. CenturyLink also has a datacenter nearby that was previously operated by Level 3, although its focus is heavily on network capabilities. Interxion in Brick Lane has launched a new facility that will compete, but will mostly be offered at a higher price due to its connectivity options locally and globally. New entrant IP House in London's Docklands is also likely to compete.