Safenames is a leading global domain name registration company that specialises in corporate domain portfolio management and online trademark infringement protection services. It is a privately run company founded in 1997, headquartered in Milton Keynes and with regional offices in the US and Australia. It has for some time offered web hosting services as a natural extension of its web domain management activities.

In January 2015 Safenames acquired a former Nationwide Building Society data centre. This Tier III facility ran Nationwide’s on-line banking application and much of its mainframe based mortgage and banking systems and will now become the base for a range of retail and wholesale co-location and hosting services aimed initially at businesses within a 100 mile radius of its Northamptonshire location, as well as offering Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service for businesses across the country.

Location

The renovated and refurbished data centre in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire benefits from the fact that it was designed to adhere to strict FSA rules around availability and security during the time it was built. The data centre was built in the mid 1980’s the site had many features unusual at the time, including the use of free-air cooling and raised floors constructed to take extremely heavy loads. However the data halls did not take account of the sort of hot aisle containment and flexible power requirements of a modern co-location facility and Safenames have been stripping back and re-building the data halls ready to take the first batch of servers being transferred from their small Milton Keynes facility in November 2015.


High levels of redundancy and security have been built with separate electrical feeds, n+n UPS and generator provision, 3 metre high double mesh security fencing with motion sensors and 24/7 on site security. At start up there will be several carriers with BT and level3 providing the primary links. Safenames see this expanding as the site develops.
When completely refurbished the data centre will offer a mix of wholesale and retail co-location space, with the additional ability to provide completely autonomous private suites within walled areas served by separate power feeds that can be configured to specific customer requirements.

Energy

The 2.2MW design load pulls power from the Grid through two separate redundant feeds. Power feeds inside the data centre have been designed and installed to ensure maximum density flexibility when provisioning racks and suites. A new free-air cooling system is being installed to replace the innovative but less efficient 1980s system and the design of the new halls has focused on delivering energy efficiency through best practice use of hot aisle containment and detailed attention to airflows.

Funding/business model

Safenames Ltd is a private owned company that is self-funded and, unlike many data centres today, it is owned on a freehold basis.

Customers and partners

Safenames deliver a range of co-location, managed dedicated servers and hosting to businesses within a 100 mile or two hour drive from the Wellingborough data centre. Additionally, the resilience, security and location of the facility provides the basis for a fully featured Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service offering.
Safenames have partnered with Milton Keynes based infrastructure solutions and service provider S3 to help customers make the move to modern hybrid cloud and software designed infrastructures suitable to be moved to an external data centre operator. They use BT and Level 3 to provide connectivity and have relationships with Dell, Cisco and cPanel for their hosting propositions.

Data Centre as the centre of a local business community

Local businesses in north and East Northamptonshire and beyond, including a number of well-known names, now have the option of a highly specified data centre with good high speed connectivity when considering how to modernise and develop their IT infrastructure. A focus on providing flexibility and strong customer support, directly or through partnerships should help customers looking to move away from running their own IT facilities. A close relationship with both the local Chamber of Commerce and a local carrier offers the prospect of Safenames becoming an ISP bringing high speed connectivity, resilience and a secure facility to an area starved of such facilities in the past. Being a local champion offers a somewhat different vision of regional data centres moving forward.

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