Hyperscale cloud giants sought as tenants for Scotland’s ‘largest’ datacentre build

A former manufacturing site in Bathgate, West Lothian, is now home to what is claimed to be Scotland’s biggest datacentre, with the first phase of the development now open for business.

Located in the 93-acre Pyramids Business Park in West Lothian, the datacentre is being developed in three phases, with the first – spanning 18,288 square metres – now open, and its developers marketing the site as a good fit for the hyperscale cloud giants.

Michael Hunter, associate director in Cushman and Wakefield’s Data Centre Advisory Group, who is one of several parties consulting on the project, said the build should position Scotland as somewhere the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon would like to do business.

“In recent years, Ireland has benefited from attracting upwards of £6bn of investment in the datacentre industry from companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, AWS and Microsoft. Up until now, Scotland has not provided the size and scale of infrastructure needed,” said Hunter.

“The Pyramids is well-placed to capture the increasing data storage, analytics, and processing requirements which will come from an increase in adoption of cloud technology as well as the internet of things and emerging technology such as connected cars.”

Ireland has emerged a popular destination with the hyperscale cloud and internet service provider community, thanks in no small part to its temperate climate and close proximity to the landing sites of several transatlantic cables.

Scotland has similar properties going for it as a datacentre location, and has already seen a number of datacentre providers invest in building out their presence in the country, including DC Thompson-backed BrightSolid and the team behind the Queensway Data Centres project.

Potential for growth

Once the Pyramids development is complete, the developers claim its data halls will cover around 76,200 square metres of ground, although there is potential to expand beyond this if required.

Steven McGarva, director at Ashfield Land, who acquired the site in January 2016, said the company considered a number of development opportunities for the site before deciding to convert it into a datacentre.

“The Pyramids presents a unique opportunity, given its scale, power supply and data infrastructure, to create a campus-style datacentre and digital hub,” he said.

“This is a natural progression for the site, taking it from a manufacturing centre in the 1990s through to a call centre and now into the digital age.”

McGarva said the firm has also pinpointed a growing demand from the Scottish business community for local datacentre resources, which the site is designed to meet.

“The need for regional datacentres will continue to grow as demand for quicker access to data from businesses and consumers increases and technology improves,” he said.

“As the Scottish datacentre market grows and becomes more sophisticated, it will become more important for Scottish-based companies to support these services locally.”

The company claims the site is designed to adhere to Uptime Institute’s tier-three availability standards, and is reportedly connected to multiple high-speed fibre networks. Meanwhile, its developers are also said to be working on the site using renewable energy sources.

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