12 July 2023 / /
Moving into a New Data Centre with Equinix MA5
We’d been operating out of the Equinix MA2 Reynolds House data centre in Manchester for many years - it was our first POP/colocation site which we originally came to when it was called IFL2. However, we received a notice from Equinix in December 2021 that the facility was closing and the lease was ending. Equinix long term strategy is to move away from leased facilities. This left us with the significant challenge of finding a new data centre, and also an opportunity to upgrade our infrastructure.
We began our planning period as soon as we received notice from Equinix. We were aware of the plans for Equinix MA5, which had been rumoured to have started building. We had specific requirements that wherever we moved it would be relatively easy to integrate that with the rest of our network, and it must be carrier neutral. After evaluating a couple of data centres in Manchester and considering the plans for Equinix MA5, we decided to move there.
Our close working relationship with LINX as Connexions Partners, along with Marek’s involvement with the LINX Manchester Steering Committee, we were aware that LINX were planning a sizeable deployment there. Several other carriers were also starting to extend their networks from London to Manchester, and were considering MA5 as their initial footprint, potentially making it an exciting place to locate. We published a longer blog post around the plans for our move here and here. Any carrier-neutral data centre with a peering exchange is attractive because there is competition and access to many networks. Equinix are building out a campus at Agecroft Commerce Park so as well as being the location of MA5, MA6 with a much larger footprint has planning permission.
We were the first customer installing equipment at MA5. We found the on-site Equinix facilities build team and the service team extremely helpful, although getting the initial cross-connects was tricky, and we could not yet order direct because MA5 footprint didn’t exist in the portal. Instead we had to order through the Equinix Global Service Desk and the turn around time was much slower. However good relationships with the on the ground staff at MA5 paid off and the cross connects were delivered in time to complete the project.
We had a great Account Manager and the people on the ground are very friendly, very accommodating technical staff. You know that they’ll just nail it every time. They also understand that when something isn't quite right and they are diligent enough to go and fix it and sort it out for you.
Our MA5 POP has diverse fibre paths carrying WDM back to Kilburn House and Williams House (the MA1 campus). We take transit from GTT via MA3, and cross-connect to other partners (LINX, Neos Networks, and Zen Internet) for last-mile connectivity and other services. On site we are able to offer LINX ConneXions services, as well as wholesale broadband, high power-density colocation. It also contains nodes from three of our virtualisation clusters, which are suitable for traditional VPS hosting as well as NFV and compute for hybrid colo/cloud customers.