4D Data Centres (4D-DC from now on) is a co-location, cloud and connectivity service primarily for Surrey- and Sussex-based businesses but, because it’s internet-based, it actually has clients around the world. Its clients are mainly small technical businesses or medium-sized businesses that are looking to take their internal IT systems to the next level. Again, the exceptions are its public sector and NHS clients. In fact, it is one of the few data centres that has been cleared to connect to the core NHS network – a strength that is appreciated by other security-conscious customers.
It owns two of its three data centres. The third is a partner. It has now has 50 employees and it has four megawatts of data centre space. It has been in business in its present form since 2007 when it had just two employees. One was the original founder who started it as a hosting and domain name registration company in 1999, when he was just 16.
Working with techUK
4D-DC discovered early on that what you put in to techUK relates closely to what you get out of it. Managing director, Jack Bedell-Pearce, decided to jump in with both feet and get involved in lots of networking events, many briefings and other kinds of events it put on. He quickly realised that techUK was not only good for networking but for giving his company knowledge of what was going on in the marketplace, especially data centres.
He was duly voted to the Data Centre Council, partly because of his unusual perspective of an SMB data centre. The meetings happen every quarter but he is involved in the Professional Development sub-committee as well.
While this work isn’t commercially-driven, it does mean he’s able to work with Government to help universities and colleges shape what is being taught and ensuring that the right kind of skills are coming into the UK workplace.
Promoting the UK
techUK promotes UK technology as a whole and this includes British data centres and cloud providers. Something not a million miles from 4D-DC’s interests. An example of how this works is that, following the referendum, the data centre specialists spent a lot of time looking not only at the risks, but also at the opportunities, that will result from Brexit. It has identified areas in which the sector can make the best of the situation, where it can help shape policy and make the UK data centre market a strong one, post Brexit.
One of the great things about techUK is that it provides an opportunity for even small companies to have their voices heard. Members hear things and realise that they are able to share their own relevant knowledge. For example, Jack Bedell Pearce was in a committee meeting when GDPR was mentioned in passing. It was in the draft stages at the time and no one was writing about it – perhaps because it was too far away. But he started writing about it way before anyone else. In the context of data centres, of course. This added to his and his company’s authority. He did the same thing with cryptocurrency mining. In that case, he was just a few months ahead of the curve. The data centre angle was that, because the demands on domestic power supplies (and the heat generated) was becoming excessive, maybe it was time to think of using a data centre.
4D-DC looked at quite a few membership organisations and, in terms of value for money, focus on data centres, and crossover with other services, it has not found any with the kind of breadth and depth that techUK offers.