DCS at a glance

Data Centre Services (DCS)

"We have a truly flexible data centre offering that can be leased at a Colt site or purchased for a customer site. The flexibility in our products and services means we can meet our customer demands in the short, medium and long term. The Colt ftec data centre is built with flex technology to offer flexibility in the design phase but also throughout the lifetime of the data centre. We can change the data centre to suit our customers' business needs without any downtime. It's future proofing the investment, no other provider in the market can offer that to their customers."

In December 2012 Colt announced the appointment of Adriaan Oosthoek as Executive Vice President of Colt Data Centre Services. Adriaan will join Colt at the end of March 2013, succeeding Bernard Geoghegan who resigned at the end of 2012. During the intervening period Rakesh Bhasin maintains executive responsibility for the business unit.

Rakesh Bhasin / Chief Executive Officer

We provide flexible, highly efficient data centre capacity to support the business needs of our customers. Whether on a customer site or within a Colt facility, we have a range of options that can suit our customers' needs.

Our customers

With an increasing propensity to outsource and the growing number of out-dated data centre facilities, Colt is in a position to service growing market demands. We have customers in multiple European markets who take capacity in Colt owned facilities and others who purchase our data centres for installation at their own site. We have customers in a number of industry verticals ranging from financial services to manufacturing, IT and managed services providers. Our customer base is not only external, we are also focused on servicing our internal customers, CES and CCS, providing the foundation for the information delivery platform.

Our markets

The rate of data growth continues at an exponential rate. This fact, coupled with depressed IT budgets and ageing data centres, leaves the CIO faced with the challenge of finding a solution that meets their data needs within significant financial constraints.

To meet these needs, DCS operates in two markets:

Data centre as-a-service: Provision of highly secure, reliable and efficient data centre capacity at one of Colt's carrier neutral facilities. This will suit a customer who is looking for a trusted partner to manage their outsourced data centre needs without significant upfront capital costs.

Data centre product: The Colt ftec data centre is a highly efficient and complete large scale data centre facility, deployed on a customer site, which can be delivered within four months of order. This flexible solution can match the business needs of the customer today and long into the future. It is deployed in a modular way so it can be scaled as required, allowing the customer to manage capital expenditure and reduce total cost of ownership.

Our approach

As part of the information delivery platform, data centres provide the foundation for the whole Colt business. As an industry in high growth phase we expect our data centre services capability to respond positively to opportunities. As customers expand into more cloud-based managed services, we are focused on providing operationally efficient data centre capacity to underpin that.

While CIOs need to tackle increasing data flow and storage, they need to address it with less capital expenditure: this provides DCS with an opportunity. Our outsourcing data centre-as-a-service model offers another option for CIOs to turn capital expenditure into operating expenditure.

We are in a unique position to offer our data centre customers complete service flexibility on network and IT cloud service. Working closely with CES and CCS we can offer competitive Colt IT and network products and services, without being prescriptive: we make it easy for our customers to find the solution that meets their needs.

Leading the industry
Our data centre solutions are leading the industry in design, delivery and operation, with recognised awards for our products, services and innovation.

Colt has been designing, building and operating data centres for more than 15 years. As we are a consumer of data centres ourselves, we have an excellent understanding of the needs of our customers. We deliver secure, energy efficient, high quality, resilient and flexible technical space throughout our 20 data centres. Our operational excellence is recognised by the Uptime Institute who awarded Colt the management and operations stamp of approval. Colt is the first data centre operator in Europe to gain such approval for two of our facilities. The key concern for any data centre customer is downtime with human error the common cause; this award helps to assure our customers that they are in reliable well-run facilities with reduced risk of downtime.

Our Colt ftec data centre is the evolution of our modular data centre. We can deliver the data centre in just four months with significant flexibility on design and layout. It delivers industry leading efficiencies with a proven PUE of 1.21. Colt ftec continues to offer the capital efficiency and reduced upfront cost associated with our modular approach. But ftec goes a stage further, introducing dynamic features that bring a new level of flexibility in cooling and power throughout the lifetime of the data centre. Upgrades can be done without costly downtime and as easily as a standard maintenance operation. This added flexibility means that future requirements can be assessed on a more frequent basis, allowing our customers to more closely match their data centre capacity to the needs of the business and achieve significant total cost of ownership savings over the life of the data centre through deploying capital only when it is needed. Until now, data centre decisions committed customers to a rigid infrastructure that had a longer life span than the IT equipment it serves. Accordingly, costly overprovision of data centre capacity has been common in the industry as decision makers try to forecast and provision for unknown demand long into the future. Colt has changed this; customers can now adapt to changing needs throughout the lifetime of the data centre. This is a first for data centre decision makers. With continued innovation to our offering we are addressing market needs ahead of our competitors.

The Colt ftec data centre is constructed off-site, in parallel to any ground work being completed at the final site. It is then transported to site in modules, where it is assembled. As all of the best of breed components are pre-tested, the commissioning phase is shorter than usual. We call this the consumerisation of the data centre. It is similar to what happened in the car industry in the early 20th century when expensive, time consuming hand built methods were switched to high quality standardised production.

CIOs are under increasing pressure to respond to business needs more effectively. Especially in economically uncertain times they need to deliver accountable value to their company, capital efficiency and provide future-proofed solutions for long-term needs. Colt's data centre solutions are designed so customers benefit from long-term total cost of ownership efficiencies and outsourcing models to turn capital expenditure into operating expenditure.

Some key advantages of a Colt ftec data centre are:

  • Low risk with quality, budget and delivery certainty
  • Future-proofed solution available
  • Flexibility with more than 125 design options on space, power and redundancy
  • Leading power and water efficiency
  • Recyclable at end of life
  • Delivered in as little as four months.

DCS competition

Colt Group competes across the full spectrum of data centre services. Retail colocation services responsibility resides in our CES and CCS business units. In wholesale DCS competes in both product and service markets.

In the data centre-as-a-service market, where customers utilise capacity in a Colt data centre, our competitors offerings are mainly limited to colocation services. They have fixed sites with significant up front capital costs and are generally less flexible as many are built speculatively before specific customer requirements are known. What also sets us apart from these competitors is the breadth of our services, our reputation, relationship and reliability.

In the data centre product market, where we deploy a Colt ftec data centre on the customer site, our competitors offer either bespoke 'build to suit' data centres or use highly standardised modular approaches. What sets Colt apart is our ability to future proof the data centre, through flexibility throughout its lifetime, as well as our proven ability to deliver a complete operational product with certainty of quality, cost and delivery.

DCS financial performance

Total external revenue increased by 1.1% to €36.9m (2011: €36.5m). External revenue from our recurring services grew by 12.5% in 2012 and further growth has been secured for next year with the building of our new data centre in the Netherlands. The data centre-as-a-service represents a more consistent revenue stream than the data centre product offering where the market demand is more sporadic. Revenue from sales of our modular product to customers was lower in 2012 than 2011 and has offset this underlying growth from our existing sites, reflecting the lower level of opportunities that came to the market during the course of the year. Internal revenue1 from data centre services provided to CES and CCS end-customers increased by 3.3% to €117.5m (2011: €113.7m) due to inflationary cost increases.

EBITDA declined €2.0m to €42.8m in 2012 (2011: €44.8m) due to higher power costs and investments in additional resources to support future revenue growth.

  1. Internal Managed Services Revenue represents the recharge by Data Centre Services to the other two customer facing Business Units for the provision of data centre space and services. Internal Managed Services Revenue is eliminated on consolidation.