Bringing commercial data storage to the public sector

Ark Data Centres and SOURCE provide data centres for public and
private sector organisations. Between them, they deliver secure and
cost-effective data storage – whatever a client’s

“For a long time,” opines Steve Hall from Ark, “public sector
organisations have sought access to IT services that are priced
competitively and designed to commercial standards. But the choice
has always been limited, because of the security needs of
government, and the scale of their operations.”

Now, he says, things have changed, and commercial-grade IT is
more readily available to the public sector. It can be delivered at
very competitive prices, with the required level of security
already in place.

Take Ark data centres as a case in point. Built to provide
secure storage for data up to and including Impact Level 3
(Restricted), at no extra cost but can be increased to IL6 if

What is more, the service is fully scalable, so can grow or
shrink in relation to a client’s needs. And, reports Hall, it can
all be delivered for the lowest total cost of ownership of any data
centre provision in the country.

Scalable savings

Hall, who is Ark executive sales and marketing director,
believes the company’s offering is formidable. Indeed, he says his
reason for joining the company from a large Systems Integrator (SI)
last year was his sense that Ark service offers a better deal for
the taxpayer.

“If an organisation is currently using a data centre that’s fi ve
years old and runs at a PUE of say 2.5 – the industry average,” he
notes, adding that many used by the public sector are in fact more
than 10 years in age, “then we can save it £1.1 million per
megawatt of IT capacity provided per annum in our data centre
running an annualised PUE of 1.25. In addition, we’ll be delivering
a carbon saving of 6,000 tonnes, which makes a big difference to
the environment.”

Although these figures look compelling, some smaller public
sector organisations may assume that the level of service provided
by Ark is too large for their needs.

That’s where SOURCE comes in, because it works with Ark to offer
IT capacity on a smaller scale. “In essence,” explains SOURCE’s
co-founder, Fenton Bard, “we buy wholesale data centre elements
from large-scale operators like Ark. Then, we sell it on in smaller
chunks – sometimes as little as a single rack – to organisations
with more modest requirements.”

Inevitably, SOURCE ends up dealing with smaller organisations,
like local authorities or IT resellers who are bundling a whole
service package for their own customers. But the beauty of its
operation, Bard asserts, is that it can offer all the credentials
of Ark, in a package that will suit the needs and budget of smaller

Even better, because SOURCE buys its data centre capacity on a
long lease, it can offer unprecedented visibility on pricing,
helping its clients to manage their budgets well into the

Data centres that are ready to go

Whatever the precise needs of their clients, Hall and Bard agree
that one of the biggest advantages of buying data centres from
their companies is the speed with which the service can be set

“SOURCE provides ‘Move-In-Ready’ data centre environments for
clients that need to act quickly,” Bard says. “This is made
possible by the fact that the data centres are already established,
and we’ve bought a part of them wholesale.
So all we have to do is patch the capacity through and a SOURCE
client could be using our data centres within 24 hours of

It’s a similar story with Ark, which offers an 18-week lead-in
time to set up a whole new data centre environment for its
customers. When you consider that its provision is at a much larger
scale than SOURCE’s, this is an impressive turnaround – reflecting
Ark’s fleetness of foot as an SME.

“We have a great deal of flexibility, because we are not a
massive global company,” says Hall. “That means we can respond to
our clients’ needs quickly and efficiently.”

As an added advantage, Bard states, public sector organisations
choosing to procure IT capacity from either SOURCE or Ark will be
following the government’s SME-inclusion policies. This is good in
its own right, but it also helps stimulate the local economies
where the two companies operate.

“We use local tradespeople and suppliers when we build new data
centres,” explains Hall. “So when we pick up business from the
government, and grow as a result, we’re sharing that wealth
throughout the country.”

Strong credentials, exemplary service

Ark is accredited to British Standards BS 25999, ISO 27001, ISO
14001 and ISO 9001 and has been selected to supply services as part
of G-Cloud iii Framework. And, as a supplier of Ark’s data centre
environments, SOURCE is able to offer procurement officers that
same assurance. The result is peace of mind, as well as a guarantee
that the service provided by both companies ranks with the very
best in the industry.

In fact, Hall and Bard attest, what they offer brings clear
advantages to the government when compared with the service
provided by larger IT companies.

“The thing about using data centres provided by SIs,” opines
Hall, “is that an organisation has its crown jewels all in one
place. If it’s unhappy with the service being provided by the SI,
it can be tricky to extricate itself from the contract, because
it’s a massive job to move its data elsewhere.”

By working with an independent data centre provider such as Ark
or SOURCE, Hall says that government organisations give themselves
a greater ability to hold SIs to account. “Your data storage is
separate from your IT contract,” he says, simply. “It gives the SI
much less of a hold over you.”
Bard agrees, and says this is one of the biggest advantages of
choosing a company like SOURCE or Ark. It’s not just about
maintaining a strong hand at the negotiating table, however: Bard
also believes they offer a more individualised service to

“We deal with our customers personally,” he says, “so there’s no
chance of inquiries getting lost in the system. That
person-to-person service, backed by first-rate credentials, is what
sets us apart from our competitors.”

More than that, Hall and Bard conclude, this combination is what
defines the public sector IT procurement landscape in 2013.
“Government organisations can now buy the best quality IT services
at market rates, from accredited suppliers who are committed to
serving them,” Hall observes. “It’s a brilliant position to be

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Ark Data Centres Limited
Spring Park, Westwells Road Hawthorn, Corsham Wiltshire SN13 9GB