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£20m ‘green’ data centre heads into the clouds

A £20m ‘eco-friendly’ data centre is being planned in the Scottish Highlands that will offer businesses pay-as-you-go ‘cloud’ IT services.

The 20,000 sq ft data centre, part of a major development at Inverness Harbour, also has the potential to create 400 jobs. It is being built by IT services company Alchemy Plus, a Microsoft partner.

For our non-techie readers ‘cloud computing’ is the concept of software and applications hosted in ‘the cloud’ – essentially accessed online and charged on a utility or pay as you go basis, compared with traditional software licensing models (Google Apps is an example of the concept).

Benefits of locating in the Highlands are the climate, access to renewable energy sources and security.
Peter Swanson, Chairman of Alchemy Plus, said:

“Utility computing will revolutionise the way businesses use computers and seriously cut costs for many companies and public sector organisations. All the major players see this as the future of IT delivery and I’m delighted that we in the Highlands are leading the way for the rest of the UK.”

Enough about the technology – what about the ‘eco-friendly’ bit? Greenbang is wary of anyone touting an energy guzzling data centre with a size 12 carbon footprint as green.

Alchemy Plus says the data centre will use the cold Scottish climate for cooling and tap into the abundance of hydro electric and wind power renewable energy sources in the Highlands. The data centre will also transmit waste heat from the facility to warm other parts of the Inverness Harbour development, including retail units, offices and a hotel.

The company is still only at the stage of preparing a planning application for the data centre, but says it aims to have it up and running by the end of 2010.

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