VIRTUS Data Centres: the backbone of the digital economy

There has been huge growth in the data centre services market, which is expected to reach a value in excess of $100bn by 2026. Neil Cresswell, CEO of the UK's largest data centre provider, VIRTUS, explains the benefits of this global shift in IT infrastructure

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Market demand for data centre space has been growing year-on-year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future as more and more devices connect to the internet and more data is produced.

They are the backbone of the digital economy and are critical to everyone’s lives, enabling everything from cloud computing, apps, social media, remote working platforms including meeting applications Zoom and Teams, to video and music streaming, shopping, travel, health and medical research.

Without data centres, society simply couldn’t function in this digital age; everything runs from a server in a data centre somewhere.

They are the most energy efficient and effective way of providing for modern computing’s massive demands; one of the most efficient ways to deliver a unit of computing (energy per compute unit) is to put it in a large, modern, advanced data centre on a cloud platform.

The pandemic was a great example of why and how important data centres are – with data centre engineers even being categorised as ‘essential workers’ to ensure that life could continue online as seamlessly as possible.

Data hall at VIRTUS

From the business perspective, data centres can be dedicated to a single organisation, or provide colocation services to multiple businesses. While some hyperscale cloud providers may require a dedicated facility, due to their enormous data centre requirements, businesses of all sizes can benefit from colocation, designed to provide maximum flexibility and transparency. Requiring the same skills to run servers in-house, colocation providers take responsibility for the physical environment; everything from the network cables, power availability, physical security, cooling and even the level of cleanliness are somebody else’s responsibility.

Colocation in data centres has become the preferred choice for many enterprises over building and maintaining their own, which could be any size – from servers in a cupboard, a room, a whole floor, to an entire building housing the equipment. Many organisations have found that by moving onsite IT infrastructure to a colocation provider, they can reduce costs, scale up or down when needed, benefit from more uptime and mitigate security and compliance risks – all without any detrimental effect on performance.

This means that organisations cannot take any risks with the data centre partners with whom they entrust this critical service. Finding providers that can be trusted to deliver robust, efficient, scalable facilities has never been more important.

Here are the top three things to look out for:

Does the provider deliver a reliable service?
Ensure that your partner can provide a flexible and scalable service with enough capacity for your digital requirements now and in the future, and the ability to adapt to continually changing needs.


Is the provider responsible?
Ensure that your provider is committed to delivering a ‘cradle-to-grave’ sustainability strategy, where environmental ambitions are built into every step of the data centre from design to construction to operational management.


Is the facility resilient?
Ensure that mitigating processes are in place in case things go wrong. Check the monitoring, reacting and operating procedures so that if disaster strikes, your provider can act swiftly and effectively to overcome unforeseen circumstances.


Speaking to the 2023 CEO of the year winner: data centre and colocation industry, Neil Cresswell, CEO of VIRTUS Data Centres said: “VIRTUS is the UK’s largest data centre provider. Currently we have 11 data centres providing approximately 178MW of IT load space to our customers in and around London. This is a particularly exciting time for us as we are taking our expertise into mainland Europe to support our existing data centre customers who continue to expand, as well as new ones.”

Neil Cresswell, CEO of VIRTUS

Having led VIRTUS for 10 of the 12 years it’s been operational, Neil has been integral to the growth and success of the company. He said: “What sets VIRTUS apart from our competitors can be found in many aspects of the design, build and operations of our facilities. However, the quality of operations – the Operational Excellence – is where we truly excel. The way we implement design innovations makes a difference to the service we provide in terms of efficiency and robustness. It’s how we design, build, test, maintain, change and operate our facilities that differentiates us – ensuring robust and reliable availability is delivered.”

Neil concluded: “It is our people who really make VIRTUS the success it is and keep our customer satisfaction scores high. Only by attracting and retaining the best people in the industry will we be able to provide our customers with world-class customer service.”


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