Companies that place a high priority on the physical security of their data are being offered more capacity.  The Bunker, a company that claims to operate some of Europe's most secure data centres, has received planning permission to add a new data centre to their secure site in Kent.

The original nuke-proof Bunker was revealed back in October 2004, offering ultra-secure underground facilities for servers and systems, located at highly secured sites at former military bases.

Now the company is announcing that final planning permission has been granted for The Bunker 2, a new 12,000 square metre, carrier-neutral London contingency data centre on its existing military level, ISO 27001 accredited security site in Sandwich, Kent.

"We currently have two sites," explained CEO Peregrine Newton. "Our primary site is in Kent, and our secondary site is in Newbury, in a command bunker at the former USAF airbase at Greenham Common."

"At our primary site in Kent, we have 88 acres of perimeter fenced land, with the bunker somewhere in middle," he told Techworld. "The existing bunker in Kent offers 35,000 square feet net of usable space (although the bunker is bigger than that), and is located 100 feet below ground on two levels."

According to Newton, the Bunker 2 will be built on the same 88 acre site in Kent. "It will be a modular design, with six modules of 2,000 square metres each of usable server space, offering a total of 12,000 square metres."

"The modules will be either shared or dedicated, and are autonomous so that they can accommodate different specifications from different clients," Newton said. "There will also be a couple of thousand square metres of office space built in, with diverse high power voltage power supplies, generators and UPS. We are also building in high density areas for high density blade zones etc."

Newton said the site is located near to a plant operated by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which is in the process of closing the site down, "giving masses of power back to the grid."

"There is a strong green element in the design," said Newton. "It is kind of like the Teletubbies hill from the children's television series, although the architects won't thank me for that. It is a low level, two story high structure, with only one story protruding above ground, with a grass roof and it makes use of free air cooling."

According to Newton, one module is designed to be built within a year, with the subsequent modules being brought online as and when required (each module should take 8 to 10 months to build).

The new facility will offer out-of-town N+1 redundancy. What this means is that the data centre will still be operational in case of London going off line. An N+1 redundancy is a system configuration in which multiple components (N) have at least one independent backup component to ensure system functionality continues in the event of a system failure.

"We consider London to be a high risk zone, due to the high level of urbanisation, shortage of power, being on a flood zone, and with the terrorist threat," said Newton. "We built the Bunker, and now the Bunker 2, to act as an alternative to London. We have network links to Europe that do not go through London, as well as having network links to London. If London went offline for whatever reason, the bunker facilities would still be operational and still be able to connect to the world wide web, thanks to our diverse routing without traversing high risk London."

The Bunker currently has 140 clients, half of which are made up of financial services companies and those that supply services or technology to the financial services sector. The remaining clients are those who value security.

Newton says that the Bunker is also currently study the feasibility of using tri-generation for the site. "We have gas turbines on site as the military total over spec everything," he said. "Those turbines can produce electricity, and therefore produce heat. That heat can be turned (via chillers) into cooling, in order to cool the data centre."