London Gateway – the UK’s first major deep-sea container port and Europe’s largest logistics park, currently under construction – is deploying a cloud data centre architecture, to ensure high levels of consistent service and availability to its customers.

Situated on the north bank of the River Thames, London Gateway enables the unloading, loading, transportation and delivery of millions of containers from one site, making it one of the largest civil engineering projects since the Channel Tunnel.

The port, which will open in the fourth quarter 2013, aims to transform London once again into a European and global logistics hub.

At the heart of the port is the terminal operating system (TOS), which controls all of the critical operations from crane management through to interfacing with customers. When fully deployed this automated solution will enable more containers to be loaded and unloaded per hour than any other UK port.

The deployment of the TOS will also reduce carbon emissions and power usage compared with traditional port deployments, through the use of consolidated and virtualised data centre solutions.

“London Gateway is the most significant port development in the UK for over 20 years. In our aim to build a world class port for the UK, implementing a superior operational system and service is crucial,” said Bob Post, Head of IT & Systems at DP World London Gateway.

“Every hour a vessel is in port it costs money, so the ability to load and unload vessels quickly is essential. The automated nature of the TOS will enable us to offer high availability and more flexible services, while minimising the risk of losses of shipped goods.”

The TOS system architecture is being delivered and supported by an IT solutions infrastructure from Dimension Data that incorporates Microsoft applications, security, networking, cabling, CCTV and IP Telephony. All of these technologies will be delivered through a MetroCluster (a high availability solution that uses Cisco and NetApp equipment).

The entire infrastructure will be hosted in a private cloud, but the infrastructure has been replicated on-site so that the systems can continue to monitor vehicle movements, X-ray containers and manage container ship slots when the infrastructure is being updated or undergoing maintenance work.

As well as delivering TOS, the Dimension Data infrastructure will also support London Gateway's asset management, commercial, labour management, finance, executive information and classic Microsoft office systems.

“The London Gateway project requires an extensive process of analysis and system integration design to develop the technical solution that will give London Gateway a high level of service, combined with the flexibility for future enhancements and growth,” said Calvin Goom, managing director of Dimension Data UK.

When work has been completed on the systems there will be a period of testing before formally opening in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Once implemented, Dimension Data will continue to support the IT infrastructure, providing software asset management, wireless and security asset management, and covering other ongoing requirements for London Gateway’s operations.