Kao Data expands capacity amid rising data center demands

Kao Data data center at Harlow pictured at night
(Image credit: Kao Data)

Kao Data has announced that its second data center in Harlow, KLON-2, is now fully complete, and up and running.

The new 10MW, NVIDIA DGX Ready data center is the second building to be constructed at the company's Harlow campus where there's scope for the development of several more.

It adds a further 3,400m2 of high-density, scalable, technical space, with room for up to 1800 racks of GPU-powered IT equipment (ITE) across four Technology Suites.

"Today marks a significant step forward in Kao Data’s journey, and it’s rewarding to see our vision for the Harlow campus further evolving," said Kao Data chairman David Bloom.

"As the data center industry reaches a major inflection point, it’s vital that UK government ambitions to become a world-leader in AI and research are matched by world-class infrastructure, capable of supporting advanced workloads."

The new data center follows Kao Data’s OCP-Ready and hyperscale-inspired design blueprint. It allows organizations to fully customize their deployments within the data center.

It incorporates liquid-cooled hardware where necessary,  and takes advantage of the campus’ world-class connectivity and speedy on-ramps into all major cloud providers.

Kao Data said the site has been built with sustainability in mind, meeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certified criteria, and will be powered by both 100% certified renewable energy and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

This, the firm said, reduces 90% of net CO2 from its backup power generators and helps customers directly reduce the scope 3 emissions associated with their compute.

"Driven by AI, rack and power densities are increasing at an unprecedented rate, so it’s critical that the data centers of the future can accommodate the latest breakthroughs in GPU-powered computing and are ready to embrace the benefits of liquid cooling," said chief technology officer Paul Finch.

"By pushing the boundaries of our original design envelope, and embracing a culture of continuous innovation, KLON-02 sets a new standard for industrial-scale data centers, and one which will directly help our customers reduce the environmental impact of their workloads."


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The project wasn't always straightforward, with senior delivery manager Rene Sajan citing the pressure of shifting global supply patterns.

"Following on immediately after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, war broke out in Ukraine which caused much uncertainty across the industry," he wrote in a blog post.

"Ultimately, our contractor successfully navigated these, and Kao Data was insulated from these issues. However, it was clearly an additional factor in the delivery, and it gave pause when developing our contracting strategies, risk profiles and contracting incentives."

Kao Data targets further expansion

Meanwhile, the company is reviewing the results of a public consultation on plans for a new 40MW data center with space for nine data halls in Stockport, again powered by renewable energy. 

With an expected investment of £350 million, Kao Data hopes to start work on the site next year, with the center coming into operation in 2025.

"We believe our new facility will set a new standard for sustainable data centers within the region and will provide a piece of foundational infrastructure that supports both Northern England’s advanced computing clusters and the UK government's ambitions to become a technological and economic powerhouse for HPC and AI," said chief commercial officer Spencer Lamb.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.