Maxnet expands Albany datacentre capacity

Maxnet has committed to a multi-million dollar investment plan

Datacentres are where it’s at, or at least where it’s going, for Auckland ISP Maxnet, which is spending big on its facilities.

This year, Maxnet has committed to a multi-million dollar investment plan to expand its datacentre in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore, according to managing director Brett Herkt.

Upgrading the power supply system to 1,600 Amperes alone costs over half a million dollars, Herkt says, adding there’s another three-quarter million dollar upgrade planned for later this year. That will give Maxnet around one-and-a-half megawatt capacity — enough to power a city block, Herkt says.

The upgrade increases Maxnet’s 1,100 sq metre floor space by 350 square metres, with a further 150 square metres to come. Herkt says the provider has secured a lease for room in an adjacent building. There is now capacity for 200 racks in the datacentre, Herkt says, but the additional floor space is needed as Maxnet expects to fill existing capacity this year already.

Upgrading is expensive though: Herkt says the racks cost three to four thousand dollars each, and that’s before the installation and cabling technicians arrive to fit them in. On top of that, ensuring steady power supply is expensive, ditto increasing cooling and air conditioning capacity for the datacentre.

“Our finance guy groans each time we talk about boosting capacity,” Herkt says.

Bandwidth is constantly expanding to match the rackspace increase, he says: “we’ve been adding 10-20 Mbit/s every two months, and this expansion will continue as the number of clients in the datacentre increase.”

Herkt says Maxnet is focusing on the datacentre and wholesale businesses and putting on hold plans to acquire more residential customers. Only a quarter of Maxnet’s customers are residential at the moment, he says. Margins for supplying residential customers with broadband through wholesale Telecom DSL are very low, he says, making it an unprofitable business for ISPs.

In comparison, Herkt says the datacentre business is set to triple within five years as more businesses move servers out of offices and into specialised facilities with onsite technicians and fault-tolerant equipment.

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