27 May 2021

The Putty Blog - My role at Kao Data and how data centre connectivity is evolving

As a network and connectivity veteran and a person who has always enjoyed learning about emerging tech and communications trends, I’ve always been drawn to the data centre industry and how it’s evolved. They’re the nervous system of the modern world and for the last 16 months they’ve powered the applications and platforms that have kept us connected, educated, and entertained. Moreover, they’ve ensured the continuation of the country’s economy by enabling remote working on a scale never seen before.

It’s an industry that’s expanding exponentially, demand for colocation and cloud services is at an all-time high and no facility is better placed to provide the required capacity to support this growing phenomenon than Kao Data.

Seamless connectivity, fast access and low latency are integral to the smooth running of all data centres, regardless of size, and because of my carrier and telco background, this is how I came to be involved with Kao Data. I’ve been a senior carrier and connectivity consultant here for over two years, helping to make sure our communications networks remain cutting edge and have the bandwidth and capacity needed to support HPC, AI and machine learning businesses at the forefront of innovation.

My role at Kao Data is hugely diverse and covers the full spectrum of service, from carrying out routine cabling maintenance and engineering work to liaising between key stakeholders involved in large hosting projects, and this is why I enjoy working here so much. I am on-site in Harlow from time to time, surveying duct routes, checking sub duct and joint box installations, and walking cable routes with new carrier partners. I also spend time networking with our different carrier partners, finding out about the services they offer and more importantly, learning about what’s new and confirming these services are in line with end user requirements/expectations so Kao Data’s customers can be leaders in their respective industries.

Because of my engineering background, I’m actively involved in pre-sales and project planning activities, verifying comms channels and accessibility to the different cloud providers, and I’m often required to liaise between commercial and technical teams at the start of a major project. I listen to the requirements of the different parties involved, advise on the most effective way their objectives can be achieved, and generally make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of expectations and goals.

Kao Data’s core customers are Science, Research, Life Sciences, FinTech and AI companies – all heavy users of HPC and AI, so robust infrastructure and seamless connectivity are needed to handle the vast volumes of data generated, and Kao Data’s campus ticks all the boxes on that front.

I’ve been in the connectivity industry for long time now, and requirements have gone full circle. In bygone times users accessed computer mainframes via dial-up connections. As machines became smaller and the boards more compact, there was a shift to on-site servers. Because of Covid-19, remote access is once again in vogue, this time for colocation and hosting purposes and data centres are taking central stage because they house the required compute. The basic principles of seamless connectivity, speed, and reliability, however, have remained the same and this is where Kao Data excels.

Our campus is light years ahead of other data centres in terms of performance, technical capabilities, and sustainability, so providing the HPC needed to power supercomputers like NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1 is not difficult. Our energy source is 100% renewable and we have one of the lowest contracted PUEs in the industry. Not only is this good news from an environmental perspective, it lowers TCO, making our proposition compelling, especially to smaller businesses and high-tech entrepreneurs.

The favourite part of my role by a long shot is the opportunity it gives me to improve my technical knowledge through networking with the channel and sharing this knowledge with Kao Data and our end-customers. There’s a lot of exciting tech being rolled out, immersive cooling, intelligent monitoring, GPU-powered, high density deployments, NVIDIA DGX hardware, and 5G are just some examples, and there is nowhere better to discover their true potential than at Kao Data.

Our campus, which is one of the largest in the country, has been purpose built to support HPC and GPU accelerated workloads. We’ve got some world class companies under our belt and are rapidly becoming the go to provider for tech companies in the UK Innovation Corridor. Our technical knowhow and future-ready facility are having a snowball effect, attracting new business all the time, so it’s little wonder we’re making waves in the data centre space right now and I’m excited to be involved in this success.

Mark Putt

Mark Putt is Kao Data's Senior Carrier and Connectivity Consultant. From being a mainframe software and hardware engineer, to specialising in large-scale digital transformation projects, Mark has spent more than 30 years working within telecoms and network connectivity.


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