Peter uses the skills he learned in the Royal Navy in his new vocation, but with his feet now firmly on solid ground.

25 November 2019

Peter Hutchinson, Datacentre Campus Manager, Crawley, UK

Out at sea, every decision counts – a story Peter knows only too well, having earned his stripes in the Royal Navy. It’s a lesson he still carries with him in his new vocation, but with his feet now firmly on solid ground…

Leadership, composure, resilience – just three qualities the Royal Navy looks for in the recruits they need to protect the seas. For Peter, these gifts come naturally, and were pivotal in him swapping shores for high seas and a nautical life in the Navy. 

These days things are a little different, but the characteristics that made Peter ideal Navy material have laid the groundwork for where he is now. Deep in the hedgerows of Crawley, Peter is at the helm of one of the world’s leading datacentre campuses, a state-of-the-art co-location facility being brought to life by ISG in partnership with Digital Realty. Bringing connectivity to customers, homes and businesses across the length and breadth of the UK – and overseas – is critically important. And with half of the world’s data expected to be hosted in the cloud from 2025, ISG is working with Peter to ensure his space in Crawley has everything it needs to ride the incoming data wave.

What does the future hold for Peter? Well, like the ocean, the data world is limitless…

Gatwick Airport serves millions of people and thousands of planes every year. At the heart of our transport infrastructure, airports invite exploration and opportunity, but the slightest delay can lead to millions of pounds of damage and disrupted connections.

Just five minutes down the road in Crawley, it’s a similar story at Digital Realty’s datacentre campus. A story Peter knows only too well, having joined the Navy at 16 to seek his own adventures on the high seas, during which he rose from apprentice to the prestigious position of Lieutenant. After a successful career in the services, Peter left to pursue a career outside the forces, where he is now responsible for managing the datacentre campus in Crawley for one of the world’s largest datacentre providers.

Running a tight ship is important for Peter. Working at sea was where he honed his high standards of quality, and his ability to respond to critical situations with a calm head and get the best out of his people and operational structures – vital ingredients in ensuring critical datacentres remain live and able to function.

“Peter’s story really stood out,” says Paul Pompili, ISG’s project lead in Crawley, who is working with Peter and Digital Realty’s design and construction team to help bring its datacentres, co-location and interconnection solutions to life.

“While it’s critical to meet the changing data needs of the world, we are creating a legacy for people to be connected and to thrive. It’s also creating a datacentre that is environmentally sustainable and gives back to the local community.”

- Peter Hutchinson

“Peter’s passion for connectivity and resilience helped inspire us to create a facility that shares this outlook,”  he says. “Failure is not an option for Peter, nor is it for Digital Realty. Non-resilient datacentres can cause widespread repercussions across its global network if performance is not managed and upgraded effectively. We understood Peter’s challenges and wanted to ensure his datacentre was the best in Europe."

Witnessing first hand the transformation of the datacentre sector over the past decade, the drivers for success remain the same – to bring robust capacity online in the shortest possible time frame. Since starting work in Crawley in 2017, the challenge for Paul’s team has been to deliver an 11,000 sq m building that provides 12MW capacity across four halls.

“Our formula for success involved getting the build out of the ground successfully and never losing sight of the commissioning process, which is integral to the entire project journey. Historically, the subject of commissioning would be found somewhere close to the bottom of a long list of action points and priorities when planning and delivering a new hyperscale or co-location datacentre,” adds Paul.

He believes that that there are seven steps to commissioning success: Integration with design, planning, the factory acceptance test, visual inspections, site acceptance testing, system operation verification and integrated system testing. 

Non-resilient datacentres can cause widespread repercussions across its global network if performance is not managed and upgraded effectively. We understood Peter’s challenges and wanted to ensure his datacentre was the best in Europe.” 

- Paul Pompili, Divisional Director

“By identifying those critical pathways and processes that heavily impact on programme, we then have enhanced project collaboration to deliver a better outcome. As technology advances, we can expect to see dynamic live reporting fall within our arsenal, however, our adage will always remain the same – ignore the importance of commissioning at your peril.”

Sharing this conversation with customers and key project stakeholders, like Peter, has proved pivotal in ISG’s ability to meet expectations for faster, day one operational datacentre facilities.

It’s what is driving Peter to ensure the Crawley datacentre is well-built, protected, efficient and resilient in the long term. The aim: To ensure families and businesses have reliable and protected access to their data and can communicate with each other, wherever they are in the world.

“At Digital Realty, our datacentres are responsible for providing the network for cloud and information technology services, as well as communications and social networking for financial services, manufacturing, energy, healthcare and consumer products,” Peter adds.

“While it’s critical to meet the changing data needs of the world, we are creating a legacy for people to be connected and to thrive. It’s also creating a datacentre that is environmentally sustainable and gives back to the local community.”

While datacentres aren’t airports or naval vessels, without them homes, businesses, airports and ships simply wouldn’t function. This is why Peter has always been focused on sharing his passion for having the world’s most reliable and efficient datacentres. For him, the sky and sea are certainly not the limit.

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