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Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has flicked the switch on NEXTDC’s newest and flashiest data centre.

In the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park last night Turnbull flicked a large symbolic switch to turn it all on.

The data centre is the most impressive looking of NEXTDC’s growing list of data centres around the country. It already has data centres in Brisbane (B1), Canberra (C1 – opened in August), Melbourne (M1), Perth (P1). With 5600m2 of technical space it is marginally smaller than the Port Melbourne facility, but its striking design towers over neighbouring buildings.

“S1 provides a significant private investment in NSW’s key economic infrastructure,” said NEXTDC CEO Craig Scroggie. “The facility has also recently received UTI Tier III certification and already signed up a number of local and international customers, including some of the largest companies in the world, to run their cloud platforms from S1.”

The five-storey colocation data centre in Macquarie Park will provide 11.5 megawatts to government and enterprise customers, and when fully fitted-out will represent approximately $150 million infrastructure investment. “We are committed to enabling the cloud computing revolution in Australia and the S1 facility is immediately attractive to organisations that deliver or consume cloud computing services,” said Scroggie.

“The landmark opening of S1 demonstrates NEXTDC’s commitment to innovation, harnessing its unique abilities to improve the world’s leading organisations’ operations and to developing the ICT industry in NSW and across the country.” Tenants include Australia Post, Data #3, Dimension Data, the Independent Schools Network, Optus, Sage and Vocus.

David Frith from Computer Daily News asked Turnbull at the launch whether the new Government might make more use of privately owned data centres. “We’re always looking for value," he said. “Data centres like this are going to play a very big part.”

NEXTDC is on a roll. In August it announced annual revenues for the last financial year of $36.2 million, up a whopping 750%, from the previous year. The company is nearly breaking even – losses fell from $10.6 million to $2.2 million.

NEXTDC has made quite a splash as a rising star in Australia’s burgeoning data centre market, which is largely fuelled by the growth in cloud computing. But it has burnt through a lot of cash, and recently borrowed $30 million from ANZ Bank.

During the last financial year NEXTDC undertook its capital recycling program with the sale-and leaseback of its M1 Melbourne, S1 Sydney and P1 Perth data centre property assets to the real estate investment trust, Asia Pacific Data Centre Group.

NEXTDC now has over 120 unique customers and 240 service orders. It was established by well known Australian IT entrepreneur Bevan Slattery in May 2010 and floated on the ASX in December that year.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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