HSBC drops plans for £300m York datacentre

HSBC has cancelled plans to construct a £300 million datacentre in York.

The datacentre would have employed 100 permanent staff, including management, engineers, IT operations and support staff, and created 2,000 local construction jobs. It would have been HSBC’s largest datacentre, located on a 325,000 square foot site.

The bank said the change of plan came about after an efficiency review, in which it decided it could meet its information needs with its existing datacentres. It already runs a datacentre in Hertfordshire, and another in a different Yorkshire location will go online in mid-2010.

Other datacentres around the world will also handle some of the data originally allocated to the future York centre.

HSBC, which uses SAP enterprise resource planning software extensively, is standardising its IT globally under the cost-cutting 'One HSBC' strategy. It is also cutting thousands of operational and IT staff .

City council leader Andrew Waller told the BBC that the news demonstrated the impact of the recession. “Bankers don't have the hundreds of millions of pounds of capital that they used to have," he said.

A year ago HSBC said the new centre was important because datacentres were a “critical” part of its IT infrastructure. They handle “billions of pounds worth” of business and consumer transactions each day, it explained.

It was considering fully using “green tariff electricity” at the new datacentre, as well as transporting excess heat to an adjacent swimming pool.

Ken Harvey, chief technology and services officer at the bank, said that in the last two years HSBC had been “investing heavily” in its UK datacentre capacity. It was “not an easy decision” to cancel the York plans, he said.

"We have determined that we can meet our foreseeable short and medium-term European business needs with this expanded capacity and through better utilisation of our global datacentre network," he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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