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Royal College of Art

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Bytemark helps Royal College of Art halve their hosting energy usage.

The Royal College of Art (RCA) was founded in 1837 and has grown to be considered the world’s most influential art and design institution. Offering solely postgraduate degrees in art and design, the RCA’s alumni include household names such as Quentin Blake, David Hockney and Tracey Emin.

Royal College of Art

Royal College of Art

In order to reflect their global reputation and to ensure they continued to attract world-class candidates for study, the RCA decided to completely refresh their web presence in 2013. Working with digital agency Torchbox, the RCA developed a new responsive website that also housed a video library of public talks given at the RCA.

As the RCA have a worldwide audience, reliability and speed were both important. Additionally, the RCA wanted to ensure that their hosting partner had carefully considered their impact on the environment as part of the RCA’s commitment to green issues.

The Solution

Working with the RCA’s in-house developers and Torchbox, Bytemark produced a fast and reliable solution that includes redundancy in case there was ever an issue. Bytemark deployed three powerful dedicated servers: one running a fast front-end cache and load balancer; and two duplicate web and database servers that can each take the full load should one require maintenance. Bytemark also supplied offsite secure backup space in an alternative data centre.

In order to comply with the RCA’s commitment to reducing their impact on the environment, Bytemark deployed the servers in YO26, our data centre in York. YO26 is a brand-new data centre, design completely to our directors’ technical specifications and business requirements. Due to its location in York, the servers can be kept within optimum temperature limits simply by using the fresh Yorkshire air. This significantly reduces the need to use power-hungry air conditioning compressors for over 90% of the year. Each individual server was also hand-built using efficient power supplies certified by the 80 Plus scheme. This, along with practical steps like cold-aisle containment means YO26 runs at an exceptionally low PUE of 1.2.

Jonathan Warner, Head of ICT at the RCA said:

The economy of scale in moving compute resources from RCA data centre to Bytemark’s will reduce the overall carbon consumed particularly in cooling. We will be using about half the energy through hosting with Bytemark than we otherwise would use by hosting ourselves.

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