Shared data centre framework

IT technician in big data center

Save money, improve energy efficiency and get the scalability you need – by moving systems and services to off-site data centres.

We offer access to two shared, off-site, state-of-the-art data centre facilities hosted by:

  • Virtus, from its London4 facility in Slough
  • aql, from its DC5 facility in Leeds

We’ve chosen Virtus and aql because they can meet your needs as a research and education organisation.

Both have data halls dedicated to Jisc members, so whether you’re collaborating on data-intensive projects that require high-performance computing (HPC) and/or running everyday business systems, we can support your requirements.

Sustainability is important to both. Find out about Virtus sustainability and aql green credentials.

Save money and time

  • Save valuable resources and allow IT staff to dedicate more time to core business activities
  • Reduce spending on power, cooling and maintenance, which also contributes to your environmental strategy 
  • We’ve negotiated pricing and contract terms with Virtus and aql as part of our data centre framework, so you don't have to deal with legal and technical issues
  • Put valuable real estate to more profitable core uses, such as teaching and research

If you don’t know what you’re spending on your existing data centre, our financial X-ray service helps you find the true cost, so you can work out what you might save.

Work more flexibly

Our flexible data centre framework allows you to grow your rack footprint quickly and easily, depending on need. We can accommodate:

  • Data-intensive research - The data centres can host racks running HPC alongside conventional servers. It’s directly connected to the world-class Janet Network, allowing you to take advantage of high-speed, high capacity networking
  • Collaboration - You can ring-fence facilities for specific purposes - perfect if you need a neutral space to host a collaboration or research project. This is useful if your kit is so power-hungry that your existing campus data centre can’t support it
  • Extra services - There’s no need to travel there to perform tasks such as rebooting servers or changing tape libraries: with the ‘smart hands’ service (chargeable separately), on-site experts can do this for you

Security and business continuity

  • Only Jisc customers and authorised staff have access to the shared data halls
  • The data centres are built and operated to comply with the government’s ‘confidential’ standard

Get in touch

To find out more, contact us on or call 0300 300 2212.

Service specification

Service summary

You can see a full service summary in our shared data centres specification (pdf).


Under each framework, members will benefit from market-leading pricing. Full details can be provided on application, so please contact your relationship manager.

Flexible core hosting services

In both facilities, four rack power categories have been provided: 4kW, 10kW, 20kW and 30kW. Each facility provides the flexibility to scale up or down according to your needs.

  • Power burst capability – Within certain bounds, the committed power rate may be decreased.  For each rack rating, a customer can designate a lower committed power rate and can, with notice, burst to the designated rack rating. 
  • Rack rating upgrade  – Within certain bounds, the designated rack rating can be changed.

Rack installations can also be ring-fenced for specific purposes or subject areas, enabling IT clustering and supporting collaborative working with partners.


Both data centres are directly connected to the core of the Janet Network offering high-capacity, high availability connectivity.


All racks are provided to meet the Tier III uptime classification.

Redundancy and resilience

The following table outlines the levels of redundancy and resilience in each data centre for different areas of infrastructure.

Additional services

A range of services – such as “smart hands”, cabling services and rack  caging – are also available.

Buyer's guide

Find full details of eligibility and the scope of the framework in the buyer's guide (pdf)

Service level description

Service description

Our shared datacentre frameworks are single supplier framework agreements for the detailed design, supply, installation, configuration, commissioning and maintenance of co-location space within datahalls dedicated to the research and education community. The datacentres are owned, operated, and maintained by our technical partners; aql (north) and VIRTUS (south).

The shared datacentres frameworks have been designed explicitly to support the needs of the research and education community and cater for enterprise systems co-location, and HPC platforms, along with high bandwidth requirements utilising the Janet network.  The datacentres are directly connected to the core of the Janet network with multiple 100Gb connections.


Charges are contained within the framework agreement. Charges will vary depending on the technical solution required. Additionally, networking charges will apply to access the shared datacentres. These charges are based on requirements.

Customer responsibilities

The customer is responsible for signing the master services agreement (issued by the datacentre providers). This allows organisations to purchase from the shared datacentre framework.

The customer is responsible for the operation and maintenance of all equipment installed within their racks within the shared datacentre.


Please ensure your organisation understands and adheres to the security policy. Further security requirements relating to the operation of the shared datacentres will apply as dictated by the datacentre provider.

Hours of service

The shared datacentres are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are open every day of the year.

Target availability

The datacentre providers are contractually obliged to offer a power and cooling delivery SLA of 100%.

The target availability of the network is 99.7% measured monthly over a 12 month period, excluding service-affecting maintenance.

Fault management

Faults with the service may be reported to the datacentre providers dedicated support teams, through the various mechanisms detailed in the contractual arrangements.


The shared datacentres are built, operated, and maintained to tier 3 standards, and thus very high levels of resilience in terms of power and cooling delivery. The datacentres are diversely connected to the core of the Janet Network providing high levels of resilience.

Request for service

Request this service via the service desk on 0300 300 2212 or via email to

Service delivery time

Once an organisation has signed the necessary agreement to use the purchasing framework, the datacentre providers are contractually bound to deliver the organisation’s requirement within 4 weeks.

Terms and conditions

Please ensure your organisation understands and adheres to the terms and conditions. There are additional terms and conditions relating to the contractual arrangements within the framework.


Escalation paths are provided by each datacentre provider to each customer. If you are experiencing an issue with the service, and wish to escalate the issue within Jisc please contact us via the service desk on 0300 300 2212 or via email to

Technical section

Organisations can connect their campuses to the shared datacentres via a variety of networking technologies including Layer2VLAN and Layer 3, utilising existing campus Janet bandwidth, or additional Janet connections. Please contact the service desk for more information.

Premium services

Bandwidth between campuses and the shared datacentres can be reserved and guaranteed for an additional cost and where such facilities exist. Please contact the service desk for more information.


The framework master services agreement with the datacentre providers covers the necessary aspects in relation to GDPR.

Jisc requires information about users of this service in order to communicate with you as a shared datacentre contact for your organisation. We’ll use it, as described in our standard privacy notice, to provide the service you’ve requested, as well as to identify problems or ways to make the service better. We’ll keep the information until we are told that you are no longer performing the role of shared datacentre contact.

ISO certification

This service is included within the scope of our ISO9001 certificate.

Read more about International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards and view Jisc certificates.

ISO 9001-2015 UKAS logo