back to article Sun sets: Oracle to close Scotland's Linlithgow datacentre

Oracle's datacentre in Linlithgow, Scotland is set to close over the next few months, leaving clients faced with a cloud migration or a move to an alternative hosted datacentre. According to multiple insiders speaking to The Register, Oracle has been trying to move its datacentre clients to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure – with …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

    I didn't even know that Oracle had a data centre there (but then I'm not involved in external data hosting), and had just assumed that the site had closed once SUN left.

    And since "the cloud" is really nothing more than a clever collection of inter-connected data centres, if they no longer want to use it as a stand-alone data centre, why don't they just re-purpose it as a cloud node itself, rather than close it down?

    On the other hand, Oracle, ugh. My workplace has recently started using an Oracle web-based system (presumably cloudy) for personnel records management (eg, requesting holidays) and job advertisements/applications, and, yuk, it has as user-unfriendly a UX/UI as you might expect.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

      At a guess, cost. Downside to Scotland is limited network availability compared to other datacentre hotspots in the UK and Europe. Same may also be true for power, or power density. No idea what it'd cost to add say additional 10MW diverse incomers, or the supply risks from Scotland focusing on wind. DCs want power 24x7x365, wind can't deliver that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

        The lights don't go out in Scotland on the rare days when there's no wind. Which is not the country's only source for generating electricity.

        Oracle is closing the Linlithgow DC because they couldn't find enough paying customers or can deliver the service from elsewhere for less.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

        Scotland is a net exporter of electricity to England and Northern Ireland, so I don't think it is that.

        Also, saying as it is somewhat colder in Scotland than England, cooling costs will be proportionately lower.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

          Not all the time. But that's just the problem with wind. If there's no wind, Scotland would have to import from the rest of the UK, or elsewhere. There's sometimes the reverse problem when there's more wind than demand, in which case 'constraint' payments are made to wind farmers not to despatch it.

          I'm sure Scotland's policy of ending fossil fuels and relying on the weather will be fine though.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

            as someone's already pointed out, wind is not the only source of power generation in scotland.

            when there's too much wind-generated electricity, it can be used in hydro stations to pump water uphill, two other resources (hills and water) that are far from uncommon in scotland.

            importing and exporting power is part of a sensible energy policy: arrange to supply your excess when others need it and they'll reciprocate.

            1. hoola Silver badge

              Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

              The trouble is there are only a very limited number of stored water facilities that support it. I believe the only one in Scotland is Cruachan.

          2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

            Someone doesn't understand the 'net' part of 'net exporter'

            You don't have to export 24x7 to be a net exporter. You just have to export more than you import.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

              Someone doesn't understand the difference between energy and power. The 'renewables' lobby does, and so picks favorable, but meaningless metrics. So it delivered lots of GWh over the year. Yey! Unless you do some quick math based on installed capacity and hours in a year to come up with a capacity factor of 30% or less. Or the hourly average production vs demand.

              Either way, no amount of hot air from the 'renewables' lobby will make their windmills spin on a calm day. Brinnelling motors can, but that's just to create an illusion of usefulness and protect bearings. Also means windmills are consuming power, not generating it.

              So if your DC needs 10MW on a calm day, you'll need to source your electrons elsewhere. And decarbonisation just makes it worse by increasing electricity demand.

          3. hoofie

            Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

            <cough>Hunterston B Nuclear station puts about a GW into the grid with Torness adding the same BUT it will shutdown for good next month with only another 8 years or so of life in Torness</cough>

            Thanks to the SNPs seemingly fanatical hatred of oil/gas/nuclear Scotland is going to be royally screwed for base load supply in the next 5-10 years. I can remember as a lad in Glasgow in the 70s having to use a candle to light my way up the stairs to bed thanks to the power cuts. Looks like those times will be coming back.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

              Oil/gas/nuclear is out of fashion whether you like it or not; it's not a political decision anymore – it's the only option.

              Far better we admit that now than continue to scramble after "eco-friendly coal" ("clean coal" as your mate Trump might have said) for the next 20 years.

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

          Actually it is not, it is (just) a net importer, usually when there are issues with wind......

          South of the border has to provide the difference from fossil fuels.

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

            France has to provide the difference from nuclear. England is a net importer in all directions except from Ireland, and a net importer overall.

            1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

              Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

              France is just one of the supplier countries upstream of the interconnecters. The times I've checked, the energy mix being imported was always majority fossil fuel.

              If I get time and remember, might see if I can dig up annual totals tomorrow.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

      Maybe some of their customers take into account such things as data sovereignty so having their data relocated elsewhere would be an issue. But are their customers so discriminating?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

        Maybe not now but they might be if IndyRef2 ever goes ahead. A Data Residency law for a newly independent Jock republic might capture a few bits of cloudy business.

    3. Plest Bronze badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

      I did know it was there, it was one of the biggest reasons I was going to relocate about 8 years ago but I backed out of the idea. Shame as I would love to move from London to Scotland but just not financially viable until retirement savings have topped up as exepcted and I'm ready to quit the rat-race.

      1. BurnedOut

        Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

        Depending on your style of retirement saving, and income expectations, watch out for the Scottish income tax bands and rates - £43,662 p.a. takes you into the Scottish higher rate of 41% (and if earning, that means marginal tax of 53% with the addition of 12% NI, soon to increase).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not continue to use it as a cloud node?

      Linlithgow was a very different beast than the other Oracle Cloud data centers - this cloud datacenter consisted of 3 'pods' dropped into the Phase 1 manufacturing hall. The buildings were not fully repurposed to act as datacenters and so had very limited capacity and the pods were built out using different assumptions on networking and infrastructure than the old Oracle Cloud Classic datacenters, and very definitely non-compatible with the OCI datacenters.

  2. Dave559 Silver badge

    Opportunity missed for the sub-heading: Oracle beams up and away from Linlithgow

    (Hopefully I don't need to explain the reason for this (hint: look at the related articles) ;-) )

    1. simpfeld

      It's in Linlithgow not Aberdeen....oh controversy!

      1. Dave559 Silver badge

        It's perfectly possible to be born in Linlithgow and then move to Aberdeen at a later age. Scotland's not such a big country, and by the 23rd century HS2 might perhaps have finally reached Aberdeen, or maybe people will be using transporters for 'surface' travel, too…

        (Or maybe the writers should have prepared a consistent backstory from the start… :) )

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Until 2008, the M6 stopped at Carlisle, then it was about 10km of dirt track to the border where you could join the A74(M), the fastest motorway in the UK.

          I suspect high speed rail will follow a similar trajectory to the motorway network.

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    Oracle had a 2.3 per cent share of cloud infrastructure spending in EMEA during Q2

    Who are these idiots letting everybody down?

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Love it -->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'd be surprised

      I've been "lucky" enough to work on a recent business case for migrating legacy on Prem Oracle Warehouses to the Cloud (TM). Much to my surprise if you twist the sale's droid's arm and are willing to hold your nose moving to OCI is a cost effective option - at least for the next few years. Potentially a bait and switch further down the line but that can be said of any cloudy vendor.

      Note that this is for legacy brownfield stuff. But if you're a proper IT professional and not just chasing the CV polishing shiny and AWS, M$ & Google havent got to your CIO its a pragmatic choice. Albeit not one thats going to get you cool points on El Reg or anywhere else. Mentioned it in an interview for a company that had just drunk the GCP Koolaid. Got dropped like a stone :D

  4. msobkow Silver badge

    Of course those who moved to the cloud are starting to get their cloud service bills and realizing those are monthly... :(

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      I've always had my suspicion that cloud services are all about locking the customers in as tightly as possible and then turning the thumbscrews to get them to cough up the dough.

      After all, this whole "on premises" thing they've had for years where they can buy their own hardware and just run it without any monthly fee really gives a billionaire sleepless nights, you know? Luxury yachts don't buy themselves...

      1. The Basis of everything is...
        Meh

        That is the entire cloudy business model.

        But running your own kit is not free. You have to pay for the kit up front (less any financial tricks), power it, cool it (more power), retain people to operate it, pay for spares and consumables, pay for the building and taxes on that building etc. And if you decide I now want more kit, you are looking at days to months before it's ready, if you want less kit you might be able to sell it on for a pittance. And you are doing everything yourself.

        So yes, cloud often works out more expensive then you expect unless you have tight control over planning and ops (yeah, I know, fantasy land in most cases), but as somebody mentioned, if you're a proper IT professional you'll have a damn good stab of nailing all of the benefits, opportunities and costs on both sides,

        Oh what the hell am I thinking, Look! New cloudy shiny shiny, I wants it my precious.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't tell me, but I'm guessing...

    Somebody's paying large tax credits to them for building a replacement DC in a desert somewhere else.

  6. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    so whats cheaper/less risky?

    OCI or buying/renting a load of iron?

  7. Kev99 Silver badge

    I still fail to see why anyone with an ounce of intelligence would want to store one bit of their proprietary, confidential, personal or business dependent data in a bunch of holes connected with vapor.

  8. Lemon 67

    "Aerial view of Linlithgow Abbey and the ruins of Linlithgow Palace with the larger town stretching behind it"

    Linlithgow has an Abbey ? Are you sure that's not St. Michaels church behind the Palace ?

  9. Danny 2 Silver badge

    My last permanent job offer was a Sun offshoot in Linlithgow, a new type of hard drive. Closed due to tech redundancy between job offer and starting date.

    I asked an American girlfriend what she liked most about Scotland. "The clouds." I was insulted because I'd driven her to Glen Coe and other beauty spots, so I said, "You must have clouds in Pittsburgh". "Yes, but you have all the different types of cloud, all at once, and all the time."

    1. Plest Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      One reason I want to move to Scotland one day, the weather! I love the weather! You get up at 6am and it might rainy or sunny, drive 50 miles up the road and it might rainy or sunny, drive home again and it might be...well you get it.

      I love the random weather north of the border, adds a little unexpected sparkle to each day you get up! Ha ha!

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        You should move to Melbourne, then, mate. That classic 80s hit "Four Seasons in One Day" was written about Melbourne weather.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Headlines

    One of the nice things about working for Sun was the head-lines

    always Sun rises, Sun shines and now sadly a bunch of Sun sets ......

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