3 min read

The 4D Story – From a bedroom to the best of British tech

10 August 2020

Back in 1999 when everyone else in the IT world was worrying about the Millennium Bug, David Barker was launching a new hosting business. Never mind that he was not quite 14 years old – David had a vision, time on his hands and a keen geek streak.

[Read how 4D has NEVER had a power failure]

4D Data centre exterior

Working around school hours

Out of David’s bedroom and off the back of doing some web design work (including a failed attempt to launch a search engine) 4D Hosting was launched in November 1999 with £50 from doing some web design and a hosting reseller account. Within months he was hiding out in the school library on his lunchbreak, taking support calls from customers. With an eye for the market and a curiosity about what else he could achieve, David quickly bought some servers from eBay so he could run his own shared hosting platform and it wasn’t long before he needed somewhere to put them.

David's first trip to a data centre carrying the first two servers required a train, the tube and a long walk – all done after school hours, of course.

Over the course of long nights and even longer weekends in the data centre, David got to know his way around. As well as providing shared hosting, he started offering dedicated servers and reselling the unused space in the racks. He left school at 17 after a particularly good few months of sales, got a driving license (far easier than taking servers on the tube!) and began looking at more serious growth of the business.

David barker 4D founder and CIO"4D Hosting was born out of wanting to support customers with their web presence. Over the years that ethos has driven us forward, ensuring that when we deliver for our customers they know that we're there as an extension of their own teams."

David Barker  |  Founder and CTO

David’s data centre idea

Over the next few years the dedicated hosting and colocation sides grew rapidly, with expansion into multiple data centres around London – but he had his eye on the next phase of 4D. He was using good data centres but he could see there was a gap in the market.

  • Where was the customer service?
  • Where was the support for more than just a reboot (and why did a reboot take hours)?
  • Why couldn’t you get all your data centre needs (space, power network, and full support) from one company?

He felt sure he could create the kind of data centre and hosting company that helps customers grow by being an extension of their business and managing their IT needs without them needing to know the complexities of routing or running their own 24/7 team.

Old 4D logo 730 wide4D's original logo

A new partnership

Meanwhile, not far away, Jack Bedell-Pearce was looking to make a change. Having worked as an IT consultant after university, Jack had talked his way into a marketing job before co-founding a recruitment agency, where he’d taught himself everything you need to know to run a business, from HR to bookkeeping to sales. But Jack missed the IT side of things and was ready to apply all his business acumen to a new challenge.

Fortunately for David and Jack – and for all of us at 4D – these two young men had a common connection: Jack’s sister was a friend of David’s from his school days. And Jack’s dad, Keith Bedell-Pearce was also open to beginning a new chapter. So, when David spotted a sign advertising a data centre for sale in nearby Byfleet, Surrey, he asked Keith to help him make his vision a reality.

The deal was done in 2007. With Keith’s backing, David was able to get his data centre project off the ground – but he needed a business partner that could help him see it through to fruition. Jack was the obvious choice, with his commercial experience and IT expertise. Eager to put his know-how to use, Jack bid farewell to the recruitment industry and came into 4D as an equal partner in October 2007 – just a little under a year before the global financial crisis hit.

jack"I can’t quite believe it was over 13 years ago when it was just the two of us and we opened 4D Surrey. I count myself very lucky to work with David and all the other 4D’ers who are as passionate about 4D as me. It’s been an incredible journey."

Jack Bedell-Pearce  Founder and CEO


Those first years of running a business (and a newly opened data centre) through a global recession were, what you might call, a good learning experience. But the business came out the other side the stronger for it and has been growing ever since.

In 2017, with the Byfleet site almost at capacity, 4D acquired a new data centre in Gatwick. As well as growth in storage capacity, we have also diversified into other areas, including cloud, connectivity and cyber security.

What the future holds

With the high capacity cooling and power infrastructure at our Gatwick site, we're excited to continue helping companies deploy the next generation of computing with HPC. We've also got an attentive eye on 5G and quantum computing, and we're committed to delivering the most innovative solutions to our customers. 

We're continually expanding our list of clients, and filling out both of our data floors. When we first started we worked through an economic recession, and we're proud to say we've also been a source of support and guidance for our customers through a global pandemic.

Through growth and innovation, no matter what the world throws at us, our ambition is always be trusted by our customers to deliver the best UK managed IT infrastructure.

Where 4D is now

From the outset, there's always been more to 4D Data Centres than just a high-tech storage area. Security is our first priority, obviously – but we want to give customers more than that. Whether it’s the loan of a screwdriver, 24x7 technical support, or someone to brainstorm with, we’re here to help make your life easier.

And these days we’re not limited to a hushed chat in the school library over lunch – we’re here for you 24/7.

So, why not visit us and see for yourselves?

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4D Logo Thumbnail About 4D

Your trusted managed infrastructure partner.

We've built our reputation helping hundreds of organisations like yours leave behind reactive systems and processes while keeping pace with an ever-changing threat landscape. 

Our colocation, cloud, connectivity and security services are tailored to your exact business requirements, and we pride ourselves on being a people-focused data centre, consistently delivering a quality service for our customers.

Operating since 2007, 4D Data Centres has won multiple awards and proven our reliability by never having a power outage and guaranteeing 99.999% network uptime.