The Nordics are a hub for data centres. Facebook and Apple are setting them up in Denmark and Amazon are joining them in Sweden. Never far behind, Google have bought a plot next door to Apple, so as not to feel left out.
But why here? And what even are data centres?
Data centres are basically the engines that power all the buzzwords you hear every day. The Internet of Things, AI, blockchain and lots of others all depend on data centres to work.
Data centres store all the data collected by, and necessary for, these futuristic-sounding processes and technologies to function. Think all of the data that companies and private individuals produce, through their processes, buying habits and a ton of other activities.
Whether it’s collected through your phone, tablet, computer or even refrigerator, every piece of data that is sent to the mysterious ‘cloud’ actually ends up in one of these places.
But it’s a lot of data.
Racks, servers, cables, cooling, UPS, switch gears. All power-hungry components that are essential for building a large-scale data centre. So power hungry are they that there are environmental concerns about the energy consumption that data centres are involved in.
Last year alone, data centres used far more electricity than the UK’s total consumption, which means a huge carbon footprint, and skyrocketing running costs per centre.
Which is what brings us, and data centres, to the Nordics.
Scandinavia is admired all over the world for it’s adoption of renewable energy. 72% of the energy in Denmark comes from renewable sources and the rest of our Nordic cousins are following suit. This means that, by powering your data centre here, you’re not making quite as much of a dent in the Ozone layer.
Data centres also kick out a lot of heat. Therefore, to cut down on cooling costs it makes sense to place them somewhere cold. Enter the Nordics again.
Taking it one step further and combining these two points, in Sweden Interxion have even installed heat exchangers which take the excess heat from their centres and direct it into Fortum Värme (now Stockholm Exergi)’s district heating system. That represents a major win for both companies: Interxion keep their data centres cooler for a lower cost and Fortum get to use the recycled heat.
The Danes, and Facebook, are in on the action too. They’re also embracing heat recycling to heat a nearby neighbourhood to their Odense cloud campus.
This technology has enabled data centres and their respective companies to move from being seen as a drain on resources and environmentally damaging proposition to welcome neighbours.
With continued digitization across all industries and data centres’ energy use and proliferation forecasted to continue to grow, it’s imperative they’re in an accommodating place.
Throw in the fact that Scandinavia has some of the most reliable internet connections in the world and is the easiest place in Europe to secure construction permits and do business, it seems like it’s a no-brainer.
As a specialist in this market and this region it’s a really exciting thing to be a part of. I can’t wait to see the next stage of development in this fascinating area and hope that this match made in heaven continues long into the future!
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