Growth powered by sustainability: atNorth’s high efficiency data center in Stockholm

Renewable energy, very low PUE and low costs that are passed onto customers. Ready for NVIDIA GDX, HPC, AI clusters and general Co-Lo. Read our review.
29 June 2021 | 44 Shares

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Just a few years ago, if organizations wanted to use a colocation data center that was highly power-efficient and used renewable energy, costs would be high and choices limited. As we’ve discovered over the last few months here on the pages of Tech HQ, the Nordic region is providing just such facilities — yet with some of the lowest TCOs in the world.

Previous to this new generation of Nordic data centers, highly power-efficient provisions were usually poorly connected to the grid (so potentially less resilient), had fewer data connectivity options, and their geographic distance from data hubs created high operating latencies. Plus, they were literally hard-to-reach in terms of shipping and setup, and local services were limited.

While those previous low power cost plus high latency services matched some workloads, the far-flung DCs were not suitable for production-grade colocation.

In the last few years, a lot has changed. Colocation facilities in the Nordic region operate in areas where cost efficient, renewable energy is available. Data centers offer high bandwidth, low latency connectivity, and are highly power efficient. They are, therefore, inherently less expensive than comparably-equipped data centers in mainland Europe. Power cost savings can be passed onto customers and suddenly, IT Managers on the co-lo procurement trail can have their cake and eat it too.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at some of the factors in this turnaround of events, and, introducing some of the major DC players in the Nordic regions of Europe: especially Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden. Here, national and international infrastructure provides low latencies and dark fiber capacities that are fast reaching what’s available in FLAPD facilities (Frankfurt-London-Amsterdam-Paris-London-Dublin).

Couple those capabilities with some of the lowest energy costs on the planet — energy drawn almost entirely from renewable sources — and companies seeking co-location options suddenly have a much larger palette from which to choose.

One Nordic data center provider, atNorth is in the process of onlining a new facility in Stockholm, Sweden, that offers cutting edge DC design (and therefore best-in-class metrics). It’s powered by renewables and offers high-end co-location options at per kW costs and with PUE figures that are remarkable.

That’s down in part to the Swedish government’s concerted investment in interconnectivity with the European mainland’s internet backbone. It also has a lot to do with the atNorth’s DC design ethos. The company’s been producing “Green IT” data centers for many years, and the new facility brings together high-density rack capacity and extreme power efficiency, powered by some of the lowest-cost, renewable energy in the world.

Colocation of compute hardware at scale like those for financial analysis, risk calculation, automotive manufacturing management, and research are available in this new facility, with prices and options that would be highly attractive without the added bonuses of renewables and high efficiency. When you put it all together, the total cost of ownership is one of the lowest world-wide.

atNorth has been operating data center facilities in Iceland for several years, using the country’s specific hydro and geothermal resources to provide certifiably green yet high-end data center facilties. The new campus in Stockholm incorporates the company’s years of experience with new technology, offering GPU infrastructure optimized racks, massive HPC capability, and extreme power-efficiency thanks to the re-use of excess heat to power the central district’s heating systems.

In a later article here on Tech HQ, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the technologies inside and around the atNorth Stockholm facility, looking at some specific use cases and the advantages that organizations will receive when deploying here. We’ll also touch on atNorth’s green credentials being put to practical use in Stockholm’s goal to be zero-emission by 2025 [PDF].

The fact is that being “green” used to be an additional cost. Now, sourcing colocation data centers for their zero-carbon (or approaching zero-carbon) approach can also yield best-in-class performance and connection speeds, as well as some of the cheapest facilities available on the globe today.

Watch this space for more on atNorth, or if you want to read more information, click through from here right now.