Arctic Region Data Centers are Happening Now

Posted on February 4th, 2014 by admin in Geo-Politics, Scenarios, Technology

It’s not exactly a popular topic, but location of data centers for major cloud companies such as Google and Amazon is a really big deal. The location alone can determine a major component of costs of electric power, cooling for server farms, and propagation delay between the user and the what they seek from the service, such as a search result.

Scandinavian countries are the new, cool location for data centers these days (pun intended). As BusinessWeek reports,

Google (GOOG) has spent more than $1 billion to buy and renovate a former paper mill in Finland that can store its user data. Nestled in the caves of a Norwegian mountain, a regional IT company uses a facility built by a local investment group and cooled by a fjord. Microsoft (MSFT) says it will spend $250 million to construct a data center in Finland to manage its cloud services, as part of its agreement to acquire Nokia’s (NOK) device business.

BusinessWeek goes on to say:

Google began searching for a wider range of data center locations about a decade ago, heading to such places as Oklahoma and Washington; Microsoft, (AMZN), and Yahoo! (YHOO) soon followed, placing data near dams in Oregon and in rural areas such as Iowa that offered low-priced wind power. When they couldn’t bring costs down further, they turned to Scandinavia, with its abundance of inexpensive energy and cool air that made air conditioning unnecessary. In Finland, Google uses wind power and frigid water from the Arctic Ocean to cool its computers. In Norway, similar seawater cooling techniques have created what local IT services firm ErgoGroup calls the greenest data center in the world.

It will be very interesting to see if any or all of these new arctic data centers connect to some of the fiber optic communications cables being routed through the Arctic Circle.


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