Military-grade security, efficient energy – and very cheap electricity
A new data centre in Norway offers significant reductions in carbon emissions, and is available for services on Britain’s G-Cloud.
The Green Mountain data centre in Stavanger, Norway, uses hydro-electric power, and water -cooling, and is built into an old, recycled Nato hideaway. The owner Smedvig claims the 22, 000 square metre data centre has the world’s lowest Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating and a practically non-existent carbon footprint.
The building, housed inside a mountain on an island in a fjord, was used during the cold war by Nato but is now missile and mine free. Smedvig claims it is also the world’s most secure institution, with 60 metres of rock creating a barrier to intruders, electromagnetic storms, tidal waves – and even missile attack.
The data centre uses sea water to cool its halls and power from local hydro-electric dams, which gives it a PUE of 1.1. The PUE is the total power used, divided by the power delivered to the IT equipment, so a figure close to one means little power is being wasted.
However, the biggest selling point is not the security or green credentials but the cheapness of the electricity supply, said Green Mountain’s CEO Knut Molaug.
Wholesale electricity costs 12 cents per kilowatt hour in the UK, according to Eurostat, but less than half that (five cents/KWh) in Norway. Green Mountain has three different power sources from three separate hydro-dams, so clients can achieve high fault tolerance without needing to invest in backup generators, claimed Green Mountain.
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) estimates UK power tariffs could double in 10 years. Some consumer groups put the estimate higher, with Energy Helpline predicting a rise of 150 percent in the next eight years.
“We can offer clients consistent costs for the next 10 years,” said Molaug. “These days most data centre purchases are signed off by chief financial officers and that proposition could be very attractive.”
One co-location analyst visiting the site confirmed the data centre’s security credentials. Speaking to ChannelBiz, he said, “It’s like something out of a James Bond film. It’s a building inside a rock on an island surrounded by security cameras. It’s got everything except a swimming pool full of crocodiles to drop your enemies in.”
Nordic countries are all offering data centre spaces, as they all have a climate that makes it easy to cool servers, as well as an abundance of cheap power. In Iceland, Verne Global also has a redundant NATO base like Green Mountain – albeit one in a large hangar, not a cave.
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