Green Mountain builds tier III datacentre in Norway to lure financial services firms

Green Mountain has built a tier III, hydro-powered facility in Norway to attract enterprise customers, including financial services firms

Colocation datacentre provider Green Mountain has built a tier III, hydro-powered facility in Norway to attract enterprise customers, including banks, other financial services players and large system integrators from the UK and other parts of Europe.

Green Mountain chief executive Knut Molaug said: “Only 15% of banking and financial services’ applications related to trading desks require ultra-low latency and need to be hosted on-premises or in very close proximity. Banks can host the remaining 85% of their infrastructures in a low-cost, energy-efficient facility and save costs.”

Its new 21,000m2 datacentre is built on a mountain in Rennesoy, Norway. It is powered 100% by the hydro electricity generated on-site and uses free air and water cooling from local fjords. “This combination makes the facility green and secure with zero carbon emissions,” said Molaug.

UK companies could save about 30% on operating costs by using the facility, he said.

Green Mountain said enterprises could save up to £550,000 a year in power by moving away from UK datacentres to a renewable energy-powered facility. It calculates these savings by taking into account UK power prices of 8.5p per kWh for an average datacentre operating at a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.5, compared with the Norwegian facility operating at a price of 5.8p per kWh at an average PUE of 1.2.

Greater efficiencies

The renewable energy offers greater efficiencies, too. For every 1kW of power it uses, it gives an output of 100kW of cooling, said Molaug. Datacentre infrastructure management tools help the facility's users to identify datacentre inefficiencies and optimise server performance, he added.  

The Norwegian datacentre’s PUE was calculated according to The Green Grid’s PUE metric guidelines.

Cost savings for a high-density 25kW rack are claimed to be 44%, with a 10kW rack offering savings of 25%. “The facility is most suitable for high-performance computing,” said Molaug. “That is because the savings are highest when enterprises operate a 25kW rack.”

The datacentre has also received tier III status certification from the Uptime Institute. Datacentre tier standards indicate availability in a facility. The tiered system, developed by the Uptime Institute, offers companies a way to measure return on investment (ROI) and performance. The standards are on a four-tiered scale, with tier IV being the most robust. 

Low latency

The Norwegian facility will offer robust low latency for firms seeking high-performance computing or private cloud infrastructures. Being located in south-west Norway, the datacentre offers fast connections to London and Edinburgh. “The data flow has fewer stops between Norway and the UK, stopping at just the oil rigs in the North Sea,” said Molaug. “The latency is affected when there are many stops between the data destinations, and that is why latency is high when data is travelling on land.” 

The Rennesoy facility can offer a latency of up to 6 milliseconds, he added.

Despite the datacentre being powered by renewable, green energy, Green Mountain has made UPS facilities available there and tests them every month. “Back-up power has been set up after being requested by customers, but we hope never to use it,” said Molaug.

Growing demand

He added: “There is a growing demand from enterprises for security, price stability, sustainability and scalability when it comes to datacentres.”

As a result, Green Mountain plans to invest £60m in building datacentre infrastructure in Norway. As well as offering a low-cost, green datacentre, the facility is not at risk from earthquakes or tsunamis, political or economic problems, or even from other industrial activity because of its remote location.

“We also control the oxygen level to prevent fire hazards,” said Molaug. “Such security measures are aimed at attracting risk-conscious enterprises, such as the banks.”

As well as the Rennesoy facility, Green Mountain operates a datacentre in Rjukan, Norway, and its customers include DNB, Norway’s largest bank.

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