When Facebook chose Luleå for establishing its first data centre outside the United States, it paved the way for a whole new industry in Norrbotten – or The Node Pole, as the region is known by the data centre industry. We met Andy Long and Paul Morrison of the British company Hydro66, newly settled in the city of Boden to build a completely new, revolutionary data centre solution.
The 8000 m2 modular data centre is less than 500 meters from a hydro power station, served by a new fully redundant 145kV 120MW substation. The doors will open in May 2015 and Hydro66 is already looking to expand their capacity.
Tell us about Hydro66 and the business idea.
Andy: The idea behind Hydro66 is to build the greenest, most efficient data centre in the world. We want to build it in a way that allows all sizes of business to benefit from the efficient facility, without having to build their own data centre.
“We’ve looked at hundreds of sites across Europe and across the world, and in the end it was an easy decision to come to The Node Pole and Boden. “ – Andy Long, Hydro66
How did you find The Node Pole?
Andy: The region has a climate that is perfectly suited to hosting. We knew that Facebook had made a big investment in Luleå, but it is only for their own use. Our idea is to build a facility that will allow any company to locate their internet servers in a very efficient environment.
What were the key elements when Hydro66 chose The Node Pole?
Andy: We’ve looked at hundreds of sites across Europe and across the world, and in the end it was an easy decision to come to The Node Pole and Boden. The conditions in the area, with the Arctic climate and ability to use locally generated hydro-electric power, are ideal for our aim to build a data centre producing the lowest possible carbon footprint throughout construction as well as operation.
But there are a number of other factors: we liked the local skills available in the community, backed by the technical university in Luleå. We are determined to use local contractors and local expertise to build our facility. The environment and the climate, with the possibility to use the cold climate and fresh air, means we can cool equipment more efficiently and sustainable. We use energy generated by hydro power, which helps our aim to have zero carbon footprint. And, the whole infrastructure in Boden is unique, with four high capacity regional power grids converging, giving us huge expandability for our facility. It is also great to be in Sweden, as a part of EU. It is a stable environment from all perspectives and also from the point of view when it comes to data security: European customers don’t want customer data to leave EU.
Can you describe the business climate in The Node Pole?
Paul: We have had great support and help from the local community: The Node Pole, Boden Business Agency and Länsstyrelsen. Meeting these contacts in London and across Europe, understanding they are global players, was very important to us. All actors have been very welcoming and we have made great new friends here. Also the University, the Science Park and the access to well educated students with the right skills is very important. This region is developing into an energetic and vibrant spot, regionally and internationally attractive. It feels great to be part of that.
Andy: Ever since we first came here, whenever we ran into an issue, we’ve always found easy solutions with help of our colleagues and associates. It is great to work with people who show initiative and are willing to take some elements of risk. It is also great to work in a friendly community where people are close to and know each other. Even doing the initial site selection, for our 6 month test facility, Paul was looking around for a site. He thought ”this might be it”. When he went back to look at it the day after, they were already digging the trench for the power. That type of dedication and action tells you all you need to know about the mentality.
About Hydro66 Hydro66 is a company dedicated to offering ground breaking colocation and hosting services which dramatically change the impact that companies running power-hungry IT services have on the environment, whilst significantly lowering their operational costs compared to traditional data centres in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia Pacific regions. Offering retail and wholesale capacity in state-of-the-art data centres that combine unrivalled power availability and free-air cooling with redundant fibre connectivity, Hydro66 delivers green data centre solutions which are ideal for enterprise applications such as private cloud services, power intensive high performance computing and large scale storage deployments. Read more at www.hydro66.com