Data Centers in North Sweden

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Data Centers

in North Sweden Making data centers sustainable and energy efficient

Facebook’s 63000 square meter data center Meet Acon a rock-solid data center Boden Type DC is one of the most efficient data centers in the world The new research center Cloudberry Datacenters


Get ahead of the competition Over more than a century, North Sweden has built on its natural

advantages for energy demanding heavy industry, established a redundant infrastructure for hydropower production and distribution of electrical power and for ultra-wideband ultra-reliant digital communication. Over more than half a century, North Sweden has built-up universi-

ties and institutes, that produces the knowledge and brains that spark and facilitate industrial and societal development. Over the last two decades, these infrastructure and brainpower

assets have been further refined and combined into a menu of extraordinary offers to digitally driven industries. North Sweden will maintain and further strengthen itself as excellent region for energy intensive process industries, including data centers.

This fundamentally important industry is a main driver and enabler of the digital evolution on an operational level. These industries will demand and develop new and better digital solutions, for lower costs, better yield with stable quality in stable or dynamic flows, whether their goods are physical material or digital information. This magazine is essentially about how the digitally driven industry is growing in North Sweden. It will highlight some of the actors who

recently have, or are in progress of, doing something that is either very important or very innovative, or both! It will also reveal some of the newest elements in the menu of offers from North Sweden, to global actors within the digitally driven industry. North Sweden wishes you a delightful reading.



6 Facebook’s 63000 square meter data centerer

10 A rock-solid data center

20 One of the most efficient data centers in the world

40 An international hub for business operations based on blockchain technology

24 The new research center Cloudberry Datacenters 18 A one of a kind test facility for edge, micro grids and 5G

17 Great investment in data center research 33 The looming data center energy challenge 26 Data center is the light bulb problem of the 21st century

38 Turning data center investments into sustainable development 5


Facebook’s 63000 square meter data center


Facebook’s data center in Luleå is one of the most advanced and energy efficient of its kind. The design of the buildings is based on creating as energyefficient facilities as possible, a work that is constantly underway at Facebook.

The equipment is reduced to its basics so it runs cooler. It can also be easily accessed and repaired quickly. A few years ago, it took an hour to repair a server hard drive. At Luleå, that’s down to two minutes.

The main data hall is so big that engineers move around on scooters. Even though around 200 people work at the Luleå Data Center, the data halls are frequently empty.


This green data center is powered by 100 percent renewable hydroelectric energy generated by the nearby Lule River. With energy efficient technologies and innovative cooling systems benefiting from the cold outside air, it consumes roughly 38% less electricity and 60% less water than a traditional data center. Facebook has also open sourced all the specifications, sharing their innovations with others, collaborating and driving a more energy efficient and sustainable data center industry.

The air travels through corridors where it’s filtered and humidified for the most optimal conditions for the servers.

The enormous fans draw in the outside air to cool the tens of thousands of servers in the data hall. In the winter, when temperatures plunge to -30 degrees the situation is reversed, and the heat from the servers warm the massive buildings.



A rock-solid data center

Meet Acon


With an annual growth between 20 to 25 percent, they have been prized Super Company of the year 2016, 2017 and 2018 and nominated as one of the fastest growing companies in 2015*. Their business strategy is to offer their services at a fixed price, making it easier for customers to budget IT costs. You are known for you data center located into a mountain. Tell us more about that.

Our data center is one of the most secure there is. It is so secure that we can´t mention much more about it. But we had an external part (The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency) control our facilities to check how we live up to the requirements and recommendations that they have for crisis management actors. They classified it as adequate in all ways and also recommended our local municipality to use our data center as a backup site. An interesting detail is that the server hall cooling is done com­ pletely by free cooling. When the outdoor temperature exceeds +


9 °C, the cooling is not taken from the air but from the mountain. In a field of deep boreholes, cold water is collected for cooling. The free cooling makes the plant very efficient. You have been working with researcher from Luleå University of Technology to investigate if it is possible to recycle the waste heat from your data center. What did the study show?

We have been working together with the FUI datacenter project to look into the possibilities to reuse waste heat from our data center. It has been a matter of partly looking at how to recover it wisely and to investigate if this heat could be used to heat a nearby industry.

Interview with Johan Bålhammar, CEO of Acon and Olov Östergren, partner in Acon.

The preliminary study shows that it is technically possible and economically justifiable to recycle the waste heat. And it looks like these results can be applied to more data centers with similar conditions. That is interesting!

Yes, we are pleased with the positive results. We are now working to investigate how to do this practically and to contribute to North Sweden being a strong area in terms of technological development and environmental work. Acon has donated server equipment to a school, educate young girls in self-defense and are working to develop the city of Lycksele. What does this social responsibility side of the company come from?

We have offices in Lycksele, Umeå and Stockholm. However, Lycksele is our origin and where it all started. We feel strongly for the region and we want to contribute to a positive development of the city, to be able to retain young people here and to attract

new employees and families to move here. Therefore, we are for example working with a technical college to increase the student’s interest in technology, offer trainee positions and in the end hire some of the students after they have graduated. Have you been able to hire some of them?

Yes, we have. To focus on young people and to see the opportunities there is, has been very successful for us. More companies should do this and not only hire through traditional channels like ads. You also want to attract more female employees.

One of our business goals is to have at least 20 percent female employees. More women make us more strategic and it will be a better mix in the workplace, which is male-dominated. We believe that it is the differences that enforces development! Our focus is to hire people that can contribute to our mission. * DI Gasell Award



Why have you chosen to locate your data center in the North of Sweden? Boden is at the heart of the Nordic battery, meaning that we have access to low cost, green, hydropower, providing our clients with stable energy for all their data needs. Anne Graf, CEO of Hydro66, Boden

Because of the green energy from all the hydropower plants that you have around the Lule책 river. And it is really, really cold here. Vlado Stani, CEO of Blockbase, Boden

There are good opportunities for finding competent employees and a very good infrastructure. Ume책 University is an important part of the recruitment base. Ume책 also has a medium-temperature of two degrees throughout the year. Tomas Olsson, Consultant Manager, Atea, Ume책

Because of the clean cheap energy and the very supportive ecosystem. Attila Csehi, International sales manager H1 Systems, Boden



�Between the years 2011 and 2018, the number of data center companies in North Sweden has tripled and the industry continues to grow.�



investment in data center research Great

The northernmost region of Sweden will become world leading in data center and large-scale data management. This is the goal of the Datacenter Innovation Region project. – With our conditions, we have a unique opportunity to take a leading role in this area, says Jan-Olov Johansson, project manager at the Center for Distance-Spanning Technology at Luleå University of Technology. The data center industry is in rapid development and the global need for data capacity is increasing. Between the years 2011 and 2018, the number of data center companies in Norrbotten and Västerbotten has tripled and the industry continues to grow. Small and medium-sized companies are already adapting and developing specialized offers to the region's data centers and their customers – customers coming from different branches – and even more companies are about to start. – The innovation work must go faster than ever. Within Datacenter Innovation Region, we will design and establish an efficient and rapid innovation support system that strengthens companies' opportunities for creating large-scale data management and data centers, says Jan-Olov Johansson. The activities are aimed at strengthening the industry. The project will enable companies to carry out tests in the research institute RICE SICS North’s testing environment. In short, the innovation system should support the work of small and mediumsized companies to go from idea to business benefit.

Paula Wennberg, project manager at the Center for DistanceSpanning Technology at Luleå University of Technology, says – We already have good infrastructure conditions in the region. Now we need to continue to develop our knowledge and skills. – When the project is over, the data center industry has grown further in the region, and companies are more flexible and faster when it comes to new innovations. In addition, our region and our knowledge should be well-known even in an international perspective. The Datacenter Innovation Region project has a budget of SEK 30 million and will last for three years. In the project, small and medium-sized companies within realm of the data center businesses, will be in focus. Luleå University of Technology is the single project partner and the project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (Tillväxtverket), Region Norrbotten, Region Västerbotten, Storuman Municipality, Lycksele Municipality and Node Pole.


A one of a kind

test facility for

edge, micro grids and 5G


There is a new and unique test edge data center to run 5G use cases in. The 10-kW test facility opened in the beginning of 2019 at RISE SICS North in Luleå. - This is something totally unique, says Jeanette Nilsson, project manager Industry Relations at RISE SICS North. This is a great opportunity for us to lead the development in the edge, micro grid and 5G area. The test facility consists of a container module that is connected to two micro grids. One of the micro grids is a smart solar based system containing 10 kW of solar panels as well as micro net controls and a 30 kWh battery pack. The second micro grid consists of a micro cooling grid with a compressor, a cooling tower and a cool storage tank that can

store cold for 10 kW for 3h ie 30 KWhe. These micro grids are linked to a 5G test bed in Luleå operated by Luleå University of Technology. The idea is that companies, data centers, universities and research institutes should be able to run 5G use cases in it. The use cases can for example consist of HD videos, high quality VR / AR applications, control loops and IoT aggregation and machine learning inference. For data centers, the use cases can be, for example, load balancing in the local area network, local heating and cooling network integrations and off-grid operations.

Jeanette Nilsson, project manager Industry Relations at RISE SICS North



Boden Type DC

One of the most efficient data centers in the world


Boden Type DC is a project that is creating a data center prototype that is exceptionally energy and resource efficient, as well as cheaper to build and to operate. The goal is to bring a novel combination of existing techniques and locations to the market, a combination that has never before existed, nor tested. The 600kW prototype facility located in Boden, North Sweden, is a living lab and demonstration site, and will be tested by providers and end-users in a real operation environment with all aspects of its operations measured. The wooden, scalable, modular design uses free air and evaporative cooling technologies and is both extremely cost-effective as well as environmentally friendly to build. -The cornerstones of this data center concept, apart from the use of renewable hydropower energy, are the efficient fresh aircooling and the modular building design. We are targeting a PUE


below 1,1 meaning that this data center is one of the worlds most energy efficient in operation, says LĂĄszlĂł Kozma, project coordinator and general director at H1 Systems. - With this data center, we will be able to demonstrate that this prototype can be replicated in other European sites with less favorable conditions than here in Boden, says Nils Lindh, project communications manager and business developer at Boden Business Agency. The LuleĂĽ based research institute RISE is a part of the project and is leading the implementation of prototype testing and measurements. They will provide the IT hardware for the test

“The goal has been to build a prototype of the most energy and cost efficient data center in the world”

environment and is responsible for the data collection from all the sensors and other equipment. - RISE has the world’s leading IT and facility research datacenter in Luleå. That is a huge strength in this project. Now that the prototype building is up and running, it is time to really see if it is, as we hope, the most energy efficient data centers in the world, says Tor Björn Minde, CEO at RISE in Luleå. Another project partner is Fraunhofer IOSB. They are specifying and realizing application-oriented benchmark workloads that will help to configure and assess the performance of the data center. - This project will showcase how energy efficient data centers can be realized and how they can become an essential enabling technology for future large-scale Industry 4.0 and IoT applications, says Kym Watson, project leader at Fraunhofer IOSB.

BODEN TYPE DC The consortium behind the datacenter consists of Hungarian data center engineering specialist H1 Systems, UK based cooling manufacturer EcoCooling, German research institute Fraunhofer IOSB, Swedish research institute RISE and Boden Business Agency. The activities are funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 768875


In Sweden and the Nordic region, we are good at data center establishments. Now we add the last puzzle piece - expertise.


The new research center

Cloudberry Datacenters Luleå University of Technology has started a national research center within energy and resource-efficient data centers. The goal is to become a hub for research, development, knowledge and implementation in the data center area. Large-scale data centers require huge amounts of energy. By developing new technologies, processes, methods and strategies for increased energy efficiency, Cloudberry Datacenters will contribute to reduced carbon dioxide emissions. -In Sweden and the Nordic region, we are good at data center establishments: we got green energy, stable power grids, a stable bedrock, political continuity and cold climate. Now we add the last puzzle piece – expertise, says Michael Nilsson, project manager at CDT at Luleå university of technology (LTU). – The competence in the Swedish data center industry needs to be strengthened if we are to handle this complex business. Now we want to get a proper exchange of growth and contribute to reduced energy use. The research groups at Luleå University of Technology that will be involved cover everything from energy systems research and research about software and data clouds to research on buildings, cooling and energy recycling. – We will have a holistic approach to data centers and that makes us unique. At the university, we will work interdisciplinary and engage in several different research subjects, says Karl Andersson, executive director at CDT at LTU. Luleå University of Technology launches Cloudberry Datacenters in partnership with RISE. Participating industrial parties include Vattenfall, Node Pole, Ericsson, Umeå Energi and Skellefteå Kraft. Contributors from the public realm are, among others, the Swedish Energy Agency, Region Norrbotten, Skellefteå municipality and Luleå municipality.

Cloudberry - is a rhizomatous herb native to alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forest. It occurs naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere from 55°N to 78°N. In Europe, they grow in the Nordic countries and the Baltic states.



“Data center is the light bulb problem of the 21st century� Data center is a key part of the infrastructure that manages today’s large amounts of data, and the growth is driven by the fact that people and devices are increasingly connecting to computer networks. A problem with data centers is that they are ineffective from an energy perspective, something that researchers hope to correct.


Jon Summers is research director at the RISE SICS North Institute and his research is about how digital infrastructure such as data centers can be made more sustainable and energy efficient. He is also a new adjunct professor of Fluid Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology. His research focuses primarily on the cooling of electronics and server halls. There is no doubt that the need for data centers will increase. to become banned in Europe. Data center is the 21st century light Jon Summers mentions factors like next generation mobile bulb, because only a small part of the energy is used to transport networks – 5G, the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles, data, the rest of the energy used is made up of heat. Consequently, as examples of what will there is a great need to build more drive the ever-increasing energy-efficient data centers, and I see ”There are not many places around the volumes of data. Then the it as a fluid mechanics challenge. question arises as to how world that are doing research that has a Summers say that there are a myriad data centers can become of possibilities when designing data holistic focus, the bringing together of the more energy efficient, centers in order to transport heat. facilities and digital infrastructure.This is which is largely about getCooling is about heat transfer and this ting rid of excess heat and, is where the fluid mechanics comes something that is happening here.” most preferably, put the in. Of course, the geographic locaheat in use instead of just tion plays in as to which solutions are throwing it away. He resembles data centers with Edison's bulb. best suited. In northern Sweden, for example, you can send cold – The purpose of a light bulb is to generate light, however, the outside air using fans and filters, and similarly heat from the servlight is only one per cent of the energy consumption, and the ers can be sent away as hot air. By combining the warm air with remaining 99 per cent consists of heat. This has caused the bulb incoming cold air, it is possible to achieve the desired temperature. 28

– There is a very interesting development in northern Sweden when it comes to data centers. There is a good mix of resources like clean electricity and cold air, while there are very good research and staff with technical expertise. Summer continues, - There are not many places around the world that are doing research that has a holistic focus, the bringing together of the facilities and digital infrastructure. This is something that is happening here. There is also a good data center growth in Sweden and good opportunity to grow industrial collaborations. At Luleü University of Technology, Jon Summers will continue his research on heat regulation of data centers as well as the ability to take advantage of the heat generated largely by the servers' small computer processors (CPUs).

Jon Summers was born 1964 in Canterbury, United Kingdom. He graduated in applied mathematics at the University of Leeds in 1991. Between 1998 and 2017 he was chairman of the High Performance Computing User Group at the same university and has also received the Green Enterprise IT Award 2013.

The leading data center research facility in the Nordics Testing in a flexible full-scale datacenter - without having to invest. With access to massive amounts of research data. Add a stand-by team of world-leading scientists at your disposal, contributing to your innovation. That is RISE SICS ICE. ICE, the Infrastructure and Cloud research & test Environment, was inaugurated in January 2016. The facility is open to use primary for European projects, universities and companies. However, customers and partners from all over the world are welcome to use ICE for their testing and experiments. Read more at:


�Only a small part of the energy in a data center is used to transport data, the rest of the energy used is made up of heat.There is a great need to build more energy-efficient data centers.�



We see opportunities for data centers to significantly reduce their carbon emissions,or perhaps eliminate them altogether. Patrik Ă–hlund, CEO of Node Pole

IMASONS SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE We are proud to say that iMasons has chartered a new Sustainability Committee, chaired by Patrik Ă–hlund, the CEO of NodePole, based in North Sweden. Planned projects includes, among other things, to launch and maintain an iMasons Sustainability Champion Award. The organisation Infrastructure Masons was established to provide infrastructure executives and technical professionals an independent forum to connect, grow and give back. Read more at:


The looming data center energy challenge With billions of internet-connected devices, data is a growing part of the world’s CO2 emissions. In 2015, data centers’ energy use was higher than the entire UK’s consumption. By 2040, the world’s net electricity generation is expected to double, and fossil fuels are anticipated to be more than 50%. The traditional data center Name: blueprint results in a high and Patrik Öhlund increasing carbon footprint. Title: And, as data grows exponenChief Executive Officer of Node Pole tially, so does the urgency to address the carbon emissions caused by the industry. With energy at the core of global challenges, electricity is an important part of the puzzle. Each year, demand for electricity rises by more than 2% making it the world’s fastest growing form of delivered energy. As fossil fuels continue to be a main source for electricity, so will the burning of carbon fuels producing large amounts of carbon dioxide and therefore, causing climate change. But where will a change come from? Patrik Öhlund, CEO of Node Pole, means that companies possess much of the power to change in their own hands. He says that today’s energy-intensive industries, such as data centers, have the possibilities not only to identify sustainable regions, but to also utilize an abundance of clean, green energy at low energy prices through stable and reliable electricity grids. According to a recent IPCC special report* on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C, it’s clear that drastic change is needed. In Johan Rockström’s latest publication, he agrees with Chairman of the UN Scientific Climate Panel IPCC, Hoesung Lee’s opinion that this is the most important IPCC report so far. Looking ahead, there is hope in the form of sustainable solutions. Data centers does not need to be a threshold for the 1.5-degree target, but may actually be in line with the fact that they are invested in the right locations. And it’s these locations that will help uncover sustainable regions and allow access to green energy, as well as provide stable and strong power grids and good connectivity. Node Pole thinks that it is important to apply a holistic view of the total carbon footprint from data centers, and then act swiftly to minimize overall carbon emissions throughout the operational processes. Patrik Öhlund says that it all starts with the energy mix used in the data centers. -We need to take into account the

location-based carbon emission factors.These can be strengthened further by sourcing renewable power, and thereby supporting the growth of renewables. On site, we see opportunities for companies to significantly reduce their carbon emissions or perhaps eliminate them altogether. This will not only increase their appeal and boost awareness among end users, but also make their brand more engaging. He continues, -we feel it’s in the industry’s commercial interest to solve the problems sustainably. One thing is for sure, the growth in data consumption brings with it an increase in energy demands. And if the data center industry doesn’t want to end up like the new transport sector or heavy industry — built on unsustainable foundations and with large difficulties to change track — it has to act now. *

ABOUT NODE POLE Node Pole is Sweden’s commercial investment and development hub providing dedicated support for investors within the cloud industry, as well as other emerging energy-intensive industries such as e.g. carbon production and battery production. Known from data center establishment successes such as Facebook in the north of Sweden, Node Pole is as of 2017 owned by power companies Vattenfall and Skellefteå Kraft – with the purpose of proactively enabling new business into Sweden and for the European market. With a core team of experienced and dedicated professionals, Node Pole Alliance with 60+ members, as well as partner sites, municipalities and national Government authorities, Node Pole assures you a fast, flexible and scalable transition into a new industrial era. Read more at: Get the latest Node Pole App. Available on App Store and Google Play



Ideal conditions for wind power Markbygden Wind Farm is a cluster of interconnected wind farms in the Markbygden area west of PiteĂĽ, developed by Markbygden Vind AB. When fully realized, Markbygden will be one of the largest wind farms in Europe, with a potential of up to 1101 wind turbines and a production of about 10 TWh per year. That equals 6.6% of the total electricity production in Sweden.



Data centers require stable electric power. Data center operators often require renewable energy sources where north Sweden has unique conditions, especially from hydropower, and nowadays increasingly from wind power. Hydropower and wind power is an ideal combination, where the hydropower is used as regulating power when the wind resource varies.

Sweden has a national goal to have a 100% fossil free energy system in 2040. A big part of the new energy production required for this will be wind power and in northern Sweden the conditions for large scale wind power is ideal.

Karin Wollbrand works as development project manager at Vattenfall Windpower in Luleå. “Vattenfall has ambitious plans for wind power in north Sweden. We currently build the two windfarms Blakliden and Fäbodberget with a capacity of producing more than 1 TWh and we run development projects which potentially could give and addition of about 6 TWh to the Swedish energy system. This together would correspond to the electricity to about 1,2 million Swedish households. Most of these projects are located in northern Sweden.”


Turning data center investments into sustainable development Municipalities and regions across Sweden, the Nordics and Europe have their sights set on leveraging the growth potential of continuing data center establishments. With the ever growing need to handle and process large quantities of data comes new possibilities, but also the need for local and regional coordination to turn investments into sustainable development. We had a chat with Jakob Stoumann, senior analyst and managing director of Oxford Research Denmark, who has studied data centre-driven regional development in a number of countries. Oxford Research is a Nordic knowledge company delivering analyses and evaluations within regional and industrial development and innovation. Attracting data center investments is high on the agenda in many Nordic municipalities and regions. Do investments bring the growth and development effects local actors hope for?

That of course depends on the expectations. And concerning expectations, we can see that there has been a movement from one extreme to the other: Originally, following some of the major investments and establishments such as Google’s data center in the Kotka-Hamina region in Finland, there were high hopes for local growth and employment effects. But in many cases, there were mismatches between the multinational investors and the local actors. The multinationals didn’t know how to handle local actors, and conversely, smaller companies were not geared towards supplying these huge companies.Teething problems with certifications, language, business culture and other factors made it difficult to turn an establishment into local development. What happened then?

After some initial disappointments, the pendulum swung in the other direction, to disillusionment about the development prospects from attracting big investments. Major data centers were seen to only take power and create little local development in return. So, where are we today?

What we see is that the multinational data center owners and the local and regional actors have in fact become better at working together. Involvement of local suppliers and communication with local authorities has in many cases improved. And in return, local agencies have become better at preparing suppliers and creating communication channels and entry-points were the needs and offers of data centers and their potential suppliers can meet. What do data center establishments bring to local development, long-term?

Well, just looking at the actual establishment phase, there are long-term benefits for businesses of being involved in the construc-


tion. Supplying a construction site often means building specialist competencies, which can then be applied to other data centers. In addition, electrification and digitisation are current mega-trends, so many of those competencies also have wider applications. In addition, in terms of larger data center investments, the construction phase itself is quite long, and being the preferred supplier can be a long-term business prospect for many companies. We also see expansions and additional capacity being constructed at a lot of sites, which means further business opportunities long-term. So, there is great potential in building a good relationship. Also, the “stamp of approval” of being a preferred data center region is not to be overlooked.This can be leveraged – both by individual businesses and regional authorities – to create further opportunities in other, related sectors. How can regions, municipalities and local businesses facilitate local development stemming from data center establishments?

All experiences indicate that the more proactive the local actors are, the greater the local effects also become. Wider regional efforts make a difference, but the municipalities also play an important role and have to be involved together with other actors. It’s the municipalities that the data centers work with for a lot of their concrete needs. One major factor is that you really need to gather and market local competencies. We should remember that some of the major investors are not data center companies per se – they’re service providers who need data centers to run their services. While their establishments may sometimes be state-of-the-art, data centre innovation is not always high on their agenda, and they don’t have the knowledge of what local actors could offer. So, you need to present them with interesting solutions and possibilities to get their attention. And then, you also have to counter-invest yourself.

”All experiences indicate that the more proactive the local actors are, the greater the local effects become. Regional efforts make a difference.”

Can local businesses benefit from any particular support?

In the really short run, business support functions can help local suppliers make consortiums to supply a range of skills and products relevant to the data center industry. Aside from facilitating business cooperation, it’s also about quality assurance, documentation, all you need for dealing with multinational companies. It’s really difficult for an individual smaller company, and even some larger ones, to find their way into hyper-scale data centers – especially if we’re talking about new development projects. So, you often need a joint one-stop entrance, such as a cluster organization, that takes a coordinating role. What about creating digital regions around data centers, including smaller and mid-sized establishments?

Such indirect and long-term impacts are not really well known yet – it’s still a developing industry. One region where we are seeing some cluster dynamics around data centers, including a lot of co-location centers, is Amsterdam. Over there, a lot of services around the data centers are being built up, including those relating to the actual handling of data. But there are still quite few regions in Europe were data centers are clustering, and which have man-

aged to build clear data center cluster competencies. In the case of Amsterdam, it should also be noted that cluster dynamics seem to be mushrooming around the smaller co-location center. These are often more dependent on external suppliers of software and data solutions than the hyper-scale center many typically have mind. It’s obvious we should look into that potential, and the innovation it can bring. One avenue many are exploring is of course energy efficiency and greener data centers, including aspects such as cooling, ventilation and re-use of energy. Automation of operations is another field, where advances in software, monitoring and sensor technology, is likely to yield innovative designs. Developing smart solutions for data centers can also lead to cluster competencies, which can fit in other contexts, following the trends of electrification and digitisation. One factor to consider, however, is the great need for reliability for data centers – something that can dampen the will to try new and less tested designs. Here, smaller data centers and dedicated research actors can fill a role by creating spaces for innovation and new development.



North Sweden is an international hub for business operations based on blockchain technology North Sweden in general and Boden in particular, is not only Europe’s largest hub for currency mining. It is also right at the heart of the Swedish blockchain node an international hub for business operations based on blockchain technology. Why is the blockchain technology so interesting? It is a new and emerging technology that holds a great potential for new business models. One of the most interesting aspects is the ability to use the blockchain technology to create mutual trust between business partners that do not know each other, thus reducing or perhaps eliminating the need for a third-party intermediate, such as a bank or a law firm.This is likely to have a disruptive impact on many existing business models.We believe that it is important that more people learn about the new technology and start to think about how it can be used in their own business operations.We need to gear up to leverage on this and create new business solutions to secure future growth. Patrik Öhlund, CEO of Node Pole

Blockchain is more than just bitcoin and all the other digital currencies. At Hydro66 we are very interested to follow both our customers and what is happening generally in the blockchain community.We are excited about all the different business opportunities and all the different new technologies that are coming out in various sectors. One of the most interesting things about blockchain technology is trust. Being able to trust contracts, institutions and transactions is going to be much easier with distributed databases as opposed to centralized ones.

Because of the many operational blockchain related companies here, there is a very strong blockchain network in Boden. Vlado Stanic, CEO of Blockbase

Blockchain North In May 2018 and 2019, there was a blockchain conference in Boden. The events explained why blockchains have the potential to revolutionise the world economy. Topics covered included what a blockchain is, how and why society and businesses will be transformed and its importance for digital business and customer value. The participants were given the opportunity to listen to experts, network, participate in the discussions and visit a data center.

The Blockchain North conferences were arranged by Boden Business Agency/Boden Business Park and Luleå University of Technology. Sponsors included Node Pole, Norrlandsfonden, the European Regional Development Fund, Region Norrbotten, Region Västerbotten, EcoCooling, Hydro66 and Systemair.

Anne Graf, CEO of Hydro66



Sweden #1 lowest industrial electricity costs in Western & Northern Europe

#1 share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption in EU

#2 globally for fastest average real broadband speed

#5 in the world in data center risk index

#3 in the world for networked readiness

Source: Business Sweden, Fastmetrics, European Environment Agency, World Economic Forum, Data Centre risk index, Eurostat 43

Towards a Refined Regional Digital Strategy Senior R&D strategist Mikael Börjesson gives his view on global digitalization and regional development. North Sweden have developed and marketed services and values, based on our regional assets, to support IT-industry production processes to support data center’s to advance their quality and efficiency of operations and to reduce their total cost of ownership. Because our focus has been so strong on data center’s operations, we have underestimated the importance to also have an understanding of how data center’s act on their market, how they get their income, who asks for their services and what services are and will be asked for, now and in the future.


A Three-Level View

Understanding Business Factors

With awareness of the need to gain more knowledge and to broaden the perspective, a three-level view is proposed below, aimed to be a vehicle along the road towards a refined regional digital strategy. Today, as global businesses and investors evaluate geographical options, North Sweden is ranked in top globally, when it comes to; 1) capacity and reliability of green power and communication infrastructures, 2) political and geographical availability, stability and predictability and 3) driving capability of available workforce. Some industries, like data center’s, also appreciate 4) cold climate and 5) clean air and water. With several unique experimental facilities for datacentre technology R&D already in place, including the recently launched 5G Testbed – these regional advantages are, and will become, even more significant. While maintaining and increasing the efforts to communicate and leverage on these advantages, we should be humble and embrace that global industry actors occasionally do make mistakes and choose to invest in other regions. Why do they? Do we really understand the new types of global industrial actors, being perhaps radically different from the types of industries we are already acquainted with? How could we support them even better in their site selection processes? Maybe not just doing this to support them, but to support ourselves in discovering and understanding the different thinking and preferences of these industries. Could we become even more proactive? Yes we can! Unintentionally, I just quoted the former US president Obama. Nevertheless, I do believe we can!

Living in a region, historically dominated by process and manufacturing industries, I believe many of us tend to see business, too much as a matter of production. When Facebook express their satisfaction with how North Sweden have enabled them to improve their data canter’s even further, we North Swedes recognize and understand this immediately! I dare say though, we generally understand less about their business model, what they see key markets or who their competitors are! For sure, and for good reasons, Facebook is no different from other global industries, as they do not put this kind of businessstrategic information very much to the public – Who does? However, in spite of the obstacle to get solid facts, we should put more interest and effort into getting a better, though maybe still approximate, understanding of how business factors impacts their selection processes. We should not stay satisfied in just understanding their production factors. Advance on Operational Level

As mentioned, North Sweden will maintain and further strengthen itself as excellent region for energy intensive process and manufacturing industries, including data center’s. These fundamentally important industries are main drivers and enablers of the digital evolution on operational level. These industries will demand and develop new and better digital solutions, for lower costs, better yield with stable quality in stable or dynamic flows, whether their goods are physical, material or digital information, as with the data center business.

Author: Mikael Bรถrjesson Senior R&D strategist, Founder and CEO of Aialax AB

Grow on Tactical Level

Services are becoming more advanced and more complex, as they rely on many underlaying information and communication resources. The capability to efficiently handle and integrate many underlaying storage computing and communication services into a quality-guaranteed end-to-end service is of great importance. This can be viewed as a Tactical Level. Market demands for services in this level are growing rapidly and is now key target for providers of technology, solutions and services. A few companies based in our region offer such solutions. Because market is growing, we should strengthen our efforts to understand this phenomenon and approach more actors. Our universities have research groups active and engaged to tackle open issues and challenges, in collaboration with industries being R&D active in this knowledge area. Enter into Strategic Level

As the end-to-end integrated services, on the tactical level just mentioned, become available, this enables the opportunity to implement high-level functionality that is capable of finding, selecting and using combinations of services to accomplish even more complex tasks. As artificial intelligence technologies mature, we can foresee development of intelligent entities that is capable to discover engage and combine services, in order to accomplish complex missions and tasks, in best possible safe ways. This can be seen as the strategic level since functional entities on this level have capability to break down a complex mission into tasks,

adapted to available services. Since this type of development is already under way, though we have very few such actors in the region, it is important to analyse opportunities and take action that catalyses industrial action, on this level, in North Sweden. Grasp the System of Levels

Systems on strategic level will utilize systems on tactical level, which in turn will utilize systems and resources on the operational level. An actor in the digital industry, independent on which level it is acting, must have systems that are business intelligent enough to handle, in normal cases autonomously, a business valid interaction with surrounding systems. It is, therefore, of profound importance for our region, to build and continuously improve awareness and fundamental knowledge about the opportunities and consequences of automation and digitalization, as to grasp the system of all three levels! Best results will be achieved if this could be organised as a long-term strategic collaboration between industry, academy, public authorities and relevant NGOs. Due the strong interdependences between levels mentioned, such awareness initiative is important, even if industries operational level will continue to be predominant, for quite a while, in our region. Footnote: The way operational level, tactical level and strategic level are defined and used here, may differ from how the same level-notions are used by other professionals and institutions.



Welcome to North Sweden!

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LuleĂĽ University of Technology, Graphic Services 2019

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