When it comes to data center operations, temperature plays a big part. In fact, 80% of data centers use or are looking to use hot or cold aisle containment systems in order to regulate temperatures.
These high-powered tech rooms handle a lot of energy, and a lot of heat as a result. In order to prevent these systems from overheating, cold aisle containment is used to circulate air to the hot areas of the data center and keep things calm.
But in place of these containment systems, a number of powerful companies have chosen to move their data centers to colder regions in order to save money on energy costs and more effectively cool their systems.
Facebook, Amazon, and Google have recently taken up residency close to the Arctic Circle, in some of Europe’s most northern points. There, operational costs are much lower, there is much more space, and electricity prices are some of the lowest in the world.
Vertiv, formerly Emerson Network Power, just recently released its list of data center infrastructure trends for 2017, including thermal management (though some companies are clearly ahead of the game).
In addition to utilizing cool climates, Vertiv also believes that water cooling systems may become more popular, as well.
Moving data centers to Nordic regions can cause other issues, however. While physically moving the centers to remote parts of the globe is the easy part, transporting bits and bytes between data centers and key networks far away increases costs. While energy costs are much lower, the transportation costs may cause companies to break even.
Because of these, the prices of companies that use cold climate data canters is still comparable to those with centers located in more accessible central Europe.
Of course, Scandinavian countries aren’t the only suitable geographic areas for thermal containment structures. On the other side of the Atlantic lies Canada, the world’s fourth largest country by land area and home to the tenth highest per-capita income.
Canada on its own is highly developed, and has already successfully employed a number of renewable resources that are reliable and inexpensive. Its northern borders stretch well into the Arctic Circle, the prime location for cold containment, and its proximity and accessibility to the U.S. are ideal for North American tech businesses to keep their data centers within a reasonable constraint for bits and bytes to travel.
While the future of data center development is largely up in the air, we can expect companies to begin experimenting with new infrastructure in 2017. From an American perspective, the potential of sourcing our data centers to one of our closest allies and neighbors reduces the risk of potential hacking and foreign government surveillance.