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Photos: How cool is this? Datacenter at Arctic Circle's edge

At about 50 miles from the Arctic Circle, the frequent -25C (-13F) winter temperatures make the question of how to keep equipment racks cool less of an issue for the Hydro 66 datacenter.
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By Toby Wolpe on
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The location

Because of the Hydro 66 datacenter's location at Boden in northern Sweden, the site is naturally chilly. Even in the warmest summer month of July, the thermometer rarely rises above 16C (61F).

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Sub-Arctic site

All the data hub's power is generated by a 78MW capacity hydro-electric dam and power station 500m from the facility on the local Luleälven river.

A new electricity substation has been built next to Hydro 66, with an initial 120MW capacity, expandable to 250MW, and four paths to the regional and national grids from the facility's dedicated resilient feed.

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The main buildings

Here's an aerial view of the datacenter itself, showing the main building linked to the central spine, from which the two 500m2 1.6MW data halls run off at right angles.

The current buildings are merely the first stage of construction. In a series of additional phases running through until 2018, the spine will be extended and a further 12 data halls built, creating a 12,000m2 technical area and a total capacity of 40MW.

Adding to the site's green credentials, the buildings have been constructed from local materials with a net negative carbon footprint.

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PUE and cooling

In the foreground, you can see the inlet air vents for Data Hall 1, with the main building in the distance.

Because of the datacenter's naturally cold environment, coupled with its refrigerant-free air-cooling, its owners claim a power-usage effectiveness, or PUE, of less than 1.05.

That figure compares with an industry average, self-reported PUE of 1.7 in 2015, according to services advisory group the Uptime Institute.

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The cold aisle

Here's a view of a contained cold aisle, with the inlet to the equipment racks, looking towards the air-conditioning unit.

The datacenter is designed to take advantage of free-air cooling all year round, with supplemental adiabatic cooling required for a few days of the year when external temperatures rise.

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The hot aisle

To the right of the hot aisle is the heat exit for the equipment racks. The racks are 1,000mm by 600mm but options for 800mm, custom racks or cages are also available.

For connectivity, the datacenter offers four resilient fiber pathways, with bandwidths from 1Gbps to 1Tbps immediately accessible, and 10Tbps-plus available on three months' notice.

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Air-conditioning units

In this image, the adiabatic air-conditioning units are visible to the right of the hot aisle.

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A and B feeds

Above the equipment cabinets, the overhead red and blue busbars are apparent, providing fully independent A and B feeds to every rack.

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Datacenter's spine

The datacenter's spine behind the main building contains the flywheel uninterruptible power supply and low-voltage switchgear.

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Electrical plant

Here's a close-up of the electrical equipment housed in the spine.

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Smoke detection, fire suppression

Together with UPS systems and LV switchgear, the common services found in Hydro 66's central spine also include VESDA, or very early smoke detection apparatus, and IG55 fire suppression.

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Hydro 66 services offered by

Here are the installation's main transformer fuses.

Services offered by Hydro 66 include colocation, and facilities for businesses to host their own servers or storage, or takes suites, or even entire halls.

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Main transformer fuses

The main transformer fuses in close-up.

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