Network in focus at the Networking Meetup in Glostrup

Strong connections were in focus – both for humans and machines – at DDI’s networking meetup 10th September 2019 at GlobalConnect in Glostrup. Besides the delicious cakes DDI’s members were offered a glimpse into the future of the next generation of data centers and a strengthening of the personal network among the 55 members that participated. 

Cloud, edge computing and the Internet of Things are influencing the development of tomorrow’s data centers, and at the same time, more international data connections are opening up for new opportunities. This was the framework for this Networking Meetup, where Henrik Hansen, director of DDI, kicked off the day with a status for the association.

“The recent period has been an exciting period – unfortunately with a few cancellations as well, but there is still a lot of investments here in Denmark,” he said, illustrating  his point with an overview map of the many published projects.

“We are currently working on an exciting program for our activities next year. Here, DDI will focus even more on export opportunities, work with the political framework and arrange more study trips, including the Netherlands, France and USA,” said Henrik Hansen.

The first presentation of the day was delivered by the host, GlobalConnect, where Nordic Sales Director, Thomas Caspersen Nielsen, gave an account of a new significant trend in the market.

“Once again we see a great demand for dark fiber left on the menu – not only in the Nordic countries, but also in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. And within the next few months we will be ready with a new connection between Norway and Amsterdam, so we have a lot of capacity, but we also see a great, international need, “said Thomas Caspersen Nielsen.

“At the moment we see a great demand for the new submarine cables coming into Denmark and Norway as well as internally between the countries. A lot is happening right now with connectivity, and for the first time in many years we once again experience a great need for high fiber dark fiber capacity. ”

Through the history of the company, GlobalConnect has supplemented its own growth with around 20 acquisitions and after merging with Broadnet and Nianet, they now have access to 42,000 km of fiber cables in the ground and appetite to challenge in the entire Nordics and Northern Europe.

“Strategically, we are still in infrastructure, but we see a lot happening in the connectivity market. We get customers who do not want an entire server room, but smaller units closer to their operations or customers. Last time we counted, we had customers from 22 countries, so there are many different needs for connectivity, “said the director of GlobalConnect, which operates 19 co-location data centers in 11 cities and has recently acquired Netteam.

 

Marianne Rønne, Nordic Marketing Manager at Interxion talked about a different approach to the strategy in her business.

 

“We’re a little different, because we’re building co-lo’s in the capital cities and focusing on main cloud hubs. Right now we’re opening CPH2 as an extension of our data center campus in Copenhagen, but we’re growing out of it, so we’ve purchased new land in Ballerup. Many companies close their onsite data centers, so much data is moving, and from our point of view it makes sense to move from  own ‘basement’ to co-lo, where you have direct access to both local and global cloud. We think that co-los will serve as glue between cloud and connectivity providers, ” sounded the assessment from Marianne Rønne.

Interxion’s Copenhagen campus will also be connected to AquaComms’ new “Mermaid cable”, which illustrates another strong trend.

“All over the world, the investments in underwater cables are increasing tremendously – not only in the Nordic countries, but here we have many investments coming. But of course it is a little ‘hen and egg’ – we are not as developed as the rest of Europe, because we simply have fewer inhabitants here. Conversely, things are gaining momentum, as there are many investments right now, and of course we need connectivity to attract more hyper scale operators”.

 

Vincent Rais from Uptime Institute’s Department of Technology Resilience and Infrastructure Risk Management was next in line to present his talk on how to make digital infrastructure more resilient.

“If we go back to 1995, there were most value for money in protecting data centers, which accounted for the vast majority of outage. There were very few service providers and a very simple software that sometimes took several years to update, so it was very robust. The infrastructure was for the most part the data center itself,” he determined.

“Now that has changed drastically. According to our estimates, the data center itself accounted for only 33% of outage in 2019, and you really depend on an entire supply chain. In that regard, it was a little shocking to us that many companies we spoke to, did not have that approach to provide a full service across the digital infrastructure. Instead, they focused on the data center itself and did not look at the end-to-end delivery, and many of them therefore expose themselves to a higher risk,” explained Vincent Rais.

He pointed out that outages in digital services tend to hit media headlines and often cost millions of dollars – in addition to the longer-term image loss. Therefore, Uptime Institute also maintains a database of all known outages in order to gather knowledge.

“We have been doing this for a little over two years now on a global scale by collecting everything that hits the media. It is a pretty good source of research, because it happenson a daily basis around the world. We rarely see that it is actual ‘chaos’ monkeys, who cause the problems by pulling out the plugs, but it is all about maturing the organization and getting them into the gear that stability requires,” Vincent Rais pointed out.

“And frankly, you also have to think about how to build stability into your supplier relationships. If it all comes from a single supplier anyway, is it then stable?”

 

The final presentation of the day was given by Jörgen Strandberg, Advanced Technology Solutions Director at Anixter, who came up with his experience of the trends that take place behind the data center walls.

“90 percent of data stays inside the data center and never leaves it – for example, when a service is requested. And in the past, internal traffic went ‘north-south’ in a traditional data center structure, but now it goes more ‘east-west’ in a flatter structure that provides many more connections. This results in new challenges, for example the much higher Ethernet speed to support the cloud, ” he explained.

Technically, the so-called port breakout technology means that one physical gate can mean e.g. two gates in practice. For example, you can buy 100 GBe gates even if they are not currently used and then split them up.

“It can save up to 50% on both internal network procurement and power consumption, reduce the number of chassis and the gate can be reused in the next generation. We can now buy a switch and configure it at different speeds in the gates – it is no longer 1:1, but this also means that it becomes more complicated. Overall, we have many new options, so it also means we have to make some active choices,” Jörgen Strandberg pointed out.

Data Centers Denmark event focused on sustainability and innovation

The debate at the event went from “villains” to “electricity-racism” to talks about the “secret sauce” to success. But the focus was without a doubt on data center sustainability at every layer of the industry, spearheaded by the 40 international speakers of the day.

Data Centers Denmark took place in the UN City in Copenhagen, gathering a crowd of international data center professionals and over 280 attendees from 13 different countries.

The event was organized by the Danish Data Center Industry, in collaboration with UNEP-DTU Partnership, focusing on the design and build of sustainable data centers. A topic of various layers and nuances with many challenges today and in the near future, as we are faced with rapidly escalating global climate changes.

“The large hyperscale campuses are more energy efficient, than the ones that they are replacing”, said John Christensen, the Director of UNEP DTU Partnership.

“But the big question is whether we can work together with the demand side. My daughter for example, had never thought about how much CO2 emissions a tweet releases until I told her. Younger generations need to be made aware of the impact of data usage, and that each one of us can make a difference, but if you start to preach to the rest of the world, you may run into challenges”.

However, many indicators suggest that we can use data with a “clean” conscious – also in a future where the demand will keep increasing.

“We are committed to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2020 – and this goal is part of a larger project to reduce our CO2 footprint with 75 percent in 2020”, said Vince Van Son, Director of Energy and Infrastructure at Facebook.

In 2018, the goal for Facebook was 50 percent renewable energy, but they ended up reaching 75 percent, so the company is well underway to reach its 100 percent green energy target.

“Power purchase agreements are an important tool for us, and they often are the driving force behind getting new renewable energy projects to succeed without any environmental costs”, added Van Son.

To illustrate the growth, and the challenges with renewable energy, he outlined in his presentation how Facebook currently has more data centers under construction than in operation. But the company’s solar and wind energy usage is increasing rapidly. A great example here is Facebook’s Odense data center in Denmark, which will use green power sources from Norwegian windfarms.

“We have financed the production and the connectivity links, and in doing this, we are supporting the target set by Denmark to use more green energy from offshore wind power.  All of our investments are made voluntarily and are not supported by any public funds”.

”The purchase of renewables by companies helps to lower the costs for all consumers. Our actions are removing barriers and inspiring others,” said the Facebook executive.

The first panel debate of the day was moderated by Stanford University’s Susanna Kass, who asked representatives from Microsoft and Google, about their approach to sustainable consumption.

“Mankind is undergoing a significant change right now, as we navigate the new industrial revolution, and in the center of it all is the data center. Think of the old factories with smoke coming out of the chimneys – we can learn from the past and design sustainability into the process from the very beginning,” said Sean James, Head of Energy Research at Microsoft.

Microsoft decided to build its own data centers in 2007. Operating at a larger scale makes more sense from an energy efficiency perspective, and the IT giant is putting a lot of its efforts into R&D, for example utilizing liquid cooling to cool down its server and using PPA’s to purchase renewable energy.

“I am very proud of the commitment into renewable energy by the data center industry. The industry is not told to do this by directives or legislations, we are doing this by our own initiatives, and we are very dedicated to the cause. Anyone at Microsoft who makes any decisions, is able to immediately see their CO2 footprint in their own accounts – whether we are talking about a building project or a trip to Europe,” adds Sean James.

Google is equally working hard to reach 100 percent renewables in its own data centers.

”We also need to account for other regions, where the climate is warmer and  has limited access to renewables. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that our data centers in those regions use renewable energy 24/7, but it is our long-term goal,” highlighted Alaa Salama, Program Manager for Data Center Sustainability at Google.

“In Finland, we have reached around 99 percent green energy, whereas in places such as Iowa it is a different story. We are also looking into onsite energy production. In Belgium we have around 10,000 solar panels installed at the data center, but this unfortunately only reaches around 3 percent of the total usage. We are committed to further invest in renewable energy and new innovations – every site has its own specific environment and a tailor-made approach on how we can reach our 100 percent green energy targets”.

After the morning plenary sessions, the conference broke into two tracks, making room for various debates and case studies.

In one of the panel debates, Lars Aagaard, CEO of the Danish Energy Association, pointed that data centers can indeed contribute to balancing renewables.

“Can you help us make the consumption more flexible, so that we can invest less in network and backup? If the industry shows flexibility, it would be more significant in relation to energy storage, so that we can alleviate the very expensive demands during peak hours,” said Lars Aagard, who also commented on the political landscape.

”I am not a fan of those politicians who are exhibiting “electricity-racism”, which they do for some of the larger electricity consumers, who apparently have to pay higher fees than consumers who use traditional energy sources. The data center industry is a global one, and we should welcome the industry to our country should they wish to come here. Of course, they must pay for their own use of electricity and potentially assist in further developments in our energy networks”, added Aagard.

“If we want to set targets when it comes to renewables, then we need more production of RE if the demand goes up. But data centers are not the problem here – it is rather our target which is not intelligent enough. We really need to focus on placing data centers where it is most effective to operate them. We should accept a lower RE share in Denmark, if it means that the overall global CO2 emissions went down”.

Another panellist, EVP Mark Augustenborg Ødum from Better Energy, pointed that he sees opportunities rather than threats in the development of the industry.

“Digitalisation, e-mobility and all these connected devices will create far more data in the future, and all of this will consume more energy. However, we are fortunate enough in Denmark to have a unique mix of energy sources, where we essentially just need to build out the energy networks to balance the different sources of energy. We do have a unique proposition to create a power hub in the Nordics, because we have many different forms of energy combined in one region, and this is our opportunity to set the standard”, said Mark Ødum.

CEO of European Energy, Knud Erik Andersen agreed with the sentiment: “We are not asking for any contributions, we would just like to make use of a developed infrastructure, which we can plug into. Data centers have been the frontrunners on PPA’s, and we are now seeing SME’s following this trend. The data center is responsible for this very development,” adds Andersen, whose company made the first PPA 4 years ago.

“PPA’s were previously driven by subsidies and guarantees from the government. Now it is the norm as well as the obvious choice for businesses without the need for political intervention. Our society needs to be reminded of this fact”.

The rest of the day offered many debates on how we can build and operate sustainable data centers. For example, panellist offered best-practices on how we can optimise the construction phase of a data center, where some shared what the “secret sauce” to success was. Knowledge-sharing and the industrialization of the construction phase with various technologies and techniques such as the modular approach, was discussed.

“For data centers it is important that our industry becomes a circular one, where we reuse materials and create more of a standardized approach with far fewer resources. Many of the data centers which we are building now, will need an upgrade in 5 years’ time,” said John Sommer, Director at the Danish construction firm MT Højgaard.

Other talks focused on the demand side and the opportunities following the new international connectivity cable, linking Denmark directly with the US, named the “Mermaid” cable.

“I would like to see the industry utilize the Nordics as their next step in their build-outs with the stable connectivity links we are able to offer, “said Peder Nærbø, the CEO from colocation provider Bulk Infrastructure.

Nærbø is currently building a new colocation site in Esbjerg, which will directly be connected to the subsea transatlantic cable. Bulk is also one of the partners in the cable system.

“In about 2-3 years’ time, we have brand new cables which will land in Esbjerg. We strongly believe that the Nordics will be the future engine room for the data center industry, with multiple connectivity points. We just need to enable this potential,” added Peder Nærbø.

Should one doubt the pace of the growth, Susanna Kass from Stanford University illustrated a thought-provoking scenario for smart cities around the world.

“The data center of the future is not designed for humans. In 2030 we will have reached around 45 megabytes with more than 10 million citizens. On average an individual has now more than seven devices connected to the internet, whilst the figure is much higher in Asia,” said Susanna Kass on the basis of UN’s World Urbanization Prospects.

“The number of machine users on the internet will surpass 50 billion devices in 2020 already, and this is just a few months away. So be humble with these developments, innovate, collaborate, hire more women and engage with students. And remember, you don’t know, what you don’t know…”.

 

Stærke bud på bæredygtige datacentre ved Data Centers Denmark-konference

Både oplægsholderne og debatten nåede vidt omkring med et glimt i øjet – lige fra ‘skurkeroller’ over ‘elektricitets-racisme’ og til ‘hemmelig sovs’. Men fokus var klart hele dagen igennem: Bæredygtighed kan sagtens forenes med datacentre, og der var masser af interessante bud på fremtiden.

Konferencen Data Centers Denmark i UN City, København, havde samlet en perlerække af oplægsholdere fra hele den internationale datacenterindustri og ikke færre end 285 tilmeldte deltagere. De fik en interessant dag med masser af input og networking, og fra deltagerne hørte vi kun rosende ord om arrangement og indhold – tak for det!

Konferencen var arrangeret af Datacenter Industrien i samarbejde med UNEP-DTU Partnership, og det overordnede tema var udvikling og drift af bæredygtige datacentre.
Et stort emne med mange facetter og mange udfordringer i en nutid og fremtid, som bliver stadig mere bevidst om den globale klimaudfordring.

“De store hyperscale centre er meget mere energieffektive, end de centre, de erstatter,” fastslog director John M. Christensen fra UNEP-DTU Partnership i sin velkomst.

“Men spørgsmålet er, om vi også kan arbejde med efterspørgselssiden. Min datter havde f.eks. aldrig tænkt over, om et tweet er CO2-fri, og hun fik helt dårlig samvittighed, da jeg fortalte om det. De unge må opdrages til at vide, at nogle af de her data altså ikke er gratis, og man kan gøre mange ting selv, men hvis man starter med at prædike til resten af verden, risikerer man at tabe.”

Men meget tyder på, at vi sagtens kan bruge data med grøn samvittighed – også i en fremtid, hvor forbruget stiger endnu mere.

“Vi har forpligtet os til at bruge 100 pct. vedvarende energi i 2020 – og det mål er en del af et større projekt med at reducere vores CO2-aftryk med 75 pct. i 2020,” lød det f.eks. fra Vince Van Son, director for Energy and Infrastructure hos Facebook.

For 2018 var målet for Facebook 50 pct. vedvarende energi, men man nåede op på 75 pct., så man er allerede godt på vej mod 100 pct. grøn energi.

“PPA’er (power purchase agreement) er et vigtigt værktøj for os, og ofte er de også afgørende for at få nye VE-projekter til at lykkes uden omkostninger for samfundet,” fortalte Vince Van Son.

For at illustrere væksten – og udfordringen med grøn energi – kunne han oplyse, at Facebook p.t. har flere datacentre under konstruktion end i drift! Men koncernens forbrug af sol- og vindenergi er også kraftigt stigende. Det gælder f.eks. den aftale, der fornylig er lavet om grøn strøm fra norske vindmøller til det nye datacenter i Odense.

“Vi finansierer produktion og tilslutning til nettet – og dermed støtter vi bl.a. Danmarks mål om mere grøn strøm fra havvindmøller. Og alle vore grønne investeringer er helt frivillige og uafhængige af offentlig støtte,” fastslog Facebook-direktøren.

“Virksomhedernes indkøb af vedvarende energi hjælper helt klart til lavere omkostninger for alle forbrugere. Og vores handlinger på området hjælper med at fjerne barrierer og inspirere andre,” påpegede Vince Van Son.

Dagens første paneldebat havde deltagelse af repræsentanter for både Microsoft og Google, og moderator Susanna Kass fra Stanford University spurgte bl.a. om deres tilgang til ansvarligt forbrug.

“Der sker noget markant i menneskeheden lige nu,  hvor vi gennemgår en ny industriel revolution, og i centrum for dét står datacentrene. Tænk på de gamle traditionelle fabrikker med røg ud af skorstenene – vi kan se, hvad der skete fortiden, og tænke bæredygtighed ind fra begyndelsen,” påpegede Sean James, Head of Energy Research hos Microsoft.

IT-giganten besluttede tilbage i 2007 at bygge sine egen datacentre. Større skala giver generelt mere energieffektiv drift, og Microsoft arbejder meget med udvikling – f.eks. vandkøling af serverne – og bruger selv PPA’er til indkøb af grøn strøm.

“Jeg er meget stolt af datacentrenes engagement i vedvarende energi. Ingen pålægger os at gøre det, men vi gør det frivilligt og meget dedikeret. Og alle, der tager en hvilken som helst beslutning hos os i Microsoft, kan straks se CO2-aftrykket i deres eget regnskab – hvad enten det handler om et byggeprojekt eller f.eks. en rejse til Europa,” fortalte Sean James.

Hos Google arbejder man lige så målrettet mod at nå op på 100 pct. vedvarende energi i sine datacentre.

“Vi skal jo også være repræsenteret i andre regioner, hvor der er varmere klima og ikke samme adgang til vedvarende energi. Så vi kan ikke garantere, at vores datacentre i de områder bruger grøn energi 24/7, men det er vores langsigtede mål,” understregede Alaa Salama, Program Manger for Data Center Sustainability hos Google.

“I Finland er vi oppe på omkring 99 pct. grøn energi, mens det f.eks. i Iowa er en anden historie. Vi kigger også på onsite el-produktion, og vi har f.eks. i Belgien 10.000 solpaneler på datacentrets grund, men det rækker desværre kun til tre pct. af forbruget. Vi fortsætter med at investere i vedvarende energi og ny udvikling – hvert site har sine specielle forhold og hver sin tilgang til at nå målet på 100 pct.”

Efter de indledende oplæg og debatter i plenum blev konferencen delt op i to spor for at give plads til de mange interessante temaer, bl.a. om datacentrenes rolle i fremtidens energisystemer.

I en af paneldebatterne pegede adm. direktør Lars Aagaard fra Dansk Energi f.eks. på, at datacentre kan bidrage i forhold til afbalanceringen af vedvarende energi.

“Kan I hjælpe os med at gøre forbruget mere fleksibelt, så vi kan investere mindre i net og backup. Hvis industrien viser, at den kan levere fleksibilitet, vil det være meget værd – også i forhold til lagring af energi, så vi kan fjerne noget af den kostbare efterspørgsel i spidsbelastning,” sagde Lars Aagaard, der også gav en stikpille til den politiske tilgang.

“Jeg kan ikke lide politikere, der lancerer ‘elektricitets-racisme’. Men det gør de for nogle af de store elforbrugere, som åbenbart skal betale en højere præmie, end storforbrugere der bruger traditionelle energikilder. Datacentre er en global industri, som bør komme til vores land, hvis de finder det attraktivt, og så skal de selvfølgelig betale for deres eget forbrug af elektricitet og evt. udbygning af nettet. Og når vi f.eks. har et mål om en vis VE-andel – så skal vi have højere produktion, når forbruget går op. Men problemet er ikke datacentrene
– det er, at målet ikke er særlig intelligent, og vi skulle virkelig gå efter at få drevet datacentrene, hvor det er mest effektivt! Jeg ville hellere acceptere en lavere VE-andel i Danmark, hvis den globale CO2 udledning gik ned,” fastslog Lars Aagaard.

En anden paneldeltager, executive vice president Mark Augustenborg Ødum fra Better Energy, ser også flere muligheder end trusler i udviklingen.

“Digitalisering, e-mobility m.m. vil kræve langt mere data i fremtiden, og det kræver alt sammen mere energi. Men vi har et unikt energimiks i Danmark, hvor vi bare har brug for mere infrastruktur til at balancere de forskellige energiformer. Vi har en unik mulighed for at skabe et power hub i Norden, fordi vi har de forskellige energiformer kombineret i én region, og vi har mulighed for at sætte en standard,” sagde Mark Ødum.

Adm. direktør Knud Erik Andersen fra European Energy – som blandt meget andet også er involveret i energiaftaler med datacentre – var på linje med ham.

“Vi beder ikke om tilskud – vi beder bare om en infrastruktur, vi kan koble os på. Datacentre har været frontløbere for PPA’er, og vi ser nu anden bølge, hvor mellemstore virksomheder følger efter. I hele udviklingen af det her, har datacentre været med til at skabe markedet,” fastslog Knud Erik Andersen, hvis virksomhed lavede den første PPA for fire år siden.

“Det var drevet af subsidier og garanteret af regeringen. Nu er det standard samt på kommercielle vilkår uden politisk involvering, og det bør samfundet også tænke på.”

Dagens program bød på en bred palette af interessante temaer indenfor bæredygtige datacentre – f.eks. også hvordan man designer, bygger og driver dem mere miljøvenligt. Her kom ‘den hemmelige sovs’ ind i debatten som et billede på, at der kan optimeres med mere videndelen og industrialisering i byggeprocessen, f.eks. med modultankegang.

“For datacentre er det vigtigt at lave det til en cirkulær industri, hvor vi f.eks. også genbruger materialer og laver mere standardisering med mindre forbrug af ressourcer. Mange af de datacentre, vi bygger nu, skal jo højst sandsynligt have en opgradering igen om fem-ti år,” påpegede director John Sommer fra MT Højgaard.

Andre oplæg handlede om efterspørgslen og mulighederne, der følger med de nye, internationale dataforbindelser.

“Jeg vil have datacenterindustrien til at bruge Norden som næste skridt i deres udbygning med de stabile forbindelser, vi kan tilbyde,” sagde f.eks. stifter og formand Peder Nærbø, Bulk Infrastructure.

Han har senest taget første spadestik til et nyt co-location datacenter i Esbjerg, som bl.a. bliver forbundet med det kommende atlantiske Havfrue-kabel, som Bulk også er partner i.

“Om to-tre år har vi tre spritnye kabler, der lander på stranden ved Esbjerg. Og vi mener, at Norden bliver fremtidens maskinrum for datacenterbranchen med adskillige forbindelser, så vi skal bare sørge for at åbne potentialet,” lød det fra Peder Nærbø.

Og skulle man være i tvivl om tempoet i væksten, kunne man bare lytte til Susanna Kass fra Stanford University. Hun gav et tankevækkende indblik i en meget nær fremtid for smart cities over hele kloden. “Fremtidens datacentre er ikke designet for nogen af os – de er slet ikke beregnet til mennesker. I 2030 vil vi have 43 megabyer på kloden med mere end 10 mio. indbyggere. Og i gennemsnit har folk allerede nu syv enheder, der er forbundet til nettet, mens tallet er  endnu højere i Asien,” fortalte Susanna Kass på basis af FN’s World Urbanization Prospects.

“Allerede i 2020 vil antallet af ‘machine users’ på nettet have passeret 50 mia. enheder – og det er jo altså om meget få måneder. Så vær ydmyg med udviklingen – you don’t know, what you don’t know…”

God energi på foreningens anden generalforsamling

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Der er gået mindre end to år siden starten, men sikke en udvikling!
Datacenter Industrien afholdt 5. marts sin anden generalforsamling hos Schneider Electric i Kolding, og foreningen er nået rigtig langt siden stiftelsen 30. marts 2017.

“Det har været en fantastisk udvikling indtil nu – og vi ser masser af tegn på, at udviklingen vil fortsætte de kommende år,” sagde formand Thomas Volder bl.a. i sin beretning, hvor han også viste et oversigtskort over de mange projekter for både datacentre og dataforbindelser.

“Udover flere store datacentre har vi også endnu bedre, internationale forbindelser på vej. Der er mange forskellige grunde til, at Danmark er godt på vej til at blive et nordisk datahub, og jeg håber, vi vil se meget mere komme i de næste år.”

Thomas Volder kunne samtidig glæde sig over, at Datacenter Industrien nu tæller 77 medlemmer i skrivende stund. Desuden er sekretariatet blevet styrket med bl.a. ansættelsen af Merima Dzanic, som har tilført stor erfaring med og et stærkt netværk i den internationale datacentersektor.

Merima præsenterede bl.a. de nye features på hjemmesiden, som er under løbende udvikling, og opfordrede samtidig medlemmerne til at bruge den aktivt – bl.a. til at hente og dele information.

“I vores members area er der adgang til hente bl.a. præsentation og white papers. Hvis I har andet materiale, I gerne vil dele med de andre medlemmer, er I meget velkomne til at sende det os, og lad os endelig vide, hvis I har andre ønsker til medlemssiderne,” lød opfodringen fra Merima Dzanic.

Hun har også været primus motor bag foreningens første webinar, som blev en stor succes med mange deltagere. Der er flere på vej – det næste bliver 4. april – og foreningen fortsætter med at udvikle sig ud fra medlemmernes ønsker og behov.

“Vi kan også hjælpe med at sætte møder op og bringe folk sammen. I forhold til til eksport har vi jo en begrænset geografi i Danmark, så på et eller andet stadie vil vi have udfyldt potentialet herhjemme. Og så er vores ambition, at I som medlemmer har opbygget jeres egne kompetencer, erfaring og track record, så I kan være med til at bygge de næste datacentre ude i verden,” fastlog Thomas Volder.

“Vi kan se, at det danske indhold i datacentrene vokser, så her er et eksporteventyr, der skal opdyrkes.”

Næste større begivenhed bliver Datacenter Industriens store konference ‘Data Centers Denmark’, der afholdes 15. maj i UN City, København.
Se mere om årets store begivenhed på konferencens egen hjemmeside.

Lars Mejsner fra Grundfos er nyt medlem af bestyrelsen for Datacenter Industrien

 

 

Den formelle del af Datacenter Industriens generalforsamling blev hurtig og effektiv med orientering om driften, uændrede medlemsgebyrer og kun en enkelt ændring i bestyrelsen,
hvor Business Development Manager Lars Mejsner fra Grundfos erstatter Christian Jølck.

 

 

 

 

Generalforsamlingen blev fulgt af et medlemsmøde med fokus på grøn energi og lagring af energi. Country Sales Director – og næstformand i Datacenter Industrien – Tina Schou fra Schneider kunne som dagens vært byde velkommen og slå tonen an med et eksempel på udviklingen fra hendes egen verden.

“Vi sidder nu i Schneider Technology Center, hvor 200 medarbejdere her i Kolding arbejder med udvikling for datacentre globalt. Oprindelig overtog Schneider den lokale produktionsvirksomhed Silkon lige her – og nu er det udviklingscenter,” fortalte Tina Schou.

“På et overordnet plan kan vi kigge på klodens ressourcer for de næste 40 år, hvor det samlede energiforbrug ventes at stige med op til 50 pct. Samtidig er det målet at halvere emissionerne, så det betyder jo, at vi skal være tre gange mere effektive.”

På den ambitiøse note kunne hun give ordet videre til sin kollega, Schneider Electric IT Denmarks adm. direktør Morten Støvring.

I dagens første oplæg tog han udgangspunkt i energilagring for UPS batterisystemer (uninterruptible power supply) og de strukturelle ændringer i energisystemet, f.eks. på Californiens såkaldte ‘duck curve’ over strømforbruget. Med lidt god vilje og fantasi ligner kurven mere og mere en and med sit store dyk i forbruget midt på dagen og et stigende peak ved aftentide, der former ‘andens hoved’.

“Nogle trends har en overraskende effekt, og midt på dagen er der nu perioder, hvor der slet ikke aftages strøm i Californien på grund af stigende solcelleproduktion. Californien er jo plastret til med solceller efterhånden,” påpegede Morten Støvring.

“Normalt ville el jo være dyr midt på dagen, men i måske 2020 vil der være overproduktion midt på dagen.”

Udviklingen åbner nye muligheder for at lagre strøm midt på dagen og overføre den til spidsbelastningen – og måske endda tjene penge på det.

“Hvis man er storforbruger – som f.eks. et datacenter – har man jo også noget power at flytte med, så måske kan man i fremtiden nøjes med mindre kapacitet til spidsbelastningen og få resten fra et batterisystem,” fortalte Morten Støvring.

“For datacentre er det jo kritisk med oppetiden, og der kan ikke accepteres fejl. Men de moderne systemer med lithium-ion batterier kan kobles med monitorsystemer, så det ikke bare er et ‘dumt’ batteri, men et smart batteri, der overvåger og beskytter sig selv. Og der vil komme software værktøjer, som muliggør ‘peak power shaping’. Det kræver dog, at man skal have systemet bag, og det skal også være teknisk muligt at føre strøm tilbage til nettet,” understregede Morten Støvring.

 

Sales engineer Jean Baptiste Barbenchon fulgte op med et indlæg fra det franske selskab PowiDian, der arbejder med brændselsceller og er et spinoff af Airbus Defence & Space.

Gennem fem års levetid er PowiDian nået langt med løsninger, der kombinerer lagring af strøm med brændselsceller og/eller f.eks. solceller og vindmøller.

“Brændselsceller er nu blevet en moden teknologi, og  den nærmeste fremtid vil vi få CO2-fri og konkurrencedygtig brint til at drive dem. Samtidig forudser vi et forbud mod fossildrevne backup generatorer i byområder, og brændselsceller er skalérbare, har minimal vedligeholdelse og øjeblikkelig start. Så de egner sig godt til backup – også for datacentre,” fremhævede Jean Baptiste Barbenchon, der fra salen blev spurgt, hvornår han ser teknologien blive mainstream i datacenterindustrien.

“Måske om 10-20 år – omkostningerne er faldt på selve brændselscellerne, så det afhænger nu af prisen på brint. Norden er den del af Europa, der har vist størst interesse for teknologien, og vi arbejder allerede på projekter i Norge, mens Sverige også har vist interesse.”

 

Dagens sidste oplæg kom fra netop Sverige, hvor Peter Hellberg, er arbejder med forretningsudvikling og salg hos Vattenfall, fortalte om selskabets tilgang til bl.a. den overordnede ‘grid challenge’.

“Vi ser stigende datamængder med 5G-nettet lige om hjørnet, flere elbiler, der skal oplades, Internet of Things og generel elektrificiering, som altsammen udfordrer elnettets kapacitet. Vi står foran markante udfordringer for at levere den strøm, der skal til,” fastslog Peter Hellberg.

“Vi har tilstrækkelig produktion i dag, men vi har ikke udvidet nettet i den grad, der bliver brug for i fremtiden. Alle i branchen arbejder hårdt på at udvide nettet, men det tager lang tid at fremtidssikre – også så nye brugere kan kobles på,” lyder udfordringen, som angribes fra flere vinkler hos Vattenfall.

Dels med såkaldt ‘peak shaving’ ved hjælp af bl.a. batterisystemer, dels med optimering af nettet samt lokalt supplement med f.eks. solcelleproduktion, dels med lukkede løsninger, hvor f.eks. en kunde fik en løsning til opladning af elbiler med solceller og batteripakke, der slet ikke koblet på nettet.

“Vattenfall driver allerede en række energilagre rundt om i Europa, og vi ser lagring som en vej til mere fleksibilitet på vejen mod fossilfri energi,” fortalte Peter Hellberg.
“Lagring kan også afløse konventionelle dieselgeneratorer – bl.a. på datacentre, hvor vi også kan f.eks. finansiere og tage ansvaret for hele højspændingsdelen.”

 

Netværksmødet sluttede med en fælles debat, hvor alle tre indlægsholdere besvarede spørgsmål fra salen og kom med deres bud på udviklingen indenfor bl.a. batteriteknologi, brint og lagring som en del af løsningen. Det blev også nævnt, at en gigant som Microsoft allerede har etableret et datacenter i Seattle, der udelukkende drives af brændselsceller.

DANISH DATA CENTER INDUSTRY ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH DIGIPLEX

DigiPlex, a Nordic data centre colocation provider, has recently joined the Danish Data Center Industry (DD)) to share knowledge, participate to the expansion of the digital economy in the Denmark, and further their reach into the regional data center market.

Denmark was an obvious target for DigiPlex. The Nordic data centre company has a strong reputation in designing, building and operating data centres in Norway and Sweden – all with a strong focus on innovation, sustainability and security.

“We have seen a very interesting development in the Danish market over the last couple of years due to a successful national strategy to prioritise and invest in fibre connections and the right energy setup. Denmark has recognised the potential of the data centre market and is well-placed due to its central location close to Germany and the rest of mainland Europe”, says Gisle M. Eckhoff, CEO of DigiPlex.

With the opening of the Copenhagen data centre in May, DigiPlex’s portfolio has grown to nearly 340,000 sqf of data centre space across five sites: one in Denmark, one in Sweden and three in Norway.

The 17,200 sqf building is approximately 10 minutes’ drive from Copenhagen’s International airport at Kastrup. DigiPlex joins the likes of Facebook and Google, which are also building and/or planning data centres in Denmark.

“We are looking forward to be joining the Danish Data Center Industry Association alongside the other regional and international heavyweight members”, says Mark Kjeldstrøm, Operations Manager at DigiPlex in Denmark.

Henrik Hansen, Director of DDI adds: “The Nordic data center market is experiencing tremendous growth in recent years, creating vast opportunities for the regional market. With the latest announcements and activities, we are excited to be welcoming DigiPlex to Denmark and to our executive member roster. DigiPlex has a strong reputation in sustainability, security and resiliency, which is high on the agenda for the association. We look very much forward to our mutual collaboration on developing the industry in Denmark and the Nordics.”

About DigiPlex

DigiPlex designs, builds and operates data centres in the Nordic region. The company specialises indelivering tailored, secure and resilient environments with the highest possible availability. Both private and public organisations, including security-sensitive customers such as government and financial institutions, trust DigiPlex data centre solutions. All DigiPlex data centres are powered exclusively by sustainable sources of electricity. Read more at www.digiplex.com

About Danish Data Center Industry

The Danish Data Center Industry (DDI) serves the purpose of attracting more data center investments to Denmark. As the industry association, we represent the interests of the private sector, municipalities and utility companies operating within the data center supply chain. Read more at www.datacenterindustrien.dk.

Energi og klima i centrum på årets sidste netværksmøde

Hele 80 deltagere havde meldt sig til arrangementet hos MT Højgaard i Søborg ved København, og det blev en energisk dag for både oplæg, netværk og indhold af debatten.

Dagens vært, Strategy and Business Development Director John Sommer fra MT Højgaard fortalte i sin indledning om koncernens tilgang til det nye markedsområde for datacentre.

“Gennem 100 år har vi været vant til at bygge til både boliger og erhverv, så det er naturligt for os at interessere os for datacentre. Vi ser allerede de store internationale selskaber investere i Norden, som er vores baghave, og det er ikke en engangsfest, men et marked, som vil blive ved med at udvikle sig,” påpegede John Sommer.

“Derfor ønsker vi at blive den foretrukne partner på området – ikke bare indenfor hyperscale, men også på co-location datacentre.”

MT Højgaard-direktøren pegede også på, at nogle af koncernens datterselskaber i sig selv ville være blandt landets allerstørste indenfor f.eks. byggeri og installation, hvis de var selvstændige virksomheder.

Ud fra koncernens erfaring på området kunne hans kollega desuden fortælle, at byggeri af datacentre, stiller nogle helt særlige krav.

“Safety kravene er f.eks. meget lignende dem, vi ser i offshore industrien. Det kræver også internationale kompetencer, og selvom vi har 100 års erfaring fra fem kontinenter med store projekter – bl.a. energianlæg – kan vi stadig lære,” fortalte Bo W. Jørgensen, Director for MT Højgaards afdeling for Special Projects.

Det stærke fokus på safety stiller store krav, men der er også stort potentiale i at udvikle sig i på området.

“Vi har meget samarbejde med selskaber i f.eks. Irland og England og især de irske har det nærmest i deres DNA. De har levet og trænet i det gennem mange år, og vi er nødt til at tage det ind også. Men vi lærer, og vi er nødt til at indrømme, at vi skal være endnu bedre, så vi er åbne for at udvikle os,” understregede John Sommer

“Der er store muligheder, men det kræver indsats, beslutsomhed og samarbejde. Vi kan ikke gøre det her alene hos MT Højgaard – muligheder og udfordringer håndteres bedst i et stærkt netværk, så vi sammen kan øge datacenter-investeringerne i Danmark,” understregede John Sommer.

Han pegede også på to andre specielle faktorer ved at bygge datacentre.

“Når vi ellers får en stor kontrakt, er kunden interesseret i mest mulig opmærksomhed –med datacenterinvestorer er det lige omvendt. Og så er det jo produktionsfaciliteter og ikke domiciler – de ønsker hurtigere return on investment, så de vil gerne have bygget rigtig hurtigt!”

 

Næste oplæg kom fra COWI, som præsenterede en ny markedsrapport om potentialet på det nordiske marked for datacentre.

“Det er sket en markant udvikling på området med en masse aktivitet den seneste tid. De sidste 18 måneder alene er der investeret 2,2 mia euro i Norden,” fortalte Jakob Dybdal Christensen, Chief Market Manager hos COWI, der også blev spurgt om en vurdering for de kommende år.

“Det er svært at sige, for her kommer en række forbehold ind i billedet. Men på basis af nordisk samarbejde – og fremskrevet med bl.a. udviklingen i dataforbrug – kan den årlige investering være 4 mia euro de næste fem-syv år. Men det er faktisk et konservativt skøn, så det kan sagtens ende højere,” lød vurderingen.

Hans kollega hos COWI, Market Director Joakim Petersen, der også er bestyrelsesmedlem i Datacenter Industrien, kunne fra salen supplere med en vurdering af det nordiske væksttempo.

“Som det ser ud nu, er det min vurdering, at vi vokser hurtigere i Norden end f.eks. Benelux. Overordnet vokser Asien og Europa stærkt, mens USA går ned i tempo – her har man omkring 50 pct. af det globale workload (for datacentre, red.) nu og vil formentlig have en mindre andel i fremtiden. P.t. er Sverige og Danmark stedet at være for investorer,” fastslog Joakim Petersen.

I det følgende oplæg fortalte ICT Engineer Elias Edo Dube fra FN om organisationens alternative tilgang til et lille lokalt datacenter i en meget robust udgave. FN bruger løsningen The OneICTbox – One Information and Communication Technology Box. Det er en lille alt-i-én-boks på størrelse med en flyttekasse, der kan fungere som  datacenter for op til 1.000 brugere.

“Vi møder mange forskellige udfordringer i udviklingslande med f.eks. ustabil elforsyning, ustabil sikkerhed og generatorer som eneste strømkilde. Der er mange ting, vi skal tage forbehold for i driften af vores datacentre, så derfor har vi udviklet dette modulsystem,” fortalte Elias Edo Dube.

Målt i forhold til FNs traditionelle løsninger ude i felten giver boksen en stor besparelse i både strømforbrug og pladsbehov.

“Vi reducerer ikke kun vores eget CO2 aftryk, men kan forhåbentlig også inspirere andre – nu bruges den af 20000 brugere på 200 lokationer i 156 lande.”

Dermed var bolden givet videre til paneldiskussion, hvor klimaaftryk også blev et væsentligt emne.

“Vi har været involveret i datacenterbyggeri i 20 år – nu leverer vi globalt, og vores fokus er at få designet til at møde klimaudfordringerne. Omkring 10 pct. af hele verdens energiforbrug i en nær fremtid vil blive brugt af datacentre, og derfor er det vigtigt for vores omdømme, at vi energieffektive og bæredygtige,” påpegede David Delaney.

Han er Business Development Director for Data Centers hos irske Exyte Group (det tidligere M+W Group) og involveret i byggeriet af flere hyperscale centre, bl.a. i Danmark.

“CSR-politik og klimaaftryk er nøgleemner nu. I Danmark bruges energien meget effektivt – og her er også mulighed for udnyttelse af overskudsvarme – men styrkerne indenfor f.eks. dansk engineering er oplagte,” fremhævede David Delaney.

“Generelt har datacentre et stort klimaaftryk, så det er noget, den danske industri bør have fokus på og være opmærksomme på, at her er både et ansvar og nogle muligheder. Fra dag ét i Danmark har vi sagt, at vi ønsker at styrke forsyningskæden her. Men vi har f.eks. kun fået tilbagemeldinger på omkring halvdelen af de telefonopkald til leverandører, vi lavede i starten,” lød det med en lille stikpille til de danske underleverandører.

“Men der har været undtagelser, og mange af dem er til stede her i lokalet i dag,” fortsatte David Delaney.

I John Sommers optik ligger det lige til højrebenet, at Danmark kan gribe udviklingen og vise vejen mod mere bæredygtige datacentre.

“For mig er det oplagt, at den ideale løsning er et datacenter placeret mellem vindmøller og fjernvarmesystemet – det er så oplagt for samfundet. Men kunden kan ikke løse problemet, det kan entreprenøren eller kommunen heller ikke – det kan landet som helhed. Og så kan vi eksportere det til hele verden, for hele verden står med det samme udfordring,” lød den kraftige opfordring fra MT Højgaard-direktøren.

Han blev spurgt fra salen, hvordan vi sikrer backup af strømforsyningen fra vindmøller og solceller?

“Jo flere internationale strømforbindelser, desto mindre bliver vi afhængige af regionale vejrforhold. Så kan vi bruge en langt højere andel af grøn energi i systemet. Men i de måske næste 20 år får vi nok brug for nogle af de traditionelle energikilder som backup,” sagde John Sommer.

Han blev også spurgt fra salen, om der er grund til bekymring over datacentrenes ekspansion i Danmark?

“Vores primære bekymring bør være, om vi som samfund får nok ud af potentialet? Står vi med åbne arme og er klar til at investere dét, der skal til – f. eks. i form af uddannelse?
Det kan være en langsigtet investering – og det tager måske fire-fem år at opbygge de her kompetencer,” sagde John Sommer.

Han pegede også på, at danske ingeniører gennem historien har udført projekter over hele verden. De internationale erfaringer og kompetencer bør også kunne udnyttes i den globale vækst for datacentre.

“En meget stor del af de afrikanske veje er f.eks. bygget af danske ingeniører – vi er vant til at arbejde med byggeri i hele verden, så det er jo ikke noget fremmed for os.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data Center Investments: Nordics vs. FLAPS

Derek Webster,  Andget Ltd Consulting

In a FLAP or in the wrong tier location? 

Why are European data centers in a FLAP (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris)? Also called ‘Tier 1 locations’ where there is high concentrations of data center investments?

They are approximately above and below latitude N 50°, which also has the highest concentration of Europe’s population.  In data center terms that means close to end-users, volume and what web giants call ‘Eye-Balls’ to content. Coincidence?  No. It reflects a time when being close to markets, its corporations and users were key, to meeting the business case, close to communication networks and exchanges.

Since Internet Service Providers emerged in the late 1980s, mainly in the FLAP region, and the invention of the World-Wide-Web in 1990, we have seen social media bring people closer globally, and the birth of a new global digital economy. 34% of investors questioned in the ‘2018 EY Attractiveness Survey Europe’ show The Digital Economy as the leading investment class. Data centers are the heart and lungs of the underlying infrastructure.

The increase in fibre volume deployment and optical algorithms over the last 25 years has redefined some business metrics. We are moving from ‘where are you?’ to ‘how fast are you?’ as a more relevant measure.  In cross-border terms, this is a revolution in changes to strategic thinking and activity.  Global data traffic is more than 1 Zettabyte and will triple by 2021 with cross border traffic seeing huge growth.

If we had a ‘how fast are you’ land map drawn in milliseconds (ms) speed and plot the speed and bandwidth needed for digital applications & service type. Back-Office,  analytics to HPC applications may not need fast networks, whereas high-speed trading, edge IoT, gaming, cache/video & streaming will do. What an informative map this would be to assess market reach against a FLAP latitude N 50°. To add some context some large network providers will tell you that they can reach anywhere within Europe in 50 ms, (1ms = just under 300,000 km/s or the speed of light. 5ms is a camera flash and 120ms is a blink of an eye). This again asks use new digital age questions in our thinking of a location.

With this dynamic map data type we could define a ‘Tier Service Location Layer’ (TSLL) map/concept which could be applied to ‘where the data center could be aligned to market reach with speeds’.  Should we include applications/services/foot print impact types, we start to adjust traditional business norms and terms to investment location criteria. We could summarise this in 3 location speed layers. TSL Layer 1 is dedicated to fast services with the need for speed.  TSL Layer 2 for bulk commercial market reach and cloud, and where TSL Layer 3 includes slower latency and some cloud functions.

Investment and the case for not being in a FLAP

Data center location & site selection is the biggest single physical decision you will make that effects CAPEX & OPEX numbers.  Location is also the biggest decision in terms of total costs relative to market reach.  However, not being in a FLAP region could well be an advantage for lower speed applications (TSL Layer 2&3). Considering the link of location to speed, you may end up with your data center on a short list out of a FLAP city, FLAP country, or even out of a region. When you consider the 50ms or better speed numbers, your Mediterranean regional market reach going north could be provisioned from a data center in the Nordics (generally Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).

Let’s consider the Nordics

Perceived as a ‘Tier 2’ data center market, the Nordics have in recent years seen investments from cloud and hyperscale players, with Facebook, Google, and Apple all choosing to locate in Denmark. In Sweden Facebook is set to expand, whilst AWS announced 3 builds in the country. In Norway Microsoft is set to invest in multiple data center locations, whilst Google is expanding its operations in Finland. But it is not just the hyperscale players providing FDI; enterprises and colocation providers are increasingly investing in the Nordics.

If we consider the benefits of not being in a FLAP to the €1.4tr GDP Nordic region and its estimated $3+bn recently invested in data centers (Global top 10 in capital expenditure in the last 12 – 18 months for FDI according to BroadGroup Consulting), what would we find in addition to the Nordic nations sharing the Nordic Cross of their national flags? Some of the key points are:

  • Speed to Market in a Safe Location: Politically and environmentally stable with municipalities that are welcoming the data center sector and able to offer fast permit process, supporting real estate provision in placing the runway for FDIs to land. Nordic nations rank highly in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. This year Denmark #3, Norway #8, Sweden #10, Finland #13.
  • Low Cost Low Carbon Secure Power: Providing low carbon or carbon neutral renewable energy resources at favourable rates with extended fixed terms. Governments have provided tax reductions and promoted energy security. Colo power SLA is key to a reputation metric where we see Nordic data center energy availability is said to be 800MW. In my view an underestimate as it has been reported that 5.5GW of renewable energy is available in brown and greenfield locations in this non-FLAP region. Norway’s Kolos project is offering 1GW of real estate asset alone. The World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma Index rates countries’ energy performance around the world and monitors. In the 2017 Global report overall we see: #1 Denmark, #2 Sweden, #7 Norway.
  • Connectivity: AWS cited proximity to internet exchanges as a key factor to landing in the North. Denmark has direct fibre to the USA and will be the landing point in Q4 2019 for another USA link. There are existing fibre links from Norway to the UK and new routes in the planning, yet we see Finland looking to access the proposed North East Passage ($850m 10,000Km Polar fibre route) from China which is expected to cut Asia to Europe speeds by half. We may be seeing the quickest routes to moving traffic globally via the North!
  • Total Cost of Ownership: Lower land , power, near free-cooling/costs make for a good start. Not many regions have the infrastructure to reuse data center heat in bulk thus offering an added business and green consideration. For example, 10% of the heat in Stockholm is generated by data centers, whilst in Finland the Yandex data center supplies hot water to Mäntsälä City district heating system reducing CO2 emissions by up to 40%.
  • Eco-systems & Active Government Support: World class education and high skills capability from long established technology and high availability sectors, even data center education vocational courses are emerging rapidly. The Nordic Nations have Government agency data center teams helping via their ‘Invest in’ Nation departments and municipalities

 

The right questions

Recently I was consulting to an Asian enterprise on their data center site selection strategy. They were considering investing in their first site in Europe. One of their main criteria was market reach to English speakers, and they assumed London would be the obvious location. Yet, in the rules of the ‘digital age’ was that the right question?  I explained in my initial report that in Western Europe, excluding the UK, there were 99 million English speakers, with an additional 21.5 million in the Nordics, and that Ireland with 98% English speakers is 1% more than the UK itself and the Nordics close by. When taking their 50ms latency figure into consideration, it was clear to the client that this locations scope was much wider than their initial perceived notion. The ‘where are you’ question was limiting and not the right one to ask for this metric aligning to the services, yet ‘how fast do you need to be?’ to access your market offered more possibilities.

Digital rules are busting traditional thinking to obtain better returns on investment in many ways. With global data center traffic set to increase significantly, we will see even more data centers being built in all shape, sizes and forms in various markets, serving different purposes. The data center investment landscape is changing in tandem with new technological advances, and operators need to align their strategies accordingly.

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Derek Webster has been working in the data center industry for 25+, leading teams and delivering innovative solutions to the sector. Derek has extensive experience in data center design and build. In recent years, he has been specialising in site selection, helping governments & development agencies to review and align Foreign Direct Investors (FDI), attractiveness and ‘Added Value’ to their National offer’s.

The “Open” opportunity for the Danish data center ecosystem: Interview with OCP’s John Laban

The Open Compute Project (OCP) is an open source hardware community movement which aims to bring transparency to hardware development by sharing ideas and innovations collectively to be better and more efficient. The non-profit OCP Foundation started in 2011 by the hyperscalers (Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc) but has now grown to include the worlds Telecommunications Service Providers and companies at various stages of the data center supply chain. A report published in March 2018 by IHS Markit forecasts a five fold increase in revenues for OCP vanity free open source hardware by 2021.

In preparation for DDI’s Networking Meet-Up for its members from the data center ecosystem in Denmark on September 11 in Odense, the Danish Data Center Industry sat with OCP Reset Catalyst and EMEA Lead John Laban for a fire-side chat on OCP’s growing community. Furthermore, John shares his thoughts on the “open” opportunities for Danish and Nordic operators, and how vendors and operators alike should embrace the OCP wave.

Danish Data Center Industry: Why is the open source model increasingly gaining traction in the industry across the world?

John Laban: Open Source technology is not a new phenomenon! This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of “The Baby” which was the world’s first stored program-controlled computer hacked together by a group of open collaborators at Manchester University in 1948. If one studies the early innovations of those heavier than air flying machines, you will also discover that this too was an open source technology. Have you ever wondered why the parts of these flying machines use French words – fuselage, aileron – when the first flight was in the USA? This was because the Wright Brothers closed down innovation in the USA by going patents stir crazy so the open source collaboration shifted to Europe and today we use a French derived word for these heavier than air flying machines -“aeroplanes”

The largest machine created by humans is the “Open Internet” and without open collaboration and sharing the infrastructure, this machine would never have been possible. The Human Genome Project is another example of an open source technology innovation. Humans are social sharing animals and this is why we proliferate to all corners of the Earth – collaboration is burnt into our DNA.

As we build on the Open Internet that is accelerating permission less innovation, we humans are beginning to realise that we will only solve these problems through open collaboration.

Are you aware that there are no patents on Tesla cars? Ever wondered why? Openness produces better products faster so it will always win in the end.

Danish Data Center Industry: How relevant is it for operators in Denmark and which type of operations can especially benefit here?

John Laban: Those hyperscale data centres in Denmark are built using open source technologies. The new Facebook Data Centre under construction in Odense will be an OCP optimized facility, filled with vanity free open source servers, storage and network gear.

Denmark has an extensive district heating infrastructure which is ideal for plugging data centres into and OCP optimized data centres are more suited for heat reuse because technicians do not go to the back of OCP racks so it’s possible to run much hotter hot aisles than in traditional air cooled data centres. I should also mention that a liquid cooling subgroup was formed this month in the OCP community and this is by far the best match for recovering heat for district heating systems because it reduces the additional energy required for heat pumps.

OCP is relevant for Colo Data Centres and Enterprise Data Centres as well as the hyperscallers that gave birth to these open source vanity free hardware solutions back in 2011 and consume millions of OCP servers per year.

Denmark will be seeing OCP adopted in its Telephone Exchanges, and this trend is global and its happening fast. See www.opencord.org.

Danish Data Center Industry: What opportunities are there for the Danish supplier ecosystem?

John Laban: With OCP optimized data centres, the OPEX pie changes when compared to traditional data centres. Even though the energy used in an OCP data centre is less (e.g., OCP servers use up to 50% less energy and PUE’s are always better than 1.1) than in an equivalent work load traditional enterprise data centre, the percentage of the OPEX cost pie for energy is higher because of the way that OCP slashes those other costs. This change results in relocation of data centres into lower energy cost regions such as Denmark. There is a wonderful example of this in the Yahoo! Japan case study.

The opportunities are therefore vast for the Danish ecosystem, as I envision more colos and hyperscalers will be increasingly embracing the open model for these gains. And Denmark (and its Nordic neighbours) is becoming the land which hosts the worlds tech giants these days.

Danish Data Center Industry: How do you see the industry unfold in the Nordics?

John Laban: The potential for data centres in the Nordics is huge, but this will only be realized if the Nordic countries start cooperating and what’s needed now is perhaps a Nordics Data Centre Industry Association of sorts. By working together, the Nordics have the potential to suck the data centre industry out of the rest of Europe before the window of opportunity closes. And I truly believe that the time is ripe now for the Nordics to shine on the data center front. They already are in a lot of ways.

SIGN UP TO THE NETWORKING MEET-UP IN ODENSE ON 11 SEPTEMBER 2018

To learn more about the OCP movement from John and how it can benefit your business, we invite our Executive and Business members to sign up to the event here.

Time: September 11, 2018, 1pm – 4pm
Place: COWI, Vestre Stationsvej 7, 5000 Odense, Denmark

 

Considering a membership? Limited places available for prospective members. Please contact merima@datacenterindustrien.dk for more information.

To learn more about the OCP movement in Europe, OCP is hosting their Regional Summit in Amsterdam on October 1-2 2018. Click here to register!

Join us at DataCloud Nordic 2018

Workshop om uddannelse gav gode input og debatter

IT Universitet på Amager var de passende rammer for Datacenter Industriens workshop 30. maj om udvikling af uddannelser til Danmarks nye vækstindustri.

29 deltagere fra en lang række uddannelsesinstitutioner og brancheaktører svedte bravt i hedebølgen med brainstorming, ping pong og udveksling af holdninger til fremtidens uddannelser på området.

“Datacenter Industrien er blandt andet sat i verden for at afhjælpe og forebygge mangel på arbejdskraft til den nye industri. Branchen er af natur meget international med en stor andel af udenlandsk arbejdskraft, men der er også behov for at opbygge kompetencer herhjemme og på sigt substituere med danske medarbejdere,” sagde direktør Henrik Hansen fra Datacenter Industrien i sin velkomst.

“Vi skal hele tiden skærpe os i Danmark for at være konkurrencedygtige – ikke mindst på kompetencer. Det gælder på alle niveauer, helt fra valg af ungdomsuddannelse til længerevarende specialuddannelser indenfor datacentre. Og hvis vi nu lykkes med at tiltrække en masse aktører og blive dygtige til at udvikle løsninger med danske specialister, så er der jo også et eksportpotentiale med kommercielle muligheder i det,” påpegede Henrik Hansen.

Special advisor Jørn Thorgård fra Invest in Denmark bruger omkring 90 pct. af sin tid på datacenterområdet, hvor han har en god føling med behovet.

“Vi begynder at se, at der godt kan være en flaskehals i forhold til uddannelse og arbejdskraft på det her område,” lød det således i hans oplæg.

“Der er ikke den store udfordring i konstruktionsfasen – den slags store byggerier er vi vant til at håndtere her i Danmark. Men allerede før de store datacentre kom til landet, var der ved at være mangel på de rette kompetencer.  Når så Apple, Facebook samt måske andre, kommende aktører begynder at gå i drift og skal bruge flere hundrede ansatte hver, så skal vi til at kigge på det,” understregede Jørn Thorgård.

“Behovet kan være alt fra underleverandører til f.eks. folk, der kan udføre kabling i datacentret – uanset den konkrete opgave, skal der være nogen i den anden ende, der kan løfte opgaven. Der vil dukke nogle puljer af job op af en anden art, end vi er vant til at se.”

Han pegede også på, at hele digitaliseringsbølgen og en større strøm af data til og fra Danmark vil medføre en ny type virksomheder og dermed nye uddannelsesbehov.

“Udfordringen er bl.a., at datacentrene er vant til at løse problemerne i eget regi og selv uddanne deres folk – men først når behovet er helt aktuelt. Og omvendt mangler uddannelsesinstitutionerne indsigt i datacentrenes behov,” sagde Jørn Thorgård.

“Det gode er, at tiden arbejder for os, for virksomhederne begynder at mangle disse folk. Det kunne være interessant at udvikle de her tilbud sammen med dem – eventuelt ved at samarbejde med nogle af de private aktører, der allerede er i gang. Vi skal under alle omstændigheder have startet arbejdet og komme med nogle løsningsforslag. Noget af det ligger måske lige til højrebenet, hvis vi får lavet de rigtige forbindelser mellem folk.”

John Sommer, Director of Strategy and Development hos MT Højgaard og i øvrigt nyt bestyrelsesmedlem i Datacenter Industrien, kom med en opfordring til uddannelsesfolket ved workshoppen om at gribe – eller måske nærmere fange – de nye muligheder.

“Der kommer ikke nogen og kaster fisk til jer, men der er masser i vandet – I skal bare finde ud af, om det er interessant for jer at kaste snøren ud. Det er en mulighed, man selv skal søge. Man skal være parat til at banke på en lukket dør måske fem gange, men så er der også noget godt inde bag den,” lød det fra John Sommer.

Efter de indledende oplæg gav international koordinator Claus Grand Bang fra Dania Erhvervsakademi bolden op til arbejdet i workshoppen. Han kunne også fortælle, at Dania har sit eget mini-datacenter hos afdelingen i Viborg, hvor eleverne øver sig i driften og i øvrigt skiftes til hacke hinanden og forsvare sig. I den forbindelse var det sågar lykkedes at hacke kantinens betalingssystem, så her skal måske også opgraderes lidt…

Deltagerne blev delt op i tre grupper efter deres hovedinteresser i design, opbygning eller drift af datacentre og blev bedt om at definere og siden gruppere og afgrænse de opgaver, man gerne ville arbejde videre med i forhold til kompetencerne hos virksomheden eller uddannelsesinstitutionen.

Gruppearbejdet gav god anledning til både networking og udfordring af synspunkter på tværs af bordene.

“I må være mere konkrete om, hvad I skal bruge – ellers kan vi ikke lægge det ned i en uddannelsesboks,” lød det således i direkte vendinger fra en deltager, som dermed ramte en af de generelle udfordringer lige på sømmet.

“Måske skal vi tænke i retning af ‘mass costumization’ for uddannelsen – måske 90 pct. grunduddannelse kombineret med specialisering,” lød et andet bud.

“Vi skal måske også passe på, at vi ikke bliver forblændede af hyperscale centrene – der skal jo også bygges andet end ‘motorveje’ i fremtidens struktur,” lød et tredje indspark.

Efter et par engagerede timer blev der rundet af med en konstatering af, at der er masser at arbejde videre med på området.

“Samtalen i vores gruppe afspejler nok meget godt behovet – det er lidt hønen og ægget, og hvem spiller ud,” opsummerede dagens vært Henrik Hansen.

“Der jo nogle huller, som vi kradset lidt i overfladen af. Hvad er det præcist for nogle opgaver, der er mere specielle for eksempelvis en elektriker i et datacenter?  Er det tre ugers kursus eller en helt ny uddannelse? Det er virkelig mange forskellige niveauer, vi arbejder på, og vi skal have folk fra branchen ind i nogle uddannelsesudvalg. Vi skal arbejde både strategisk og praktisk med de ønsker om mere konkrete behov, der skal opfyldes,” påpegede Henrik Hansen.

“Der et stykke vej endnu, og vi havde ikke forventet at have syv uddannelser linet op i dag. Men jeg håber også, at uddannelsesinstitutionerne har fået smag for at kigge på området – måske er der nogle uddannelser, der bare kan drejes lidt i den rigtige retning? Men vi skal i gang, og det er en hasteopgave,” lød opfordringen til sidst.