Going underground: taking modularity to new depths

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Lefdal Mine data centre

Situated next to a deep, cold fjord, with access to an ample supply of hydroelectric energy, the Lefdal Mine Datacentre aims to be the greenest in Europe and was developed together with technology partners Rittal and IBM 

The Lefdal Mine Datacentre (LMD) in Norway has an ambitious vision; it aims to be the most cost-effective, secure, flexible, and green data centre in Europe. LMD opened on 10 May this year, and is powered exclusively by low-cost, renewable energy.

Rittal is a strategic and technology partner, and has provided the data centre with its top-of-the-range, preconfigured, modular and scalable infrastructure. Located on the west coast of Norway, the giant data centre operates exclusively on renewable energy.

Flexible, scalable solutions

LMD is remarkably flexible in terms of available space and different technical solutions. The mountain halls have 16m-high ceilings and there is 120,000m² of net whitespace and 200-plus MW IT capacity, delivered in container solutions or in traditional white space. The data centre can therefore offer customers a ‘pay as you grow’ model, and removes any risk of paying for unnecessary capacity.

Jørn Skaane, CEO at Lefdal Mine Datacentre, says: “We can accommodate any current white space requirement. Plus, our facility structure includes containers of different shapes and sizes along with customised power density, temperature and humidity control, and operational equipment.”

In what has been dubbed ‘the fourth industrial revolution’, companies increasingly need access to flexible IT resources. To this end, Rittal’s standardised data centre designs and containers enable the implementation of flexible, scalable IT infrastructures within just six weeks.

“The Lefdal Mine Datacentre project demonstrates how easy it can be to establish a secure, efficient and cost-effective data centre in a very short time,” explains Dr Karl-Ulrich Köhler, CEO of Rittal International.

“Its high degree of standardisation combined with the location advantages of the western coast of Norway result in an excellent TCO analysis. Significant cost savings of up to 40% can be achieved compared to siting a Cloud data centre, for example, in Germany,” he adds.

Cooling

The cooling solution is particularly energy efficient, and will lead to a PUE ranging from 1.08 to 1.15 – depending on UPS configuration and scale of capacity. Less than 3% of the power spent on IT is used for cooling with a 5 KW/rack configuration. The proximity to the fjord ensures access to unlimited 8oC seawater all year round, which cools down the fresh water circuit from 30oC to 18oC.

IBM/CH2M HILL concluded that the Lefdal Mine Datacenter cooling solution will enable the facility to run with an industry leading PUE under 1.1 once the design is fully developed. The cooling solution is claimed to offer a 20-30% improvement over current leading edge designs operational or under construction in Europe.

LMD will also be one of Europe’s most secure data centres, meeting all Tier III requirements. Security is tight within the mountain halls, with built-in electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology, and limited access through just two points of entry. The design and documentation of infrastructure installations are highly confidential and there are specially-trained security staff onsite 24/7.iNNOVO Cloud, a German Cloud provider, will be among the first clients to move in with high density IT containers.

The first installation will be up and running in September serving both Norwegian and international clients with its Cloud portfolio, including HPC as a Service. IBM will also be providing customers with its Resiliency Services.

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