Across Europe and beyond, businesses are moving their mission-critical data to the Nordics. With cheaper land prices and cold conditions ideal for cooling servers, the cost advantages offered by data centers in Scandinavia and the Baltics are impossible to ignore. Even more significant is the low price of electricity, which makes running a data center near the North Pole incredibly efficient – in many cases, up to 50% cheaper when compared with central Europe.
Also, for many businesses, sustainability is becoming as important as profitability. That’s why the abundance of renewable power is another key feature attracting customers to the Nordics. With much of its energy already coming from wind, hydropower and geothermal sources, Scandinavia is well on the way to complete independence from fossil fuels. So using data centers here enables businesses to achieve their environmental goals and allows them to demonstrate their green credentials to customers.
Northern Europe is now the ultimate destination for enterprises and service providers of all sizes looking to stay competitive in an era of rapidly evolving technology trends like connected cars, autonomous driving, smart cities, the IoT and the cloud.
Facebook, Google and Microsoft are just some of the household names who have built facilities in countries like Sweden and Finland, and the biggest players have certainly set the benchmark for cost. Meanwhile, local data center operators are busy drawing customers north with individualized Tier 3 and 4 services, delivering a higher degree of local optimization. They are offering non-standard, tailor-made solutions for enterprises demanding low-layer encryption, enhanced disaster recovery or simply a more environmentally friendly cloud service.
One of the latest companies to invest in facilities in the area is Hetzner Online, the German web-hosting provider and supplier of IT services to private and business customers around the world. In 2016, they began developing land just north of Helsinki, Finland. Now that development is home to their own 150,000sq-foot data center.
An Undersea Digital Highway
Aside from reduced operational costs, key to the company’s decision to build in the Finnish capital was its geographical position. Locating its new facility here enabled Hetzner Online to leverage the submarine cable link between Helsinki and Rostock, known as C-Lion1. This first-ever direct connection from Finland to Germany enables low-latency data transfer from Hetzner Online’s headquarters in Rostock, so that speeds are not affected while data is stored and processed offshore.
Constructed by the Finnish ICT solutions provider, Cinia, the C-Lion1 subsea cable represents a huge opportunity for businesses and data centers. The 1,172km cable offers the shortest and fastest route between central Europe and data center locations across Northern Europe, as well as Eastern Europe and Asia.
And Cinia’s ground-breaking solution is an example of how innovation can change the rules of the game. What makes it so special is that it lets customers connect their own device to the network and privately rent optical spectrum. This removes limitations of speed and capacity and gives customers complete flexibility.
It’s like owning your own lane on the data autobahn. When carriers provide access to photons rather than electrons, there’s no longer a speed limit for the enterprise customer. Cinia’s bring-you-own-transponder approach provides access to bespoke end-to-end solutions with 10, 100 or even 400Gbit/s capacity. These services can also be protected with the most robust security technology available. Low-layer encryption is possible as part of security solutions designed specifically for an industry, application or individual customer.
Bring Your Own Device
Renting spectrum on Cinia’s data highway means big opportunities without the risk of significant investment. The open optical line system enables individual bandwidth to be utilized, giving businesses in central Europe a low-latency connection with the north, allowing them to keep pace with the likes of Hetzner Online without the huge cost.
And with more disaggregated networks opening up between Scandinavia and the rest of the continent, rapidly growing businesses in Frankfurt or London will be able to access the affordable hosting and colocation services they desperately need. With their own wavelength, they can ensure an experience every bit as reliable, fast and familiar as if they were accessing their own local facility. What’s more, they can leave the infrastructure challenge completely to the Nordic data center and be able to focus solely on customers, services and generating revenue.
Cinia’s open undersea link looks set to be a key data highway between eastern and western Europe and one of the major connections between Nordic data centers and the rest of the continent. As the IoT and the cloud continue their exponential growth, the survival of many European businesses will surely depend on disaggregated links like this. Only by opening networks and removing limitations will companies be able stay ahead in the data center gold rush.