Why Green is Building the Country’s First High-Performance Data Center
Construction work has just started: Green Datacenter AG is building a new data center on its premises in Lupfig, in the canton of Aargau. This data center, which is geared towards high density, is designed to satisfy even the most stringent requirements of the world’s leading Internet corporations and their clouds.
According to a recent study conducted by Cisco, the global data volume of all data centers amounted to 6.8 zettabytes in 2016. By 2021, this volume is expected to rise to 20.6 zettabytes, with the cloud accounting for 94% of this number. The world’s leading Internet companies are therefore the biggest drivers of growth in the Internet infrastructure. Their need for storage space and computing capacity is simply incomparable with any other Internet application.
Data volumes such as these cannot be economically managed with traditional data center technology, which is why the Internet giants are continually looking for ways to make their hardware more powerful. The key question is: How do you achieve greater performance on a given space?
The technological advancements made in space requirement minimization is breathtaking. However, the cloud providers’ hardware also needs far more power and thus cooling capacity per area compared to the server which a small bakery uses for hosting its website. A conventional data center offers between 3 and 5 kilowatts (kW) of power per rack, while the international champions require between 10 and 25 kW per rack as a bare minimum. This is why the term “high density” is used to refer to data centers such as these.
In recent years, a completely independent infrastructure has evolved in the premier league among data centers, and this has little to do with what a normal data center customer would encounter. If a certain area or data volume is usually booked, there is only one currency in the high density world: installed power in kilowatts.
Internationally, data centers such as these are sprouting out of the ground like mushrooms, as illustrated by a survey conducted by the research institute Synergy Research Group. Indeed, between April 2016 and the end of 2017 alone, the number of high-density data centers worldwide increased from 340 to almost 400. It is expected that the 500 mark will be passed in 2019. In many cases, these data centers are designed and operated by one of the large cloud providers themselves. Data centers of this caliber have never existed in Switzerland before, because the country, with its population of 8 million, had never yet been a primary target market for the cloud from the international corporations’ point of view. But the lack of infrastructure in Switzerland was a major hurdle for a number of companies to overcome when converting to cloud solutions. In some industries, such as finance and healthcare, the law stipulates that data may only be stored and processed within Switzerland.
A New Building in Lupfig
Green Datacenter is now building the first data center on Swiss soil which is conceptually geared towards high density from A to Z. The company firmly believes that the cloud will continue its triumphant advance and that growing numbers of large Swiss companies will rely on cloud solutions. The large cloud providers will also respond to this demand by purchasing appropriate infrastructure. What had been lacking up until now was a domestic data center capable of meeting the cloud operators’ requirements.
“Zurich West 3” closes this gap. The new data center from Green covers the needs of all customer groups. In particular, it offers international customers a tremendously powerful solution. The biggest challenge when designing a project such as this is cooling. Due to the higher density, the air around the equipment heats up much quicker than in the case of conventional data centers. What’s more, the cramped spatial conditions in Switzerland make planning more difficult compared to other locations. Green Datacenter has positioned itself perfectly to accommodate these circumstances with its technological know-how incorporated in “Zurich West 3”. The investment volume amounts to around CHF 70 million and the data center is scheduled to open in mid-2019, so the cloud can come!
“Zurich West 3” designer and project manager. He has worked for Green Datacenter AG since the start of 2018 and previously supervised a number of construction projects for hyperscale data centers at international level.