There was a time when data facilities had to be kept close to the knowledge workforce because the cost of building and maintaining broadly distributed network architectures was just too high, as was the latency they created.
Today’s high-speed, high-bandwidth networks have put an end to that, however, resulting in global cloud configurations that can connect data to virtually any device at a moment’s notice. The end result is that data centers are starting to crop up in the most unusual places, most often driven by the desire to implement the broadest possible data footprint while keeping costs to a bare minimum.
In many cases, this has led to a building boom of sorts in the coldest climates of the globe. Facebook, for one, recently took the wraps off its newest hyperscale facility, located in the small town of Lulea, Sweden. The facility lies just south of the Arctic Circle where the temperature rarely hits 70 degrees F and can easily slip to below zero in the dead of winter. Using ambient air and Sweden’s ample supply of renewable energy (mostly hydroelectric), the facility boasts a PUE of 1.04, which means that just about all the energy it consumes goes to data infrastructure, not cooling or power generation. For a center that handles upwards of 10 billion messages per day, that adds up to quite a savings for Facebook.