Green Mountain Data Centres AS is a wholesale colocation space provider based in Norway. It is a recent addition to Norway’s booming data centre industry yet brings something extra to the table in terms of features and security.  It designs and builds ultra-green, ultra secure and very low cost colocation space designed to appeal to blue chips and big IT companies looking for the best facilities without the price tag.

Green Mountain’s differentiation to similar propositions in other countries is its operational costs. Aside from the obvious benefits of renewable energy, which Norway has an abundance of, conventional energy costs are among the lowest in Europe and less than half of those in the UK. Green Mountain is able to offer energy cost guarantees for as long as ten years – an appealing prospect to large companies whose main data centre costs are tied to energy use. If that wasn’t enough to draw in big internationals, the Norwegian government also recently slashed the cost of energy tax on data centres in a bid to attract that major investment from abroad.

Location

Green Mountain is headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, and has regional offices in Oslo and London. It owns and operates two data centres, one in Rennesøy, Stavanger and one in Rjukan, Telemark near Oslo, both of which are carrier neutral and fully redundant. In critical areas there are extra levels of redundancy and three independent power feeds, two of which are from completely different grid supplies further limits the possibility of a power outage. Multiple UPS and diesel generators are on standby to further enhance resilience and a comprehensive building management system monitors all aspects of the building in real time.

Both data centres have achieved Tier III certification on design documents from the uptime institute, and Stavanger recently achieved Tier III for a constructed facility.

Stavanger is the original data centre which was opened in 2013. It is located underground within a former NATO ammunition bunker, where it still benefits from military-grade security features such as biometric pods. These compare weight, fingerprint and CCTV images before allowing access to the most secure areas.   Other security features include key pad access on all doors, CCTV monitoring of the building and advanced fire detection and suppression.  The Stavanger site covers 22,000m² and has 25MW power availability.

The first phase of the Telemark data centre opened in 2014, with further expansion planned as demand rises.  It will initially offer up to 10MW power, with the ability to scale up to 25MW plus once the site is fully developed and a total possible supply of up to 100MW. There are currently four data centres on the site and further halls can be built to bespoke specifications on demand.

Energy

Both Green Mountain data centres are powered 100% by renewable energy with virtually no CO² emissions and no carbon footprint.  Cooling is achieved via free means year round as both data centres benefit from Norway’s extremely cool climate and close proximity to chilled water sources.

In Stavanger’s case, this is a nearby fjord. In Telemark’s case, it reuses the water from a nearby hydropower generation plant, which takes its chilled water from a mountain. The chilled water is pumped to a heat exchanger in the data centre and the warmed water is pumped back out into the river, helping to support local wildlife.

The Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) for the data centres combines is around 1.2, which helped it win Green IT’s Sustainable Design Project award.

Funding/business model

Green Mountain Data Centre AS is wholly owned by the Smedvig Group – a family owned Real Estate Investment Company with a bias towards the natural resources sector.

Interest Green Mountain’s data centre services is high and it was a combination of growing demand and pressure from existing clients that led to the Telemark investment.  Smedvig plans to invest around NOK 600 million in Telemark over the coming years.

Customers and partners

One of Norway’s biggest financial services groups DNB, is a major client of Green Mountain and was one of the first businesses to expand into the new facilities, which it in part campaigned for. Other major client wins for Green Mountain include the recently signed Norwegian IT group Tieto.

Green Mountain’s technical partners, with whom it built both data centre complexes, are Norwegian IT services firm Ergogroup, Lyse Energy and Schneider Electric.

Green low cost and highly secure

Green Mountain Data Centres ticks almost every box on the colocation wish list.  As one of the biggest contributors to data centre operating expenditure, low energy costs and the abundance of green energy should serve as a big draw to large companies looking to save money and meet some of their corporate social responsibilities.

While Norway is still a little far out for some international companies to contemplate moving, Green Mountain has chosen locations in Norway that benefit from its natural resources but still lie within reach of civilisation, roads and airports.  This fact alone may help it appeal to companies looking to house large amounts of infrastructure relatively cheaply and securely, with the recently added benefit of reliable geo-redundancy.

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