DCD: From Helsinki with love

How the FDCA is turning Finland into the hot spring of data center development

As we enter our tenth year of operation, our board member Mikko Aho spoke to DCD about the story of the group, and its plans to grow the Finnish data center industry even further during its second decade.

“The association was started to support ISO standardization work. At that time, Finland was one of the poor runners in the data center industry. We were already thinking about the next step on energy efficiency and cost. We were already reusing some heat from data centers, which we considered very beneficial, so we wanted to create a standard based on that. Finland went on to become a frontrunner in the energy reuse factor.

“Back in those days, the main purpose of the association was to raise funds from companies in the industry to support our standardization work. But even then, we thought maybe there was something more to it. Nowadays, the association looks after industry interests in Finland by increasing and promoting awareness, to create more business opportunities. We don’t just think, we have proof that this is the best place to locate your data center. Nowadays, in addition to looking after data center interests, we also support education, and of course, we promote sustainability.”

Bold claims from a country known for speaking its mind. If you’d like to learn more about why Aho feels so certain, you can read our interview with the FDCA that examines the advantages of locating in Finland, but he sums it up here:

“The physical environment, the political environment, and many other things support the fact that big data center operators should locate their data centers and finances here. Heat reuse is easy here. The main cities already have a district heating network, which can be easily utilized.”

As FLAP-D locations become more saturated in terms of both space and resources, Finland is perfectly placed to be the next big thing in data centers. Aho tells us:

“In the past decade, there’s been a massive increase in data, and in the size of data centers. The Covid epidemic was one moment in the history of data centers when there was a huge peak towards cloud services because everybody wanted to work remotely, all of a sudden. Companies wanted to invest in putting everything on the cloud. But at the same time, we have also seen good energy efficiency and sustainability development.

“The European Union is also taking actions to guide the industry in the right direction, but the industry itself has taken the first steps even before regulation comes from governments. We have seen things like the founding of the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact which brings together the norms and guidelines that the industry should follow when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability. The Association has evolved to become a well-recognized expert representative for the industry.

“We started small, but now we have created a good dialogue between the industry and the government. All the main players in the industry participate, with representatives from all the major data center companies in Finland, and in many cases, on the board, so it is very beneficial for the industry. We are also doing a lot of cooperation with other associations, to influence how their sustainability will develop.”

Read the whole article by Chris Merriman, DatacenterDynamics!