World’s northernmost data center opened in Norilsk
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World’s northernmost data center opened in Norilsk

October 16, 2020

BitCluster Nord is located on the territory of the former Nickel plant.

The data center, or DPC (data processing center), must have a high level of protection, for which it was specially prepared to work in the Far North. Experts are confident that the Norilsk data center will last a long time and will not require additional costs.

Tatiana Arestova, PR director of the international infrastructure project BitCluster (headquartered in Switzerland), explained that when creating and commissioning a data center in Norilsk, they used the experience and standards of building modern data centers around the world. She said that the opening will take place in several stages. The first stage of electric power capacity is 11.2 MW. Next year, it is planned to increase the capacity to 31 MW.

Now the site, which was equipped on the territory of the now closed Nickel plant, houses modular data centers designed to accommodate modern Antminer S19 devices. Their first batch was brought to Norilsk in the amount of 150 pieces.

“Additionally, a canopy has been designed for the cold corridor, in which warm air is mixed to prevent from snow entering. In the future, we will use another workshop, which is undergoing renovation”, the BitCluster Instagram page reads.

Experts agree: despite the fact that Norilsk is a city with a harsh climate, cold is just what is needed for comfortable data center work.

“The equipment can get very hot during operation. If it’s hot outside, the devices will quickly fail, leading to economic losses. Cool temperatures, on the other hand, extend the life of the devices. And you don’t need to pay extra for cooling – it’s simply created by nature. This region is critical because there is no difference in price during peak hours, which keeps the devices running smoothly and efficiently 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After all, the more often a device is turned off, the more often it fails”, explained BitCluster.

The company also said that the most important indicator for efficient mining is the price for electricity, which in our region is one of the lowest in the country. At the same time, electricity is very stable and reliable. “We have entered into a direct agreement with the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company”, said BitCluster.

Alexander Pestryakov, Chairman of the Norilsk City Council of Deputies, who has worked for 14 years in the field of information and telecommunication technologies and is well versed in this topic, highly appreciates the potential of the data center. According to him, it is the Arctic that is most economically profitable for the location for data centers, which, by the way, he also spoke about in the spring of 2019, when he negotiated with potential investors and offered Norilsk as a construction site, speaking at the Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“I am sure this is just the beginning of the digital reality of Norilsk. We have fiber-optic communication lines, energy capacities, personnel, and infrastructure. I am sure that any government should think for decades ahead, predict the technologies and urbanism development to make the Arctic develop along an intensive path. The construction of data centers in the Arctic will allow attracting large investments there, which will undoubtedly become a driver of regional development”, said Alexander Pestryakov.

Now the world’s largest IT corporations, such as Google and Facebook, are actively building new data centers beyond the Arctic Circle (in Sweden, Finland, Norway). The reasons for choosing such locations are again cold climate, cheap electricity and the availability of building areas.

Text: Mikhail Tuaev, Photo: BitCluster press office

October 16, 2020

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