SICS ICE – data center in Luleå

30 January, 2015 - 16:01

SICS ICE – the foundation for a new rapidly expanding Swedish industry sector

A new industry sector – the datacenter sector – is emerging in Sweden and it's up to us to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Several datacenter operators are establishing in the country and many companies have already begun operations: Ericsson has its Cloud business area, ABB has a datacenter business area, Alfa-Laval and Swegon have products, as well as the construction companies NCC and Skanska – not to mention Facebook's establishment in Luleå.

SICS Swedish ICT, in partnership with Luleå University of Technology, has consequently started preliminary planning for a large-scale testing and experimentation facility under the working name SICS ICE (Infrastructure and Cloud datacenter test Environment). Through the initiative, research expertise is being assembled in datacenters that supports existing research expertise in Big Data. If we properly exploit Sweden's potential there are opportunities for both sector growth and jobs. Sweden's environment and climate are perfect for datacenters, with ample access to cooling, energy and a stable geological structure, as well as a skilled work force, political stability and well-developed infrastructure.

“With a little gallows humor, you might say that Apple killed off both Nokia (with the iPhone) and the paper industry (with the iPad),” says Tor Björn Minde, project manager for work with SICS ICE. “Activities such as news broadcasting and communications are moving to the cloud, which is implemented with large datacenters, facilities with enormous computing power for calculations, for all applications and analysis of Big Data – this is where it's all happening!”

This obviously creates jobs. If all who have the need and see the benefits were to set up operations in Sweden, many more technicians and engineers would be needed in the sector. The test facility is necessary for establishing research, and a large-scale server facility is needed for testing new technology. Size is important because it is a challenge in itself and the reason why the plan is for a datacenter of at least 2 megawatts, which corresponds to at least 5,000 servers – or the annual production of electricity for all single-family dwellings in the Swedish community of Arjeplog with its 2,000 inhabitants. It's a matter of an investment of approximately SEK 200 million.

“If growth is at the rate we hope for and anticipate this means several challenges regarding energy, automation and new technology,” says SICS CEO Christer Norström. “If we can satisfy the need, in combination with the good conditions we already have in place, we hold all the trump cards. But this requires an all-embracing strategy for the datacenter sector.”

Contact: Tor Björn Minde, tor.bjorn.minde [at] sics.se