Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Chinese blockchain, HPC giant to open first international data centre in Sweden

Facebook’s new neighbour to use hub of 160,000 sqf formally used by bankrupt bitcoin firm KnC Miner and the Swedish armed forces.

Beijing-based Canaan Creative has announced it will open its first data centre outside China in Boden, in northernmost Sweden.

Canaan is a global provider of blockchain servers and also designs ASIC microprocessor solutions. The data centre will also be the first built in Europe by a company of this kind.

The first phase of the data centre will see an initial IT power load of 10MW, with servers to be switched on before the end of February. Electricity company Vattenfall has been tasked with supplying the energy for the data centre.

The building to be used by Canaan was previously used as a helicopter hangar for the Swedish armed forces. However, in 2014 it was reconfigured by KnC Miner, a Swedish bitcoin company that filed for bankruptcy in May 2016, to serve as a data centre.

Although Canaan is only planning to use 10MW, before leaving the facility, in 2014, KnC Miner expanded the capacity of the site to 30MW powering 160,000 sqf of data centre space.

Erik Svensson, CEO of Boden Business Agency (left) and N.G. Zhang, CEO and co-founder of Canaan (right). Source: BBA

N.G. Zhang, CEO and co-founder of Canaan, said: “Canaan Creative are expanding to Europe to continue developing blockchain technology for new markets and applications.

“We came to the conclusion that Boden is the best location for us to drive blockchain technology to the next level.”

The company said in a statement that some of the reasons why it chose to settle a base in Sweden was the country’s high level of technological development, the widespread use of renewable energy and the lowered tax rates.

A recent example of the high tax breaks in Sweden was the reduction of electricity tax rates charged to data centre operators by 97%.

Located 50 miles away from the Artic Circle, Canaan’s Boden site will also be able to take advantage of natural cooling to save costs. Hydropower is also a widely used source of energy in the region.

Erik Svensson, CEO of Boden Business Agency, said: “We have worked intensively over several years to become a leading cluster for blockchain and HPC technology.

Canaan Creative is a cutting-edge company with long-term plans and unique expertise in the rapidly growing blockchain market.”

Boden Business Agency works closely with Swedish organisation The Node Pole to promote and attract data centre business to the Nordic country.

Patrik Öhlund, newly appointed CEO of The Node Pole who recently spoke to Data Economy, said: “Canaan Creative’s European expansion puts Boden and Sweden at the forefront of HPC infrastructure and blockchain solutions. We now see companies increasingly looking towards specialised clusters. On the one hand to cloudify their infrastructure and on the other hand to compete in the European market.”

Canaan’s data centre sits close to another facility owned by London-based Hydro66. The company runs a 86,000 sqf modular data centre. The company has said the site could be expanded in the future as it owns nearly 500,000 sqf of land.

Facebook is also present in the area, with a hub in Luleå, 37Km away from both Hydro66 and Canaan’s data centres in Boden.