Northern Sweden Experiencing A “Facebook Effect”
– The City of Lulea, one year after Facebook’s announcement of its first datacenter outside the US
Close to the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden lies the City of Lulea – home to Facebook’s new European datacenter. Following a year of construction work, the
On October 27th 2011, Facebook announced the establishment of their first datacenter outside the US – in the City of Lulea, close to the Arctic Circle. Natural cooling, low-cost hydropower energy, state of the art broadband quality – many factors made Lulea an ideal location.
“Our region has inherent qualities that are ideal for datacenters, such as our cool Arctic climate. This, together with the fact that the new datacenter will make us a Node for global data traffic, has generated a new epithet for the region – The Node Pole.” says Karl Petersen, Mayor of Lulea, himself an enthusiastic Facebook user with more than 1,860 friends on the social network.
Effects In One Year
One year after the data center announcement, positive local effects are already being noted:
· Three leading support companies for datacenters are establishing branches in Lulea.
· All-time high in applications to Lulea University of Technology (+18% since last year – the university now has 17 000 students).
· 25% increase in new companies at Lulea’s Science Park, located between the University and the new datacenter (3000+ people are currently employed by local IT companies).
· New infrastructure investments will double the capacity for Internet traffic to/from Sweden, and a pilot-project has been initiated whereby several Lulea households will receive a broadband capacity of 1000 Mbit/s.
· International construction agency NCC has created a special division with expertise for data center construction, based in Lulea.
New Arrivals from International Big Data Expertise
The Luleå region was already considered one of Scandinavia’s leading skill centers in IT before the new datacenter was announced. Since the launch however the development of new businesses has accelerated, with a 25% increase in new companies to the Lulea Science Park in only 10 months. And hot on the heels of Facebook, world-leaders in datacenter expertise are following suit. Currently, three international support companies for datacenters are setting up in Lulea:
· Fusion-io – International specialists in software and hardware solutions that accelerate applications including big data, virtualization, cloud computing and databases. One of the fastest in the world.
· EMC – Leading global company in Scale-Up and Scale-Out storage solutions enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology as a service (ITaaS).
· MILESTONE – Trusted turnkey global IT solutions provider. From hand held to desktop to data center, their vision is focused on client success. Their business model includes technology assessment, deployment and maintenance that can be customized to client needs. Their service offerings for data center support consist of highly qualified IT professionals who fulfill MILESTONE’s promises by going above and beyond.
“This past year with Facebook’s presence has meant a great deal for Sweden and Lulea. We are entering a new, digital industrial era, and we expect growth and positive effects to continue.” says Karl Petersen, Mayor of Lulea.
All-Time High in Applications to Local University of Technology
The Lulea University of Technology, located just 750 meters from the new datacenter, is experiencing an all-time high in applications from students, resulting in the university today having over 17 000 students. Some of the course programs focusing on IT engineering, have even seen the number of applicants increase by 100%.
“We have been educating data technicians since the early eighties but right now we are experiencing a previously unseen peak in interest and applications from new students. In fact, we are currently the University in Sweden that is seeing the biggest increase in student applications.” Says Johan Sterte, Vice Chancellor at Lulea University of Technology
Luleå is one of Scandinavia’s leading ICT centers with Luleå University of Technology and the Aurorum Science Park, with the vision to become a world leader in high-tech, power-intensive industries. The city of 74 000 residents is situated close to the Arctic Circle at the same latitude as Fairbanks, Alaska and Yakutsk, Russia. The location holds a combination of ideal inherent qualities for data storage. Besides having an extremely stable electricity infrastructure, the climate in Luleå provides natural cooling and renewable hydropower. The region is also one of the most geologically, politically and socially stable areas in the world. These qualities, the geographical position and the fact that the establishment of Facebook’s new data center will make the region a major node for data traffic in Europe, has generated a new epithet for the Luleå region – The Node Pole.