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Google to convert Finnish paper mill to data hub
Tuesday, 17th February 2009
Nancy Davis Kho
In an elegant example of a transitioning data economy, Stora Enso announced plans to sell its Summa mill located in the city of Hamina, Finland to Google, which is expected to use the site as a new data center. The sale, valued at some €40 million and covering only part of the mill's property, is expected to be completed by the end of first quarter 2009 (http://digbig.com/4ygpy).
Google already has more than 40 data centers around the world to support its cloud computing activities. As Tim Buckley Owen pointed out in his June 2008 post about the wisdom of clouds (http://web.vivavip.com/forum/LiveWire/read.php?i=7660), clouds are a disruptive technology that are poised to gain favor for the cost savings and increased flexibility they offer to enterprises. Where companies were once happy to offload backoffice functions like storage to cloud data centers, the tough economy means that even key business processes are being scrutinized as to their suitability for moving to the cloud.
So that's why Google - and other big cloud players like eBay and Amazon - need to expand cloud capacity. Though the exact number and location of Google data centers is closely guarded, some estimates have it at eleven or twelve in Europe alone (here's a map of Google data centers put together by Royal Pingdom http://digbig.com/4ygqb). And these data centers, which are basically warehouses full of servers, consume huge amounts of energy.
Google's made a commitment to being a carbon-neutral corporation, so one way they address the challenge is through the use of hydro-electricity. Hamina's location on the Baltic coast in southeastern Finland follows the model of other Google data centers located by lakes and canals.
What is a little different, and very 2009, is to see paper mills shuttered due to lack of demand for newsprint, magazine paper, and pulp capacity (http://digbig.com/4ygqc) reopened in favor of server farms which make it easier to display all that content online.
By Nancy Davis Kho
With more than a decade of experience in the product management and business development side of online content, Nancy Davis Kho now writes about the rapidly changing environment of digital content and its implications for business.
Nancy is a frequent contributor to EContent Magazine, Streaming Media, Enterprise Search Sourcebook, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her website is at www.daviskho.com.
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