HPC Data Centre for Volkswagen Group at Rjukan
Green Mountain
New Design/Build Data Centre Project of the Year
Entry Description
Green Mountain expanded in 2019 the capacity at our colocation data centre at Rjukan, Norway. A new building with two data halls with a total capacity of 2,75MW were designed specifically for the Volkswagen Group in order to support their High-Performance Computing operation needs. The data centre expansion runs entirely on renewable hydroelectric power, and the wet and cold climate combined with high-tech cooling solutions, also makes it extremely energy efficient. To meet a strict construction deadline, the data center was built using prefabricated modules, reducing deployment time by 50 % to only 6 months. Access to low-cost renewable power, Norway’s beneficial framework conditions and Green Mountain’s ability to speedily deliver high quality data centres, were decisive factors for Volkswagen to choose this colocation site.

The client, Volkswagen Group, needed additional computing capacity for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars and AUDI brands for their high-performance computing solution, on which computer-intensive vehicle development projects are processed. These include the simulation of crash tests and virtual wind tunnel tests. Volkswagen focuses on economic and ecological factors in their data centres and required a climate neutral, but at the same time cost-effective data centre. In addition, time to market was an important decisive factor. The contract was signed in September 2018, with the construction phase starting October 1st. By the middle of January 2019, the first of a total of 12 prefabricated modules were delivered. On April 1st the buildings were “Ready for Service”, exactly 6 months after the start of construction.

Green Mountain already runs all our facilities on renewable hydropower and in the valley of Rjukan there is abundant supply. The main concern was therefore how to design, engineer, test and install according to timeline and budget.

The solution was to partner with Schneider Electric, using their prefabricated EcoStruxure Modular Data Center infrastructure. While the site was prepared at Rjukan, the IT modules, cooling units and the power modules were assembled at the factory before they were shipped and installed at the site. The use of pre-engineered designs and factory assembled and tested infrastructure, dramatically reduced the total project timeline and complexity. It minimized construction cost overruns and changes to the original engineering design.

The most innovative aspect of the project was making the most of the benefits of prefabricated modules without compromising customer demands regarding cost, time and sustainability. The use of indirect adiabatic cooling in combination with a self-developed automation system secured an ultra-efficient data centre. During testing with full load, the PUE was recorded to 1.05. The resilience in the local grid gave us an opportunity to design the facility without emergency generators for the IT-load. Measurements from the last 10 years shows the longest grid outage to be less than one minute. The design is made with UPSs using lithium Ion batteries supplying the IT load. In order to achieve continuous cooling during a short power outage the cooling solution is secured with emergency generators.

Our choices regarding design and methodology makes it the perfect HPC project – fulfilling the service level agreement (SLA) without oversizing the design. Managing the right risk level and focusing on costs and carbon footprint - resulting in both a greener and more cost-effective solution.

Representatives of the Volkswagen Group were also strongly involved in the process, as they have an extensive experience in building data centres themselves. Close communication and a technically competent customer made the project run smoothly as they knew exactly how they wanted the data centre.

This data centre design is based on our strategy to attract more HPC clients at this location and we are currently in dialogue with several other clients where we plan to use the same design.

In the words of Green Mountain CEO, Tor Kristian Gyland: “We are extremely proud of the vote of confidence from the Volkswagen Group, and I am truly satisfied with the effort from everyone involved in this project – both internal employees and external partners. We believe this project sets an example of the “Norwegian value proposition” that can attract more international clients to Norway.”

Also see video from Volkswagen Group regarding the data centre: https://youtu.be/Z_UARbEOa00
Supporting Documents