Sustainable AI-ready infrastructure in the Nordics

Jan 8, 2024

atNorth’s CEO discusses tremendous growth journey and how it continues to push innovation in the wake of AI
Interview with atNorth CEO Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, published in Sustainability Magazine 8 Jan 2024

One of those growing technologies, unsurprisingly, is AI. For this reason, atNorth is extremely well focused on executing on its strategy to build a pan-Nordic deep data centre platform. Operating in Iceland, Sweden, and Finland, as well as working on a new facility in Denmark, atNorth anticipates that in the near future it can announce its footprint expansion to the last remaining unconquered Nordic country of Norway. 

In all of those markets in which we are building, we hope to especially cater for large-scale HPC and AI workloads,” Kristinsson explained. As well as establishing themselves in metropolitan areas, atNorth is ensuring it has a footprint in more remote locations, too.

He added: There, we can cater for workloads in the magnitude of 100 to a couple of hundred megawatts. Besides that, we are also focusing highly on servicing our customers higher up the stack. We are operating AI and HPC-dedicated clusters for our customers and are doing a lot of innovation there.”

In recent months, atNorth acquired key HPC industry player Gompute. Since the acquisition, atNorth has leveraged the Swedish company’s platform to build on top of its own progress in the HPC and AI industry.

AI is creating a boom in the industry,” Kristinsson says, relaying why for this reason atNorth is preparing for the disruption the technology brings. Though, I think that the industry has seen nothing yet because AI is still not widely adopted. There are obviously a large number of startups and a few enterprises, including the hyperscalers, that are using AI widely but this is putting a lot of stress on data centres and not least the power grids where data centres are operating.”

For this reason, he continues to explain, the Nordics are increasing in popularity when it comes to locations for data centre or IT workloads, especially power-hungry AI workloads. 

Characteristics boasted by Nordic locations not only make its data centres efficient and scalable, but also support atNorth’s core sustainability values and underpinning its belief that the Nordics is where the data centres of the future are. For example, facilities in the region can make the most of the naturally cold climate, which can offset the need for server cooling systems.

Not only does atNorth locate and build its facilities in regions where there is a highly-skilled workforce and access to true renewable energy, renewables are often the sole form of power available. Heat from its Stockholm data centre is redirected to district heating systems to heat local homes, while new facilities will reuse heat in a range of other ways.

Read the remainder of the interview either online here or download the full report.