The growing importance of location

May 17, 2024

The growing importance of location to driving cost efficiencies and sustainable IT
guest blog by Nick Riddalls, Global Head of Processing, Shearwater Geoservices

Shearwater is a global provider of geophysical marine services. Our expert imaging technology and processing software provides high quality sensor imaging and seismic data analysis. We operate 24 large vessels across the world, with each one typically requiring a terabyte of data a day. Most of our processing has traditionally been hosted on premise at our facilities in the US and UK. However, as we continued to acquire and operate high performance workloads at a much greater scale, we needed to explore other options to continue to meet the capacity and scalability demands of our compute and to put greater emphasis on our ESG strategy and reducing our environmental footprint. 

Thus began our search two years ago for a reliable data center partner who could help us host our data-intensive workloads and processing equipment in an efficient and sustainable way.

The Path to Migration 
Many people say that moving house is one of the most stressful life events. Professionally speaking, I would equate this to re-homing your IT infrastructure. Migrating your IT systems – whether this be on-site, to the cloud or both – is an incredibly daunting task, but one that my team and I have learned is well worth the effort for the end result. Of course, we are lucky to have found atNorth.

Working with the atNorth team from the start has helped ease the transition. We worked together to get under the skin of the migration process, to understand the priorities, timelines, initial concerns and potential obstacles. This was the most critical step in the whole process: having a clear, realistic plan in place. 

From here, we built the proof-of-concept, where we moved an initial, smaller footprint to atNorth’s ICE02 data center facility in Iceland. This phase was key to establishing whether the workload could run as effectively as with previous existing workloads hosted in the US and UK, while also anticipating and mitigating any potential risks. It also helped ease some of our initial concerns with the move, including latency, reliability and connectivity and it highlighted how important location is to future-proofing your IT infrastructure. 

Data Destination: Iceland
Iceland and the Nordics overall are fast becoming the location driving IT sustainability. Migrating our workloads to atNorth’s ICE02 site has demonstrated huge savings, from cost to climate. For instance, atNorth’s facility benefits from Iceland’s energy grid, a closed loop of only renewable energy, which has helped decrease our CO2 footprint and boost electricity savings at a time when energy prices were skyrocketing in other parts of Europe. 

The Nordics are known for their commitment to the climate. The region has placed tremendous focus on renewable energy and has the right infrastructure in place to protect and safeguard the next generation of digital data and help businesses like ours navigate the path to IT sustainability. atNorth is a like-minded partner who shares our commitment to the environment and who understands the utmost importance in delivering fast, efficient, sustainable performance for our critical workloads. 

We have seen tremendous benefits in moving to atNorth, including improved sustainable operations and unmatched return on investment with an 84% cost savings and 92% reduction in carbon emissions. 

For IT migration, it really doesn’t get better than this and yet, atNorth has gone one step further. The team’s emphasis on two things have been key: 

  1. Unparalleled customer service and support. Supporting some of our largest, most critical workloads, the team has gone out of its way to ensure trust and transparency, taking the stress out of the process while delivering fast, efficient and sustainable performance.
  2. Future proofing has proven incredibly valuable to ensuring we can continue to grow and scale our workloads accordingly. atNorth’s focus on low carbon, sustainable alternative solutions, and the circular economy are extremely appealing as we continue to scale our workload requirements, improve our IT footprint, meet ESG targets, and streamline costs.

Together, We Are Capable of Amazing Things
The most important thing I have learned throughout this process has been to choose your data center partner wisely. We have accomplished something amazing by working with atNorth, we have gained a true competitive advantage with an environment first approach.

It has been and will continue to be a journey because digitalization is here to stay. Data-intensive workloads will continue at lightning speed, and it is up to us to manage this both short and long-term across our operations from IT to sustainability, with cost efficiencies and climate care at the top of the agenda. 

Click here to read our case study: Shearwater – Customer Success Story

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