Building the World’s Most Secure Data Center Inside a Mountain

Green Mountain Data Center

Building the World’s Most Secure Data Center Inside a Mountain

Posted on March 23rd, 2022

Mission Critical Solutions For A Unique Location

Securing data is vital to a world that has come to depend on it. All options are on the table as long as they deliver added protection.

For Green Mountain, there’s no higher priority than data center security. In fact, the company took its security measures to the extreme when it chose to build and fortify a new data center deep inside the mountains of Stavanger, Norway.

NATO had originally constructed the facility in 1964 to store ammo during the Cold War. The site initially spanned across three halls, and, in 1994, was extended to double its storage capacity to house mines and torpedoes. Following the de-escalation of geopolitical tensions, NATO no longer required the facility and divested the property in 2009.

Converting a former ammunition storage facility to a data center posed unique challenges for Green Mountain, especially since it was built inside a mountain. Their team needed reliable partners and experienced installers who could help build a strong and easily maintainable pipe joining system within existing structures and confined underfloor spaces.

Green Mountain teamed with Victaulic, a world-leader in mechanical pipe joining systems to overcome the many challenges that the site presented, constructing a truly unique data center under the most extreme conditions.

Looking for versatility and durability

Green Mountain

The complexities of the project required a better approach to pipe joining. Welding is very common in Norway, but the site needed more flexibility than welding could offer. Victaulic’s mechanical joints simplified installation and gave Green Mountain the ability to easily expand the facility as their data demands grow.

“When we were presented with the mechanical pipe joining solution from Victaulic in 2012, it was only natural for us to use this technology for our piping systems. Using a system that is not welded provided us with the flexibility we needed and was a huge cost saver since it allowed us to build in phases. We didn’t have to make assumptions on where future data racks were going to be placed, and where the cooling system should run; we were simply able to build as we grew and add customers,” commented Gyland.

Looking for a green partner

When they learned of the location, (Stavenger, Norway) Green Mountain knew they had a unique opportunity for cooling. The site is located within close proximity to a fjord and it is home to one of Europe’s lowest-priced sources of hydroelectric power. The site also benefits from a cold Norwegian climate, providing a cost-effective means to cool data.

The mechanical piping design, combined with access to a vast supply of hydroelectric power, enabled the data center to operate at lower costs, as well as with a sustainable power source. Victaulic uses 90%recycled material in their production facilities and provided a system that avoids the fumes and gases released when welding, which aligned with Green Mountain’s emphasis on becoming one of the most energy efficient data centers in the world.

Green Mountain

“It is a simple system to learn and has simple check methods to ensure proper installation. Our employees also received close follow-up from Victaulic’s representatives on the construction site if required – so it has worked very well. Using a flexible and robust technology has many advantages, for example installing Victaulic products allows us to use the same crew on every construction site, and we do not require certified welders for joining the pipes. Offering Victaulic solutions even helped us to win some major projects.”

A Consistent Performer

Green Mountain had a vision that if a mountain could keep NATO’s weapons secure, then it could also keep data secure; and they were right. Covering more than 22,000km in the mountain and growing, the Stavanger site is one of the most secure data centers in the world, according to Green Mountain CEO, Kristian Gyland.

Victaulic offered the ideal solution, but with one concern for Green Mountain; would it last? The answer was a resounding “yes.”

“The only concern we had when we installed a grooved system in our facility was whether the joints would last over time,” continued Gyland. “But having operated for close to 6 years now, we’re confident that this is a solution we will continue to work with, and we are happy with the way it’s working here at Green Mountain Data Center.”

Green Mountain

Considering the internet wasn’t invented until several years after the Stavanger NATO facility was built, it is safe to assume the engineers of the time never foresaw a day where the location would become a world-renown data center.

But as it turned out, the safety and security of a mountain, with a nearly unlimited hydro-power supply and cool climate, made for the perfect location.

The project provides another example of why Victaulic is the partner of choice in extreme conditions: proving that a mechanical grooved piping system can be installed deep within the mountains of Norway to support reliable performance and secure critical data for the world’s most renown data center.

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