For Data Center, Google Goes for the Cold

Google Inc.’s opening of a €200 million ($273 million) server hall in Hamina, Finland, over the weekend is boosting Scandinavian hopes that other big Internet companies will choose to build data centers in the region, attracted by its cold climate and low electricity prices.

Along with other Internet giants, Google has spent large amounts on building server capacity, to allow users remote access to stored files and programs through so-called cloud computing. In the past two years, it has converted an old paper mill close to the small town of Hamina, on the Baltic Sea coast of Finland, into a massive data center.

The mill was built to produce paper for magazines and newspapers, but the paper industry has seen demand for its products decrease as competition from online media has left many newspapers struggling. Paper manufacturer Stora Enso Oyj closed production at the mill in 2008, and Google saw the opportunity to fill the structure with the technology that contributed to the demise of papermaking in Hamina. A main attraction for the U.S.-based company was the cool Finnish climate.

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