New year round-up: five data centre developments that closed 2021

04 January 2022 | Melanie Mingas

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The latest news from STC, Involta, atNorth, DEWA and WISeKey

Carlyle snaps up Involta

A fund managed by global investment firm Carlyle is to acquire Involta, a data centre company focused on hybrid IT and cloud infrastructure, including data centre colocation, hybrid cloud, edge, fibre, and related products.

 The terms and value of the investment were not disclosed, but Carlyle did say its "capital, resources, and expertise" would be used to expand Involta's operations. Involta owns and operates 12 data centre facilities and an in-house 12,000+ fibre-mile network.

Joshua Pang, head of digital infrastructure for Carlyle’s infrastructure group, said, "Involta has built a world-class platform with a demonstrated operating model for delivering high-quality service to customers in an increasingly complex, hybrid cloud-based world. We see significant opportunity for growth given the long-term secular demand drivers of data proliferation, digital connectivity, and the digitization of enterprise and institutional operating models. We look forward to a strong, long-term partnership and to leveraging Carlyle’s scale, resources, and access to capital to drive sustainable growth at Involta.”

 

Partners Group to acquire atNorth

Partners Group is to acquire atNorth, as it moves on plans to create a major pan-Nordic provider of sustainable and efficient data centre solutions.

atNorth provides renewable-only, power efficient, and cost-optimized data centre hosting services to its clients. Its two locations in Iceland have a total committed power capacity of circa 83MW with another site of circa 11MW under construction in Stockholm, Sweden which will start operations next month.

As it drives the growth of atNorth, Partners Group will work with management on a transformational value creation plan that will include constructing new sites, growing the contract portfolio, building a connectivity ecosystem, and institutionalizing internal processes.

Esther Peiner, managing director, private infrastructure Europe, Partners Group, says: "This opportunity to build next generation infrastructure across the Nordics lies at the intersection of our Digitization and Decarbonization giga themes. Emerging technologies, such as machine learning, AI, and 5G, will likely drive exponential growth in the data center infrastructure required to power and run such applications. Meanwhile, there is rising demand from businesses for green IT solutions. We have conviction in atNorth's growth potential and look forward to working with CEO Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson and deputy CEO Eva Guðbjörnsdóttir on our transformational value creation plan."

MEA's largest solar-powered data centre breaks ground

Phase one construction has begun on the Middle East and Africa's largest solar-powered data centre.

The facility belongs to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and will be Uptime TIER III-Certified.

The data centre will be implemented by Moro Hub (Data Hub Integrated Solutions LLC), a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. The carbon-neutral green data centre will use 100% renewable energy with a capacity exceeding 100 megawatts (MW).

“Data is quickly becoming the new engine for economic expansion and diversification. As more data centre facilities are established in the future, this project serves as an exemplar of combining digital and power electronic technologies to create greener, low-carbon ICT infrastructure powered through renewable energy.

"We are committed to contributing towards carbon neutrality worldwide and very proud to be working with Moro Hub, in what is truly a landmark project for the region in this regard,” said Steven Yi, President of Huawei Middle East & Africa.

This new facility is the second solar-powered green data centre in Dubai launched by Moro Hub.

 

STC partners with Huawei, SBM, and MMR for advanced data centres

STC has established partner agreements with Huawei, SBM, and MMR to establish advanced cloud computing-based data centres in Saudi Arabia.

STC said the new partnerships aim to extend capabilities "to accelerate the kingdom’s digital transformation programme through the data distribution process that has flexibility and complies with international standards".

Within days of this news, Solutions by STC signed a two-year $42 million contract with its largest shareholder, STC, for centralised storage servers and internet gateway.

The news followed an earlier commitment to invest $400 million in the region's "largest cloud-enabled data centre".

WISeKey to invest $10 million in crypto mining at Geneva data centre

WISeKey has committed $10 million to begin bitcoin mining operations at its Geneva-based data centre.

The former Swiss military-bunker-turned-data-centre is located in the Swiss Alps and is so secure it is capable of protecting data from nuclear catastrophe, according to WISeKey. The bunkers have been transformed to provide an ultra-secure environment for bitcoin mining as they have IT security certifications from the ISO 27001 to the EM-SHIELD seal, which certifies protection against electromagnetic pulse.

WISeKey’s crypto mining operations will be performed via a Special Purpose vehicle already created in Zoug with the name TrusteCoin AG. The objective will be to gradually acquire and install over one thousand bitcoin mining machines at its secure Swiss Alps bunker facilities that will be connected to a control center at WISeKey bunker in Geneva. WISeKey is also looking at other similar locations offering the same type of bunkers such as in Gibraltar and United States that will be gradually connected to the network taking into consideration regulatory and sustainability aspects.