Greenergy Data Centers prioritised its green goals to ensure its new Estonian data centre had minimal impact on its environmental footprint. Aivar Karu, CIO of Greenergy Data Centers, tells us about the compound influences of the Baltics’ climate on sustainability practices and reflects on the alignment of carbon neutrality with Juniper Networks for a comprehensive approach to data centre operations.
Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, has announced that Greenergy Data Centers (GDC), the largest and most energy-efficient data centre company in the Baltics, has deployed Juniper’s cloud-ready data centre and AI-driven enterprise solutions to support its business and data centre operations.
GDC is the first and only large-scale data centre in the Baltics, offering enterprises, government agencies and managed service providers a place to safely store their mission-critical data while minimising their environmental footprint. The GDC data centre is a 14,500-square-metre, 31.5-MW facility. Multiple levels of physical security keep the premises secure. Redundant power and digital infrastructure systems support highly reliable operations.
Renewable energy sources and the Nordic climate lower cooling-related power consumption in the data centre. Residual heat generated by equipment is used to warm GDC’s offices and it also has the technical capacity to share excess heat with a district heating plant, which can then be used by local homes and offices. GDC was determined to support its data centre operations with a network that aligns with its sustainability values and chose Juniper to enable its control, infrastructure and office network. Juniper is committed to sustainable business, with a focus on innovative networking solutions that help customers reduce environmental impact while attaining their Digital Transformation goals.
The Juniper network supports the company’s integrated building and power management system, with thousands of telemetry sensors that facilitate the delivery of safe, reliable power. Hundreds of motion-activated thermal cameras connect to the network in support of GDC’s efforts to provide the highest levels of physical security.
Greenergy Data Centers (GDC) offers organisations a new choice for sustainable Digital Transformation. GDC has built the largest and most energy-efficient data centre in the Baltics, with a target Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) lower than the goal set by the European Green Deal.
“We are opening a new sector for Estonia,” said Aivar Karu, CIO of GDC. “We are using renewable energy, our engineering skills and climatic conditions to build the most energy-efficient, reliable and secure data centre in the Baltics.”
GDC relies on Juniper networking to support its business and data centre operations.
Challenge: Reduce the environmental impact of digital operations
GDC is giving enterprises, government agencies and managed service providers a place to safely store their mission-critical data while minimising their environmental footprint.
The GDC data centre is an impressive 14,500-square-metre, 31.5MW facility. Multiple levels of physical security keep customers’ data secure. Power and digital infrastructure systems with double and triple redundancy support highly reliable operations.
Renewable energy sources and the cool Nordic climate lower energy consumption. Waste heat is used to warm GDC’s offices and has the technical capacity to share excess heat with a district heating plant, which could then be used by residential and local buildings.
GDC needed a network to support its data centre operations that aligned with its sustainability values. “Our focus on sustainability extends to our choice of vendor partners,” said Karu.
Solution: Green to the core
GDC chose Juniper networking to support its business operations and data centre infrastructure. Juniper is committed to a sustainable future, with a pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2025.
The company uses Juniper QFX5100 Switches for its core network, the Juniper vSRX Virtual Firewall for next-generation, virtualised firewall services and the Juniper vMX Universal Routing Platform for carrier-grade, virtualised routing.
The Juniper network supports the data centre’s integrated building and power management system, with thousands of telemetry sensors that facilitate the delivery of safe, reliable power. Hundreds of motion-activated, thermal cameras connect to the network in support of GDC’s efforts to provide the highest levels of physical security.
GDC relies on Juniper for its access network. Juniper AP43 Access Points and Juniper EX4400 Switches deliver fast, reliable connectivity in its network operations centre, day-use client offices, assembly rooms and warehouse. Juniper cloud services – driven by Mist AI – streamline and automate network operations.
Elisa Eesti, the Estonian telecom and digital services provider, selected and deployed the Juniper network for GDC.
Results: Power digitalisation, power change
As the first data centre of its kind in the Baltics, GDC can attract more technology-driven businesses to the region while minimising the environmental impact of digitalisation. Enterprise and government organisations can choose colocation, private suites or, for maximum security, data vaults that are built into the area’s limestone.
Behind the scenes, a Juniper network supports GDC’s business and data centre operations.
“The best experience with any IT equipment is that we never have to touch it once it’s installed. We haven’t had any trouble tickets with our Juniper equipment and we know the door is open if we need help,” said Karu.
“As the largest and most energy-efficient data centre in the Baltics, we look for vendor partners that also focus on sustainability. We chose Juniper due to its highly reliable networking and focus on sustainability.”
We asked Aivar Karu, CIO of GDC, further questions to find out more about the project.
How do you remain the most energy-efficient data centre company in the Baltics and what advantages are there to residing here?
We focus on several key strategies within our business across power usage, utilising surrounding weather conditions and partnerships. One of these strategies is measuring energy efficiency through Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). Greenergy’s target PUE is 1.2, which is lower than the European Green Deal goal of 1.3 and 1.4, as well as the industry average PUE, which is 1.55. However, we won’t stop there – our aim is to achieve the best possible PUE of 1.2 by dedicating all power to IT equipment and using procured 100% renewable energy sources to power the building’s utilities.
We also employ a strategy called ‘RE optimisation’. This approach involves monitoring the temperature within our data centre and reducing it where possible. Of course, if there are any hotspots, we promptly cool them down. In tandem, we work with our vendors to exchange ideas and implement more efficient cooling solutions within our data centre.
In this regard, our location is an advantage. GDC is based in Estonia, which offers the ideal weather conditions for a data centre, as it is neither too hot nor too cold. For most of the year, we can take advantage of free cooling just by using the Nordic air outside. We only rely on cooling technologies on exceptionally hot days, when temperatures exceed 30°C, but that isn’t very often as the average yearly temperature is 6.4°C.
How critical is uptime considering you provide enterprises, government agencies and managed service providers a place to safely store their mission-critical data?
Ensuring uptime is crucial to our operations and our clients need our data centre to be available all year round. They choose us for our exceptional technical setup and robust power support systems that ensure redundancy, in the unlikely event of a component failure. To demonstrate our commitment to high uptime, in December 2022 we obtained an EN 50600 certification, a European-wide transnational standard established in 2012 for building new data centres. The EN 50600 validates our uninterrupted service, environmental control, telecommunications infrastructure, PUE and Renewable Energy Factor.
Where are you on your path to achieving net zero carbon by 2050 and what’s your strategy for success?
Currently, GDC procures 100% certified renewable energy from Nord Pool. By sourcing renewable energy, GDC is significantly reducing its reliance on fossil fuels within its energy consumption. Furthermore, we are limiting our use of fossil fuels to emergency backup diesel generators, which undergo regular testing and are hardly used.
By adopting a comprehensive approach that combines renewable energy procurement, efficient energy management and a commitment to reducing fossil fuel use where possible, GDC is on the path towards achieving our emissions goals. The company’s strategy for success includes ongoing innovation, collaboration with industry partners and a steadfast commitment to sustainability in the data centre industry.
How do you deliver on efficiency and sustainability goals through heat reuse?
During the winter, GDC repurposes excess heat produced from our data centre to warm our offices. This reduces our energy consumption and our reliance on external heating. GDC is currently exploring partnerships with nearby residential and industrial areas to utilise excess heat, promoting local sustainability and reducing energy waste. By prioritising heat reuse, we’re demonstrating and extending our commitment to efficiency and sustainability. These commitments extend beyond our business operations as we seek opportunities to enhance sustainability by transporting excess heat for the benefit of local communities.
What does the future hold for Greenergy Data Centres and where does Juniper come in?
GDC is poised for future expansion as we aim to establish more sustainable data centre facilities across Central and Eastern Europe. Our vision is to create a network of reliable data centres to support the region’s evolving digital needs.
Juniper’s role in our journey is crucial. We have had a highly positive experience with Juniper Networks and have no plans to change suppliers in the future. Its support and solutions are invaluable to us, enabling our network’s growth and allowing us to provide exceptional services across Eastern Europe. Juniper’s partnership will contribute to our network’s growth and enable us to provide exceptional services across Eastern Europe, aligning with the Three Seas Initiative that we are a part of. The initiative aims to develop economic, transport and energy infrastructure across Central Europe between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas. Juniper’s partnership contributes to our alignment with the Three Seas Initiative and strengthens our commitment to fostering economic development in the region.
Identifying suitable data centre locations has been challenging, but we are very excited to see GDC grow. With the support of Juniper, I am confident in our ability to identify and develop well-placed data centres that cater to the growing digital landscape from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. We look forward to working with it in the coming years as our business expands and grows.Click below to share this article