Author: Sara Wretborn

Stockholm – A city of diversity and resilience

The attack in Stockholm on Friday was a sad reminder that our open societies are vulnerable to assaults from intolerant forces trying to destabilize our countries.

Like other European cities which have been attacked over the last years, our resolve to remain who we are is only strengthened by acts of terrorism. Stockholm is one of the most open and tolerant cities in the world, and its openness and diversity are at the core of what makes Stockholm a vibrant, dynamic and innovative capital.

The manifestation in Stockholm during Sunday to honor and mourn the victims of the attack was a clear demonstration of our commitment to openness, respect of one another and our resolve to meet hate with love.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends.

Stockholm Data Parks

Amazon Web Services opens Data Centers in Sweden – interview with Torbjörn Bengtsson, head of ICT division at Invest Stockholm

Stockholm Data Parks had the chance to speak with Torbjörn Bengtsson at Invest Stockholm. Torbjörn heads the ICT division and is Invest Stockholm’s representative in Stockholm Data Parks. He played an important role in bringing Amazon Web Services to the Stockholm Region. 

What are the advantages of establishing a data center in the Stockholm Region?
The Stockholm region combines all the great things Sweden can offer ie lowest power cost in the EU, reliable power grids, green power and a great connectivity to the rest of Europe with the added advantage of being a major city. Here you are close to the customers. Stockholm is the head quarter of many large multinational firms as well as producing tech unicorns at a level not seen anywhere outside Silicon Valley. Being an internet hub with 125 connected networks and all major carrier allows datacenter operators and content providers to connect redundantly to end users across the Nordics & Russia.

What are the key reasons Amazon decided to invest in the Stockholm Region?
The adoption of cloud has matured to an advanced stage here and we have a high density of cloud-dependent companies, many of them using Amazon Web Services. For example, iZettle, King and Mojang rely on AWS for their infrastructure. Quoting from the Amazon press release,  “An AWS Region in Stockholm enables Swedish and Nordic customers, with local latency or data sovereignty requirements, to move the rest of their applications to AWS and enjoy cost and agility advantages across their entire application portfolio.”

In general, datacenter operators look for the right conditions in terms of low energy costs, a strong renewable energy base and robust fiber connectivity. From a site perspective they are look for locations that will have as much of the permitting in place as possible and will allow them to scale up ie have plenty of power and room for expansion.

How will this benefit the Stockholm Region?
Apart from the obvious capital investment, head count in operations and construction at three different locations in the greater Stockholm region (the cities of Västerås, Eskilstuna & Katrineholm) this is a major addition to the Swedish IT infrastructure and will support customers across the Nordics in their digitalization, migration to the cloud and to grow their business. To attract a player like Amazon will of course also put Stockholm on the map for other investors and build a larger ecosystem around the datacenter and cloud industries.

How large are these data centers and when should we expect them to be operational?
AWS never reveal their investments by region (sqm, power usage, headcount or USD invested) but Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS told Swedish DI Digital that this is a major investment not only in terms of the infrastructure itself but also in the staff they employ. “Over time it could mean billions of dollars if Stockholm is a successful region, and all the regions where we have launched so far have been successful”, he said.

What should we expect next for Stockholm?
We feel that the Nordics and Stockholm especially so are in the focus for datacenter investors after the tax cut as of Jan 1st 2017 which gives Sweden the lowest power costs in the EU. The investment by AWS will of course strengthen the case for Sweden and Stockholm even more so. We will together with Business Sweden and our partners in the Datacenters by Sweden project & Stockholm Data Parks continue to push this message to our potential investors.

I think that the offer that SDP represent, allowing datacenter operators to be climate positive and get paid for their excess heat, will be an even more attractive proposition during 2017 and 2018, and that we will see more companies following in the footsteps of Interxion and Ericsson that have chosen to resell their excess heat.

Why Stockholm is one of the best connected cities in World – interview with Mattias Fridström at Telia Carrier

Go to Stockholm – Get connected

Stockholm Data Parks had a chance to speak with Mattias Fridström, Vice President & Chief Evangelist at Telia Carrier, part of the publicly listed Telia Company that was previously the PTT incumbent in Sweden and Finland. Telia Carrier got off the ground in the late 1990s when it became possible for corporations to own and manage telecommunications and data cables across national borders. The company started to invest heavily in Europe and the United States, laying its own fibers as well as acquiring access to existing networks.

Today, Telia Carrier is a Top 2 world leader provider of Internet backbone connectivity, connecting global content providers and more than 680 operators throughout the globe. The company is present in most major cities in Europe and USA, with more than 220 points of presence worldwide in total. For example, 1.3 billion people play computer games that rely on Telia Carrier’s backbone connectivity.

Mattias, what characterizes a great fiber network?
– Assuming that all the basic technical requirements of a network are in place, the key aspect of a great fiber network is its redundancy. The choice of equipment is only a small part of this question. More important is a network’s geographical diversity. You need to ensure multiple routes between all large cities and countries.

For Telia Carrier’s major points of presence, we always have at least two access points, (called red point and blue point). This ensures very high availability for our customers and for their end-customers throughout the world. For transmission between Europe and the US, Telia Carrier has acquired access to over 10 different routes to secure the best possible diversity. For submarine routes this is especially important since repair times sometimes exceeds two weeks, compared to six to eight hours for a land connection.

What are important factors in a fiber deal?
– Closely connected to what makes a great fiber network, your ability to prove your network’s diversity will be at the core of any serious fiber deal. The more of a network that you own yourself the better, since for those parts you will be able to make credible commitments for SLA and repair times.
There is a considerable difference between deals for whole fibers and individual wavelengths, respectively. For wavelengths, prices have fallen significantly in recent years, with only small differences depending on distance between different locations. This is due to improvements in technology where laser signals need less frequent regeneration compared to just a few years ago. Today, a signal can travel 1,500-2,000 km without regeneration, depending on bandwidth. The price of a 10G wavelength from Stockholm to any major European city is around EUR 1,000/month.

Data center operators and their customers are looking for good connectivity. What does it mean and would you say that Stockholm meets those requirements?
In this sense, connectivity is the ease of access, on the one hand, to all content providers and, on the other, to all end-users through local ISPs. From this perspective, Stockholm is exceptionally well positioned. In addition to Telia Carrier being the largest Internet backbone carrier in Europe, 17 additional European backbone carriers are present in Stockholm. Of these, including Telia Carrier, 13 are global carriers – suggesting that you have excellent connectivity to all European markets at competitive prices. Already today, games and video streaming are provided from Stockholm to the European continent as well as to the US.

In addition, at the largest Internet Exchange in Stockholm, NetNod, with more than 125 connected networks, all the major carriers and ISPs are present together with all major content providers like Akamai, Amazon, Apple, Cloudflare, Edgecast, Facebook, GoDaddy, Google, IBM Softlayer, LeaseWeb, Limelight, Microsoft, Netflix, Riot Games, Twitch, Twitter and Vkontakte.

Finally, I should also mention that Stockholm has the best connectivity and connections in Europe for serving St. Petersburg and Moscow, and that Telia Carrier’s points of presence, of course, include the major cities in Asia.

Choosing Stockholm as a location, would latency be a concern?
Very few applications are sensitive to delays. In the industry, the general assessment is that latency would be a consideration for less than 10 percent of applications. Financial, computerized trading applications where a few extra milliseconds could make or break a deal clearly need to be close the trading centers. Otherwise, human users will not notice delays shorter than 30-40ms. Within that range of delay, you can reach far more than 100 million users in Europe and more than 50 percent of Europe’s GDP from Stockholm.

Interxion set to build €29 million facility with Stockholm Data Parks

Reduced electricity tax for more data centers in Sweden

In today’s budget proposition by the Swedish government, two important changes affecting data centers were introduced. First, the previous change to lower the electricity tax for data centers in Sweden is suggested to be extended to data centers larger than 0.1 MW (previously larger than 0.5 MW). Secondly, ensuring neutrality between different cooling and heat recovery solution, it is suggested that the tax reduction explicitly applies to the production of heat and cooling for data centers also when supplied by an external company, like Fortum Värme in Stockholm Data Parks.

Read mote about the budget proposition by the Swedish government regarding the lowered electricity tax