Last summer Advania commissioned two advanced new datacentres in Iceland that are specialized for High Performance Computing (HPC).  These are jointly known as Mjolnir which is an addition to Advania´s Thor datacentre. Advania has extensive experience of  successful HPC hosting, one of which is the NHPC project that provides computing services to several Nordic universities. 



Cold Climate Used to Achieve World Class PUE

This addition brings the total number of computers hosted by Advania to over 3.300 where over 2.500 machines are hosted in the new Mjolnir datacentre. The power consumption of the new datacentres is 8.5MW but energy use is highly efficient. The PUE is a world class 1.05 or less and the Power Density per rack is 18KW. This power efficiency is achieved by leveraging natural cooling where we can draw upon the Icelandic climate which tends to be quitewindy and cold and this we can use to our advantage. Cold air is directed to the datacentres from the outside through the side of the buildings after air pressure is regulated in special weather containment corridors. The cold air is brought through the „cold corridor,“ to the computer racks and then on to the „hot corridor“ where the now hot air rises up to exit through air vents. The residual hot air is further used to regulate internal temperature within the two datacentres. 

Meteoric Rise of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Mining

One important and fast growing part of the HPC hosting market is Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin is a new digital currency and payment network which was launched in January 2009. It has grown from zero to over $5B in market capitalization as of November 2014 according to the web site

Coinmarketcap.com.

 

How Bitcoin Works

Bitcoin, like so many other innovative and disruptive Internet technologies operates on a Peer to Peer (P2P) network. How Bitcoin works is explained in detail on the Bitcoin.org website. In short a user can create a Bitcoin wallet on his or hers device which enables him or her to receive or make payments in a similar way e-mail communication works.  A public ledger called the “block chain” underpins the entire network since it documents all confirmed transactions.  As explained on the Bitcoin wiki page Bitcoin “mining” is the way to obtain new bitcoins into the system. It resembles the mining of other commodities since it requires exertion and it slowly makes new currency available at a rate that resembles the rate at which commodities like gold are mined from the ground. This process demands a lot of computing power employed by those individuals and companies involved in Bitcoin mining and that is where we at Advania come in.


Busier Bitcoin Mining

In line with the predicted growth of Bitcoin we anticipate continued and rapid growth in this area of HPC hosting. 

 

  • The volume of worldwide non-cash payments grew to 283 billion transactions in 2010 
  • Non-bank payment providers have more than tripled their market share from banks, they now have 21% of all transactions in 2013. 
  • Online electronic payments increased to over 30 billion transactions and $2T in value in 2013
  • Mobile payments rose 50% to 17 billion transactions worth $150B in 2013 

Source: CapGemini , Efma, RBS. The 8th Annual World Payments Report 2012

Should these trends continue as they are posed to do, we anticipate our bitcoin mines to be even busier than they are now and perhaps we need to open new mines soon. If you need any further information on HPC computing or bit coin mining don´t hesitate to contact me

Stop Motion Video of Mjolnir being built