At Datacenter Forum Helsinki Aleksandrs Grebezs, technical director at Fima, talked about building a data center in the largest TV tower in the EU (watch the presentation here). The project is part of a larger trend in the EU to repurpose TV towers. The Netherlands has multiple examples of tv towers turned data center
An alternative to the traditional data center
The countryside in the Netherlands is increasingly filled with boxes of blocks, benefitting from nearby often subsidized electricity. The old TV towers form a 'more natural' destination for data centers: they were already there, have a relatively small footprint, and since the analog television signal in the Netherlands was switched off in 2006, many floors have become available where servers are now being rented out. The towers are located at a 10 kilovolt point in the power grid, they are interconnected via fiber optic and there is emergency power. What is not to like?
Visualising the invisible
It is clear that the exponentially growing hunger for and production of weightless data is having more and more physical consequences. From the exhaustion of raw materials for the production of electronic hardware to the emission of greenhouse gas, including from the production of the required electricity. Parallel to the virtual cloud, there is a CO2 cloud that is globally the same size as the emissions of the entire aviation sector pre-corona.
Niels Schrader is a designer and fascinated by data, Roel Backaert is a photographer specializing in architecture. For two years now, under the name Acid Clouds, they have been mapping 'the material traces of virtual data' in images and statistics: the closed boxes along the motorways and in the polder and the former tv towers.