By: Nu Yang
It might sound ironic that Google purchased a paper mill in order to build a data center for the future, but that’s exactly what happened in February 2009 when the Internet and software corporation paid about $52 million for an abandoned paper mill in Hamina, Finland. Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso had shut down the mill early in 2008, citing a drop in newsprint and magazine-paper production.
According to Wired magazine, Google thought the 56-year-old building was an ideal place to build one of its massive computing facilities because it included an underground tunnel that pulls in water from the Gulf of Finland, which Google now uses to cool its servers. The magazine reported that by May 2010, seawater was moving in the tunnel to heat exchangers inside the new data center, helping cool down thousands of machines juggling Web traffic.
Google’s head of data center operations and construction Joe Kava told Wired the company was excited to learn that the mill could use seawater for cooling. “We wanted to make this as green a facility as possible, and reusing existing infrastructure is a big part of that,” Kava said. Google also has data centers in Belgium, Ireland, and across the U.S.