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Frequently asked questions: Finland datacenter

What is a datacenter and why do we need them?

The cloud is an engine that powers our daily lives. From remote work to online shopping, we increasingly depend on cloud computing.  Hundreds of Microsoft datacenters around the world facilitate that activity, storing and managing data with sophisticated physical and logical security measures that control who and what has access to the cloud. Take a virtual step inside a datacenter to learn how the Microsoft Cloud works.

Why are you planning to build a datacenter region in Finland?

Microsoft is making new investments in local infrastructure in response to the growing customer demand for Microsoft Cloud services in Finland. These investments will enhance our ability to support our customers’ digital transformation and bring the benefits of customer data residency in Finland. Today, Microsoft offers customers a range of innovative regional Microsoft cloud services to enable their businesses to move faster and achieve more. The new datacenter region will offer the same enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with customer data residency and reduced latency in Finland. This provides our customers trusted cloud services that help them meet local compliance and policy requirements.

Why have you chosen to build your datacenters in Southern Finland?

Microsoft’s new datacenter region will have one of the world’s largest systems for datacenter heat reuse, which will provide up to 40 per cent of district heating needs for the cities of Espoo and Kauniainen, and the municipality of Kirkkonummi once fully realized. The datacenter region will provide carbon free heat to the district heating system. Our partner Fortum, who owns and operates the network, has carefully assessed all options that can meet the criteria. These locations are the best and only available options.

Latency is another determining factor. For most cloud services, physical distance does not play a significant role, but there are some that require ultra-low latency. Espoo is Finland’s hub of technology research, our equivalent of the Silicon Valley.

Do you have a timeline for when you will start building?

We’re currently in the process of zoning and permitting and we’re starting the detailed planning from there. When we have more details to share on timelines, we’ll publish them on this website.

What impact will the new datacenter region have on the local economy?

In our experience, local datacenter infrastructure supports and stimulates economic development for both customers and partners alike, enabling companies, governments, and regulated industries to realize the benefits of the cloud for innovation and new projects, as well as bolstering the technology ecosystem that supports these projects. According to a recent IDC study, over the next four years, Microsoft, its partner ecosystem and cloud-using customers together will generate up to €EUR17.2 billion in new revenue and will add over 11,000 skilled IT jobs to the Finnish economy.

Does Microsoft pursue the use of renewable energy as part of its operations?

Microsoft recognizes the urgent need to act on sustainability and we have announced ambitious plans focusing on carbon, water, ecosystems, and waste.

By 2030, Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975, inclusive of our datacenter operations. Learn more HERE.

By 2025, we will shift to 100 percent supply of renewable energy, meaning that we will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100 percent of carbon emitting electricity consumed by all our datacenters. Learn more HERE.

By 2030, we’re aiming to eliminate our dependency on diesel fuel. Learn more HERE.

By 2030, Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes on a global basis. Learn more HERE.

By 2030, our goal is to achieve zero waste for Microsoft’s direct operations, products and packaging. Learn more HERE.

How do Microsoft’s cloud services compare on energy efficiency to businesses running their own datacenters?

Microsoft’s cloud services offer customers an energy efficient alternative to running their own private datacenters. According to an analysis by Microsoft in partnership with WSP, Microsoft Cloud services can be as much as 93 percent more energy efficient than traditional enterprise datacenters. You can access the full report HERE.

We continue to focus on R&D for efficiency and renewable energy and will also launch a new data-driven circular cloud initiative using the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor performance and streamline our reuse, resale and recycling of datacenter assets, including servers. Learn more HERE.

What actions is Microsoft taking to ensure driving positive change for the environment?

We take responsibility for our land footprint. We are working with the principles of biodiversity net gain (BNG). We started and will continue to do ecology surveys to capture the quantity and quality of any biodiversity loss and we will work with ecologists and landscape architects to shape the sites planting to mimic the local biodiversity.

We’re working together with the ELY center for the environmental impact assessments. We will release information as we progress and have more to share.