Verne Global believes Iceland, home to its 40-acre data centre near Keflavik, is the best place in the world to locate high intensity computers. The available infrastructure allows it to power its data centre with 100% renewable energy, and its commitment to clean grid and stable climate drive it to select only the most exacting partners when building out new capacity.
Integra Mission Critical, co-founded by Matthew Koerner in 2015, typifies the level of excellence needed by Verne Global and the most demanding data centre users worldwide. “From the outset we at Integra focused on solving some problems we saw in the industry such as skilled labour shortages. We looked to streamline design, manufacturing, construction, commissioning, and handing over mission critical facilities in a manner that allowed them to be more streamlined, more cost and schedule efficient, and ultimately enabled larger data centre companies around the world to achieve a more consistent project.”
Innovation is essential in this industry, but nobody wanted to be first to change, Matt Koerner found. “Figuring out how to implement that change and get it globally accepted is a challenge, and that challenge we rise to every day!”
John Kolar heads Integra Mission Critical's design, engineering and manufacturing functions from its Akron, Ohio factory. The partnership with Verne Global is based on shared values, he says. “We quickly found that their goals and their values matched our own very closely.”
Iceland is a very environmentally-friendly environment in which to build a data centre, he confirms. The climate allows Integra to build a facility beating American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommended conditions, specifically with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) better than level 1.10, without using any kind of mechanical refrigeration. “There were existing buildings on Verne's site, a former NATO airbase, that we could reuse adapting our technology to the facilities they had. From an environmental impact standpoint reusing existing buildings is a pretty spectacular opportunity because it allows us to deliver the project in a cleaner way, at the same time saving cost and speeding up the schedule.”
The two companies, as well as sharing the same values, work well together operationally, Kolar confirms. “We match up well together when it comes to integrating our equipment with their team – and Verne has got an outstanding engineering team! We effectively integrated our respective design teams as one.” On the side of Verne, their group provided local knowledge on-site, while Integra Mission Critical brought its specialised knowledge of the hyperscale data centre market, the equipment, and how to bring resilience and flexibility into the future-proofed system design. “With clear, open communication between our groups, it's a delight to see how our teams combine.”
Integra designs and manufactures equipment that is simply not available in the industry – for example cooling units that have a capacity well beyond 1,000 kW. It leads innovation, one of many examples being its hybrid fluid cooler, developed well ahead of the industry. However the goal of data centre builders and operators alike is green operation, says Kolar. “Our high-density, 'close-coupled' cooling equipment means we can really drive the PUE down and the density up. And you don't need a huge building for this equipment.”
Matt Koerner reinforces Kolar's view: “One thing that attracted us to Verne Global was their drive toward innovation and environmental sustainability.” Integra Mission Critical is part of the Critical Project Services group of companies that he leads. “Verne's drive to innovation and sustainability has really exercised all of those companies within our portfolio: they've been instrumental in assisting us in the development of some of our environmentally sustainable innovations. We are excited by some of the projects coming to market soon from our portfolio companies, on grid-scale energy storage and implementation for example. Verne's participation in innovation has truly made this an outstanding partnership.”