First he built one of the world’s most renowned data centers in a nuclear bunker. Now IT entrepreneur Jon Karlung, along with SSAB, has struck again. His new super-flexible, armored data center modules are ready to be shipped out and will change how people think about data centers.

With his company Modular Data Center (MDC), a spin-off from Bahnhof, Sweden’s oldest and largest independent internet service provider, Karlung wants to make the data center industry more flexible. Previously when companies wanted to expand their data centers, there was often no easy solution.

Around the turn of the new millennium, many companies invested in huge spaces, which they then failed to fill. “The concept of the giant data center complex has been the problem,” Karlung says. “Huge investments were made, and though we did well, many others took on spaces that were too big for them.”

Steel built to last and a partnership built on expertise and innovation

Now Karlung and his colleagues have developed an adjustable data center. MDC’s module solution, created in close cooperation with SSAB, provides unparalleled scalability. Each module can be complemented with new modular components, with more rack cabinets, more cooling and more power, precisely when needed. The data center can be expanded or scaled back according to the current requirements.

“The modular approach allows clients to avoid long planning periods,” Karlung says. “A complete unit, ready for operation, can be delivered in just twelve weeks. In comparison, it takes a couple of years to get a conventional data center up and running.”

SSAB, which produces the sheet steel used, is also behind the structural designs and manufacturing. “Certainly there are other companies that deliver data containers around the world, but they do not look like data centers,” says Johan Anderson, head of business development at SSAB. “And they cannot offer anything near the security we can provide.”

Strong steel for data center strongholds

One of the materials selected for the modules, Armox 500T, is used in other applications as military armor. “It is perhaps overkill, but we wanted to help make a premium product that goes beyond people’s expectations,” Johan Anderson says. When he recently visited a mining trade show in Chile, people there showed great interest in the MDC modules, given the country’s mining disaster last year.

“They want to use it as a safety container,” Anderson says. “If something happens in the mine, they could run into the container. Oxygen and other things they need to survive for a long time could be kept there.”

SSAB, together with MDC, believe the modules could be used in the future for safely storing many things, such as documents, antiques, money, medicine and chemicals.

“The potential is enormous,” says Anderson. 

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