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A Look Inside The Air Data Center

Originally posted in in 2019. Updated in 2023.

Data centers are not just servers and racks. Operating a data center requires a lot of knowledge as well as mechanical and technical expertise. In this blog post we’ll explain some of the infrastructure components and choices for The Air Data Center.

Design – Build – Operate

A lot of data center companies focus only on operating the data center. The capability to design and build brings a number of benefits, for instance the capability to optimize for smooth operation.

Design of an enterprise-level data center starts from the goal that there is no single point of failure. All infrastructure components are fully redundant and maintenance can be performed without compromising production. Importantly, in a situation where a component fails, there is always a backup in place.

After design, operating data center infrastructure means tweaking for the optimal conditions. This results in operational cost savings and efficiency. This is also where colocation brings a lot to the table – know-how and experience of how to ensure perfect conditions, understanding of latest technologies in the data center and guaranteed service.

Active Fire Protection

Ficolo is introducing active fire protection in The Air. This completely water-free system is the only fire protection method that enables full data center operation in case smoke is detected. Most fire protection systems focus on protecting people and assets, which is a necessary, but in addition to this, the active fire protection system prevents data loss and protects the SLA. The system works by lowering oxygen levels immediately when abnormal conditions are detected. It samples tiny particles from the air and takes preventive actions by creating a protective atmosphere that prevents open flames from developing.

Traditional fire protection methods using water usually cause damage to the whole rack or server room. Such systems function when it is already too late to protect the service, whereas the active fire protection system enables full production at all times.


Servers produce lots of warm air and thus require constant monitoring of conditions. Cooling is undoubtably one of the massive systems inside data centers.

The Air utilizes combined energy and cooling cells (CECC) and cooling is based on a heat exchange wheel free cooling solution taking advantage of the Finnish cool climate to the maximum. This is energy efficient and a low PUE (power usage effectiveness) solution. A cell-based architecture allows adaptive scalability, so that as the colocation space is filled with racks of varied power consumption, an appropriate amount of CECC’s can be fitted, without the risk of overprovisioning.

As data centers are evaluated against their PUE value, having energy efficient solutions matter. The PUE describes the ratio between energy used by ICT equipment in comparison to other equipment e.g. cooling.

These CECC units are independent and typically N+1 protected, meaning that if one unit is out of operation, this does not affect availability. Each rack is connected to two completely independent CECC-units to guarantee redundancy.

From The Air CDC the excess heat is directed to a local district heating system.

All the technical systems are separated from the IT areas. The white space has no raised floor. Instead, the upper level of the space is a hot area with all the technical equipment.


Sustainability is important in all aspects of The Air design and operation and it utilizes 100 % renewable energy.

Power supply must be guaranteed at all times. Thus, the Air has a UPS system and Generator guaranteeing the uninterrupted power distribution. The UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) system takes actions if it detects a problem with main supply and instantly switches over to battery backup.

Additionally, each rack is connected to A and B power feeds adding extra level of redundancy.


Security is based on several layers. Security methods can include access card, PIN code, a biometric sensor, mantraps for persons and goods, separate walls, security fencing, gates and road blocks as well as CCTV monitoring.

Access is controlled and granted only to authorized persons.

A Modern Data Center

Today’s data center must satisfy an increasingly complex and ever-changing set of requirements to comply with the broad range of demands set on it. These demands are set not only by the applications but also by the organizations delivering and the end-users using the services. This means, they can be technical in nature, but also for instance environmental or legal. These include e.g. using water-free active fire prevention, utilizing 100% renewable energy and heat reuse. In addition to technical requirements, there are edge requirements, such as location close to users, latency, security and customer service.

The last set of requirements is service portfolio and ecosystem requirements: a wide service range with necessary partners to serve all types and shades of clouds.

Take a virtual tour in The Air

Take a look at youself inside The Air