Deep Dive: Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, CEO, atNorth

Deep Dive: Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, CEO, atNorth

We ‘Deep Dive’ with Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, CEO, atNorth, who tells us more about life inside and outside the office.  

Eyjólfur Magnús Kristinsson, CEO, atNorth

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?

The creation of our SWE01 data centre is my most memorable achievement in the data centre industry. Its truly innovative design allows for highly efficient infrastructure in addition to the most cutting-edge cooling and heat re-use technologies. The site can support high-density workloads at speed and scale still with the lowest carbon footprint possible – it is a true blueprint for future data centres.  

What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?

I trained as an engineer, having gained a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Industrial engineering, so I had many options available to me. The data centre industry allowed me to work with complex models and systems, critically analyse multifaceted problems and find the most advantageous solutions. 

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

Our people are at the forefront of our business success, so I practice a very transparent leadership style so that everyone is aware of our vision and pathway to success. I foster a supportive and collaborative working culture where employees are inspired by each other and the journey we are on together.

What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?

AI is undoubtedly the hottest topic in many industries right now and in the data centre industry this is especially true. What was high density infrastructure in 2011 is not even medium density today and the sheer quantity of data centre capacity required to meet the needs of the AI boom is colossal.

This trend has obliged another talking point in the industry – sustainability. This huge demand for power hungry data centres is not sustainable long term if the environmental and financial impact is not addressed. Sustainability is not a tick-box exercise for atNorth, it is at the very core of our ethos and inspires the location and innovative design of our sites.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

Outside the office, I find solace and rejuvenation through a combination of my diverse hobbies. Fly fishing is not just a passion; it’s a way for me to connect with nature and experience tranquillity. In addition, my love for running has led me to participate in the Copenhagen half-marathon for the past three years, and I am eagerly preparing for this year’s event.  As I am a frequent traveller, I find running one of the best ways to allow training in my daily routine.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

An obvious major area of investment is the building of more sustainable data centres to meet the increased demand for our services. We have three sites currently under construction and are actively sourcing additional land.

Another huge area of investment for us is in our Gompute HPCaaS Platform offering. As the demand for larger and ever more complex data sets increases, many businesses are looking for access to powerful computing resources on a flexible or subscription basis. atNorth’s acquisition of Gompute last year allowed their advanced HPC technology to be integrated with our leading HPCaaS solution and colocation platform to provide a compelling full stack offering.

What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?

Our journey in establishing and operating data centres in the Nordics has been both exciting and challenging. The region’s increasing demand for data centres has significantly influenced various aspects of our operations.

One of the key challenges we’ve navigated is the surging demand for data centre services in the Nordics. The region’s strategic location, reliable power infrastructure and commitment to sustainability have made it a hotspot for data centre investments. However, this surge in demand has created a competitive landscape, impacting the availability of skilled staff, construction capacity and suitable powered land.

Attracting and retaining qualified professionals in the data centre industry has become a focal point. The demand for specialised skills in areas such as data centre design, maintenance and operations has led to a competitive talent market. To address this, we’ve implemented comprehensive recruitment and training programmes to ensure that our team remains at the forefront of industry expertise.

Simultaneously, the demand has placed pressure on construction capacities in the region. Collaborating with local construction partners and adopting innovative construction methodologies has allowed us to meet tight timelines and ensure the timely completion of our projects.

Moreover, securing powered land for data centre development has become a crucial aspect of our strategy. The need for reliable and sustainable power sources has led to strategic partnerships and engagements with local providers to ensure a stable and green power supply for our facilities.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the coming months?

The use of AI is growing at such a rate that to accommodate the associated workloads we have had to scale quickly and effectively and will continue to do so. Data centre providers will have to adapt to new technology and equipment as it comes to the market to continue to remain competitive.

As atNorth’s strategy focuses on meeting the growing market with great customer service, my role is to grow and develop our ecosystem of partners that support our values. I believe that forming alliances with other industry experts will allow us to bring the best possible solutions to our customers.

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