When teams are collapsing under their workload, something must be done. The Nokia Networks data center in Tampere tackled the challenge so successfully that the project yielded not only numerical results but also won the company’s annual quality award. The next significant improvement for the data center is coming very soon.
One of the largest of its kind in the Nordic region, the Nokia Networks data center in Tampere serves the company’s research and development units globally. When a network management R&D unit wants to test its software, the Tampere data center provides the test environment.
“We have R&D units worldwide from Beijing to Dallas, but the provision of test environments is systematically centralised here in Tampere. We have the special skills necessary, and are also able to develop the service with a modern approach,” says Jari Taavela, Head of Technology Center.
An active software development team may need a test environment up to several times a day or many environments at the same time. Test environments are needed 24 hours a day, as the company operates in all time zones. The Tampere unit decided to respond to the demand by automating the work stages needed to build the test environment.
“What’s great about this is the fact that we managed to automate all stages and develop the automation ourselves. When we started the project, we soon noticed that there were no products on the market that we could use. So we made them ourselves,” says Jari Uusinoka, Manager, Production Pipe and Laboratory.
From the user’s perspective, it goes like this: A product development engineer needs a test environment to test software changes made. The engineer selects a suitable configuration from a list and presses a button, and the environment is ready in a moment.
After the development carried out in Tampere, the waiting time from pressing the button to getting the test environment was reduced by 90 per cent. In addition, the equipment at the data center is utilised more efficiently and the staff can concentrate on creative work.
“Now a computer will create the test environments from start to finish and people are free to perform the more challenging and creative tasks for which they are needed,” Taavela says.
This year’s Nokia Networks Quality Awards saw a record-breaking number of projects competing in four different categories. The Tampere data center’s automation project was elected the most significant and duplicable in its category, from among 140 candidates. The project has also received additional external recognition, so its creators can be happy with their achievements.
“This is a project in which the impossible has become possible. Hey, we can do this – it’s a good feeling,” Uusinoka says.
The next project in Tampere is already well underway. In late November and early December, the street in front of Nokia Networks’ premises was teeming with machinery when the City of Tampere connected the building to its district cooling network. The air-cooled equipment racks at the data centre will gradually be replaced with water-cooled ones. The goal is to make the efficient data center as ecologically sound as possible.
“Our objective is to quit electric cooling and switch to district cooling altogether,” Taavela says.
“Tampere is one of the few cities capable of offering this service, so this naturally underlines the city’s excellence as a data center location,” says Erik Hiltunen, Head of OSS R&D Tampere.
Nokia has three businesses: Nokia Networks, which specializes on network infrastructure software, equipment and services; HERE, the location intelligence business; and Nokia Technologies, which pursues new business opportunities, built on Nokia innovations and the Nokia brand. All three businesses are also represented in Tampere.
Read the article in Finnish.
This article was written in the most attractive city* of the world’s best country**