Frankfurt-based Northern Data builds and offers infrastructure solutions for High-Performance Computing (HPC) applications. In a recent development, Northern Data announced the acquisition of Decentric Europe from Block.one in a €365M deal. Northern Data will also acquire all of Decentric’s GPU hardware.
The acquisition involves a €195M cash deal – to be paid within 12 months – as well as an approx €170M in new shares (2.3 million shares). Block.one will now hold an interest of approx 18.2 per cent in Northern Data.
Block.one is the creator of EOSIO, an open-sourced blockchain software that provides digital creators with the tools to build the high performance blockchain infrastructure.
Speaking on the development, Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one says, “Offering HPC infrastructure solutions that use 100 per cent renewable sources of energy is fundamental to sustainably meeting the growing demand for AI and blockchain computational processing. I’m excited to see Northern Data continuing to expand its global capabilities to better serve its growing customer base.”
About Northern Data
Founded in 2009 by Aroosh Thillainathan, Northern Data provides the infrastructure for various HPC applications in areas such as bitcoin mining, artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data analytics, IoT or rendering.
The company offers its HPC solutions in large, stationary data centers, and also in mobile high-tech data centers that can be set up at any location, globally. In doing so, it combines self-developed software and hardware with concepts for sustainable energy supply.
Talking about the acquisition, Aroosh Thillainathan, who is also the CEO, states, “The acquisition of Block.one’s entire portfolio of GPU server systems represents a quantum leap in Northern Data’s corporate story. We thus now have at our disposal all critical components required to cover the enormous customer demand for data-processing capacity in the HPC area.”
“I am particularly proud that the entire cluster is powered exclusively by green energy. We will shortly be taking further steps to complement our offering along the value-added chain in order to be able to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers by providing everything from hardware to an HPC application platform,” he added.
Aim of this acquisition
As mentioned earlier, Northern Data will also acquire Decentric Europe’s GPU hardware that includes nearly 223,000 GPU cards produced by AMD and Nvidia. These are installed in more than 24,000 server systems of GIGABYTE Technology, a vendor of high-performance servers. The company will complete the full installation of all GPU server systems at its sites by the third quarter of 2021.
According to Northern Data, a large-scale project to build one of the world’s largest GPU-based distributed computing clusters for HPC applications will involve locations in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.
With this, the computing power for Northern Data as a whole will increase to approx 2.6 exaflops FP32 (390 petaflops FP64) and approx 13.86 terahashes. To put this in perspective, the world’s fastest supercomputer, Japan’s “Fugaku”, delivers 1.07 FP32 exaflops.
This computing power will be deployed for strategic HPC applications of Northern Data customers. At the same time, the company is also looking to accelerate its expansion of HPC business for applications that expand beyond blockchain use cases.
Northern Data’s sells its Texas data center
In May 2021, Northern Data completed the sale of its US subsidiary Whinstone US, Inc., which operates a high-performance data center facility based in Rockdale, Texas, to Riot Blockchain, Inc. The transaction consisted of approx €67M in cash and 11.8 million shares of common stock of Riot Blockchain, Inc. As a result of the transaction, Northern Data holds approx 12 per cent of the total outstanding common stock of Riot Blockchain, Inc.
Currently, Whinstone US is building the largest HPC data center in the US and, at the same time, the world’s largest dedicated HPC facility.