Samsung is building a data centre in Korea’s DMZ to challenge Azure and AWS

Clare Hopping

30 Nov, 2018

Samsung has announced it’s building a data centre just a mile from the South Korean border with North Korea on an old civilian shooting range called Chuncheon.

The demilitarised zone (DMZ) is pretty close to the site, with military personnel patrolling around 50km away, over the border. But Samsung doesn’t seem to think that’s too concerning and even hopes in the years to come, it’ll be able to open a data centre over the border in North Korea.

The company will use the facility to develop its own cloud computing hub, going head to head with more established rivals Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

The reason Samsung has set its sights on such a dangerous place to build its biggest data centre? The cool air from the mountains surrounding the building will cool the servers, saving on power.

The area is generally a few degrees cooler than capital city Seoul and this, the engineers think, will cut the amount of power needed to keep servers running at their optimum by more than 80%.

“The era of cloud is coming, so if we don’t do it, we’re going to be weeded out of business,” said Kim Ho, vice president of Samsung SDS Co., the division that’s been given the responsibility of developing its cloud business.

Although Samsung already owns data centres around the world, they aren’t designed for customer use – they just house the company’s own data.

“This is not a bad strategy for Samsung, indeed perhaps the only one that they can try right now given the maturity of the market,” David Linthicum, chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Consulting told Bloomberg.

“However, they are really in the managed services provider world, with hundreds of companies currently playing in that space. While Samsung should be able to scale better, they need to do some things that are more creative and innovative to stand out.”