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Iceland's data center opportunities and challenges


A data center location between Europe and North America

Source:  Beth Pariseau

Iceland is centrally located between Europe and North America -- the place where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet is visible in multiple locations throughout the country, including a region south of Reykjavík called Rekjanes. Thus, as a data center location, Iceland sits between two major business centers in the European Union and the United States.

Being situated in the middle of the North Atlantic and the renewable energy available there made Iceland the choice for one major data center operator, Verne Global, which is headquartered in London but also has an office in Falls Church, Va.

"It's easier to export the bits and bytes than to export the energy," a Verne global spokesperson said.

The data center industry in Iceland is still very young, but growing. The International sector, which includes tech-dependent industries, now accounts for 29% of Iceland's exports.

Evidence of that growth can be gleaned from power consumption: power usage for international customers so far this year has been estimated at 20 megawatts, compared with 10 megawatts as of April 2014.

Photo: The island nation of Iceland aims to become a port of call for IT workloads moving between the U.S. and Europe.

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How close do you need colocated data center servers to reside to your offices?
A smart move locating a major data center in a land with virtually unlimited, pollution-free energy. Not sure it will ever work for markets that rely on near-instant transmission, but for almost anything else a few extra milliseconds won't matter and this makes sense.