Inside an Icelandic datacentre

Inside an Icelandic datacentre

Summary: ZDNet UK visited Iceland to see how a 100-percent renewable energy-powered free-cooled datacentre fared using Colt's modular design in Iceland's remote, chilly climate


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  • Datacentre exterior

    Iceland, with its abundant geothermal resources, is aiming to become a destination for low-cost datacentres, and colocation specialist Verne Global is one of the first to set up a facility in the country.

    ZDNet UK visited Iceland in February to see how Colt's modular datacentre design fared after being shipped to a remote country and installed in an ex-NATO military base for Verne Global.

    Initially, Verne Global's facility is using one Colt module. This consumes around 1.5MW of power, ZDNet UK understands. The site has a substation that can supply up to 60MW of power, and the company has secured guaranteed low-cost electricity from Icelandic utility Landsvirkjun for the next 20 years.

    State-owned Landsvirkjun is able to provide Verne Global with 100-percent 'green' electricity, as it generates power from renewable hydroelectric and geothermal sources native to Iceland. 

    The power constraints on datacentres in metropolitan European cities could tempt businesses into locating their data in Iceland, Verne Global believes. Moving there would also allow them to use a fully 'green' datacentre and avoid the outcry that Facebook experienced from Greenpeace when it used coal-sourced power for its Prineville, Oregon facility.

    "You have power availability in the European area pressing down on the providers, carbon regulations, rising operational costs and all that, coupled with an explosion of data," said Tate Cantrell, Verne Global's chief technology officer. "If someone thinks that Iceland's not a secure place to store data, I challenge anyone on that one."

    Image credit: Jack Clark

  • Datacentre interior

    Colt's modules are built to a standardised internal design that uses columns to wire the facility with environmental and security sensors, fire suppression, and other services. If need be, they can also host power sockets and additional security cameras, depending on the customer's needs.

    They also serve a structural purpose, according to Guy Ruddock, Colt's datacentre and real estate implementation director. "They play a key role in allowing us to double-stack the datacentres, by keeping the overall height down," he said. 

    Image credit: Jack Clark

Topics: Datacentre Tour, Networking

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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