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 corridor

    Some of the first companies to take space in the facility include GreenQloud, which runs a public cloud service that prides itself on its environmental credentials.

    The producer of popular online role-playing game Eve Online has also taken an undisclosed amount of space to use for testing and development, though the main game lives on a supercomputer named 'Tranquility' in a Docklands datacentre in London for latency reasons.

    Image credit: Jack Clark

  • Underfloor cabling

    Above, Colt's Guy Ruddock shows off the datacentre's underfloor cabling.

    Unlike some datacentre companies, Colt can handle both underfloor and overhead cabling, according to customer preference: Verne Global opted for underfloor cabling. This helps air circulate in and out of the enclosed server aisles, the company said.

    Image credit: Jack Clark

  • Colt datacentre modules

    Iceland has a relatively mild climate, with temperatures rarely deviating beyond a low of -8°C and a high of 16°C, according to data from Wolfram Alpha.

    "Having been an engineer in Alaska, I don't like designing [facilities] when it's -20, -30, -40°," Cantrell said. "I like the temperate climate in Iceland." 

    This makes the country ideal for free-cooled datacentres and so, in an unusual move for Colt, it delivered its module to Verne Global without any direct-expansion chillers. "We also upgraded the [air] filtration system and installed mild winterisation heating in front of the UPS as a precaution," Ruddock said. 

    The ability to use external air all year round and Colt's relatively efficient modular design means the facility should attain a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of around 1.2, Cantrell said.

    Colt's modules (pictured) can be installed in a basic warehouse shell. In the case of volcanic eruptions or sudden spikes in temperature, the modules can seal themselves off to prevent airborne particles damaging the server and to keep temperature stable.

    Image credit: Jack Clark

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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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