Iceland’s carbon-neutral data center opens for business

Verne Global, which has been building a 100% carbon-neutral data center that uses renewable energy, opens its doors with three customers on site

For the record, the new data center built on a bedrock of granite in the cold country of Iceland -- the one I wrote about here -- is officially opened. Verne Global’s 18-hectacre (about 44.5 acres) campus in Keflavik, Iceland, is 100% carbon neutral and draws its commercial power from Iceland’s dual-sourced renewable energy grid of geothermal and hydroelectric power. The campus also utlilizes Iceland’s ambient temperatures to provide free cooling. Verne Global uses a Colt Modular Data Center inside its data center shell to house infrastructure. Colt created the data center’s hall design, equipping it with cooling modules that can cool servers using air from outside the data center. In addition to providing the modular unit, Colt said it will extend its European network into Iceland with a new Point-of-Presence (PoP) located in Verne Global’s data center campus. The new PoP will connect Colt’s pan-European access and backbone network with the Verne’s data center site, providing a gateway connection from mainland Europe into Iceland. The connection to Iceland, due to be completed by mid 2012. Verne Global also announced that its hosting leading game developer CCP Games, carbon-neutral service provider GreenQloud, and IT service provider Opin Kerfi on site, as its first customers. CCP Games (CCP) is the creator of EVE Online, an online game with 400,000 users, and is moving some of its corporate hosting to its data centre campus in Iceland. Hosting and storage provider GreenQloud wants sell easy-to-use, competitively-priced, carbon-neutral, cloud-computing services and will share with its customers data on carbon savings achieved from the Iceland data center so they can report these results as part of their own sustainability programs. Back when I talked with Verne Global executives in October 2011, they told me that their customers determine how they want energy savings and carbon footprints to be monitored, but Verne Global monitors efficiencies at the rack level. But they noted that since all the power at the data center comes from 100% renewable energy resources, they are carbon neutral and the energy production itself is not producing any emissions. In addition, the cooling required for the data center is “free,” thanks to Iceland’s natural ambient weather patterns and affordable energy pricing. “The traditional metrics of energy usage and efficiency don’t necessarily apply in the same way,” Lisa Rhodes, VP of marketing and sales for Verne Global, said during that interview. Opin Kerfi is an IT company in Iceland and currently has over 115 trained IT professionals on staff and revenues of $40 million. Opin Kerfi is taking space in the data center for its hosting requirements as it has been selected as Verne Global’s preferred systems integrator.

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