Lisa: Right now there are several trends converging in the data center industry making affordable and renewable energy a critical element to any data center operation. The demand for high capacity, flexible and scalable data center campuses has increased in parallel with the growing concern of rising cost and environmental impact of traditional data centers. The data center industry has been and will continue to be highly dependent on power, both to power the servers and cool the environment. In addition, many data centers are facing regulatory changes that are prompting companies to actively investigate renewable energy sources for their computing needs. All of these factors combined will keep the need for renewable energy at the forefront of data center planning.
How do you monitor energy usage and carbon footprints at the facility?
Lisa: This is a really interesting question as we have a different way of thinking about monitoring efficiency on the site. At our Iceland campus, all of our power comes from 100% renewable energy resources – geothermal and hydroelectric – which mean they are carbon neutral and the energy production itself is not producing any emissions. Add to that the fact that we are able to offer "free cooling" due to Iceland’s natural ambient weather patterns and affordable energy pricing for our customers anyways, the traditional metrics of energy usage and efficiency don’t necessarily apply in the same way. That said, it is ultimately up to each client to determine how they want to more traditionally monitor usage within their individual data center space.
Do you share any of the data re: energy usage with clients?
Lisa: Yes, it varies with each client based on their usage, but it is monitored at the rack level.
How is the facility hardened and protected against earthquakes and other disasters?
Lisa: Given the fact that Iceland has an abundance of affordable, renewable energy resources through its natural hydro-electric and geo-thermal power sources and that geothermal power is, by nature, a by-product of seismic and volcanic activity, this is something we took into consideration when building the site from the get-go. The facilities were built with these concerns in mind and part of the data center design and operations include mitigating any environmental impacts to protect the data center campus.
What other features besides the renewable energy sources would you like to highlight?