Is Iceland The World’s Best Data Centre?

When most people think of Iceland it like involves glaciers, fisheries and faeries. In the sense of tourism, that’s fairly accurate. But as a data centre? Yes. In fact, Iceland may just be one of the best places in the world for a data centre. And data centres are only growing in importance as we create more and more data every day. So, why a small, remote island in the northern Atlantic Ocean?
The Energy Factor
Most of the world’s aluminium is made in Iceland. Because it takes an enormous amount of electricity to make aluminium. Iceland has the cheapest electricity in the world because it sits on a huge renewable source of energy – geothermal energy. Data centres require a lot of cooling because there’s a lot of processing going on. Electricity is plenty, cheap and environmentally friendly in Iceland.
The Island is Well Connected
There are enough data pipes going into and out of Iceland that latency between North America and Europe; two of the world’s largest creators and users of data, that latency isn’t an issue. There are 4 large submarine fibre network pipes going into Iceland at over 625 Gb/s. The island residents are well connected with FTTH fibre connectivity.
It’s Really Cool
It’s one of the coolest countries I’ve had the pleasure of doing business in. Iceland also has a cool climate (yet a nice climate) and glacier and cold ocean water and the climate stays within a fairly defined range. Data centres need a lot of cooling; which adds significant costs.
Geopolitical Stability
Increasingly, geopolitics play an important role in deciding where data needs to live for Cloud services, backup and processing. Iceland has a strong democracy and is very stable. So another check.
There are already a few data centres cropping up, Verne Global being the largest of them and the Iceland Data Centre. The government too sees the opportunity and is considering lowering corporate tax rates for data centres. Bring all this together and it’s a compelling story. The main challenge may be finding talent to run the data centres, fortunately not a lot of people are needed.
What do you think?

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