Iceland started green, emission-free data center, Vikings are back again

Yes the Vikings are back again, green IT Vikings. Yesterday, Nordic IT companies made several agreements to get Iceland first data center up and running.

Yesterday, 21 may at 12 noon Icelandic time, the President of Iceland and Iceland’s Minister of Industry has opened the first Icelandic data center, at Steinhella in Hafnarfjörður, the third largest city in Iceland, located on the south-west coast of Iceland, about 10 km south of Reykjavik. An Icelandic company, Thor DC, is behind the construction of the center and its operations.

Thor data center

Thor DC collaborates with a Spanish technology firm, AST,  that has become a leader in the production of so-called data containers. The data center has been built in 18 months and it is using electricity from geothermal and hydroelectric power plants. Thor data center therefore claims to use 100% green, emission-free energy. The data center has secured 3.2 megawatts of electricity to be provided by HS Energy on the Reykjanes peninsula, which is extendable up to 19.2 megawatts.

And they already have their first customer: Opera Software ASA . The Norwegian browser-creator becomes the first international company to move its data processing to an Icelandic data center. “The reason Opera Software came to sign an agreement with Thor Data Center is that the company can offer us energy from 100 percent renewable sources. In coming years Iceland will be able to provide a more stable supply of energy than most other areas in the world,” Stephenson von Tetzchner, founder of Opera Software, said. Opera Software currently has over 110 million users for its browsers across the world.

To move a significant part of its electronic data traffic to the Thor Data Center via sub-sea cables, Opera Software  also signed an agreement with E-Farice (an Icelandic / Faeroese company) for the provision of bandwidth between Iceland, London, and Copenhagen, using the FARICE and DANICE submarine cables. Opera’s Icelandic operations will generate a vast increase in data transfer through the FARICE and DANICE sub-sea cables. With the expected growth of Opera products, any increased traffic will in the future be transferred through E-Farice and Thor Data Center.  Farice offers service between Iceland, the Faeroe Islands and the UK via the new FARICE-1 submarine cable system. E-Farice offers also services between Iceland and Denmark via the DANICE submarine system. Points of Presence (POPs) are in the following cities:

  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Torshavn, The Faroe Islands
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Copenhagen, Denmark

Bandwidth is provided within the SDH technical frameworks with a minimum bit-rate of 45 Mb/s (DS-3). GigE interfaces are also available.

This hunt for green, emission-free energy for data centers can give a new boost to the future of the North Atlantic economies.  Some interesting background information can be found in the reportIceland The Ultimate Location for Data Centers” made by PricewaterhouseCoopers for The Invest in Iceland Agency, that is run by the Trade Council of Iceland and the Ministry of Industry.

Now its waiting how fast the Shetland data center initiative will create an up and running green data center (see this blog entry)

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