GreenQloud: moving Universities and Reseach data from the Netherlands to Iceland

Last week SURFnet, the largest National Research and Education Network (NREN) in the Netherlands, announced it will transfer part of its services to GreenQloud, a green cloud computing company from Iceland.

According to SURFnet one of the import features of GreenQloud is that they were willing to make specific changes;  “An important feature is to integrate the authentication framework of the universities (often exposed via SAML, in the Netherlands via SURFfederatie) with the IaaS cloud, in order to do automatic account provisioning”.

Legislation was also a topic that was included in the assessment. According to Dutch law, data needs to stay inside the European Economical Area (EEA). This makes it difficult to use cloud providers that have base outside the EEA, like the US, even though they run in Europe. But Iceland is part of European Economic Area so there are no data legislation issues.

For SURFnet another interesting aspect in using remote IaaS-clouds is the network layer. Research networks are very well connected and via other research networks (inter domain networking) connection can be made to GreenQloud in Iceland via Netherlight, NORDUnet and RHnet. This gives researchers the opportunity to start their machines in Iceland while they’re connected in an institution VLAN and are protected by the institution firewall.

The services of GreenQloud are powered by 100% renewable energy resources. With the transfer of services to GreenQloud,  SURFnet thinks to reduce CO2 emission with 50 ton /year.

GreenQloud, only recently  announced the launch of two clean IaaS cloud solutions, Compute Qloud™ and Storage Qloud™, at DEMO Fall 2012. GreenQloud was founded in 2010 and is privately funded. Verne Global serves as the primary data center facility for GreenQloud, with Thor DC (Advania) serving as an additional location.

See also: Iceland green data center initiatives

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