Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Power The Internet Hardware

Iceland's Data Center Push Finally Gets Traction 117

miller60 writes "Iceland is poised for the completion of its first major international data center project, after years of marketing itself as a potential data center mecca. Iceland offers an ample supply of geothermal energy and an ideal environment for fresh air cooling, but its ambitions were slowed by the global financial collapse. But now the huge UK charity Wellcome Trust has provided funding to complete a new data center in a former NATO facility in Keflavik."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Iceland's Data Center Push Finally Gets Traction

Comments Filter:
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:17PM (#30814088)

    What is the bandwith to iceland anyways?

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Much lower than the bandwidth from Canada, eh?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would rather build my data centre in Lazytown.

    • by Dragoniz3r ( 992309 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:30PM (#30814242)
      If wiki is to be believed, 3 x 2.5gbit/sec (List of Transatlantic cables [] and The one that makes a stop in Iceland [])
    • Also, what's the legal system like down there?
      • it's in the process of being changed. Iceland has really been fucked over by the crisis. People are mad. Country small, politicians agile and everybody desperate... expect some REAL CHANGE you insensitive americans.

    • Zero, they got cut off because they can't pay their bill.

    • What is the bandwith to iceland anyways?

      from where you insensitive clod?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...of a floating ice floe. The latency might be large, but it will definitely outperform a Volkswagen.

    • by S-100 ( 1295224 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:48PM (#30814858)
      More important is the latency. You're now talking about a significant trip partway around the globe for many users. Even the speed of light takes some time to travel 10,000 miles.
      • Eastern Canada then? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by atomic777 ( 860023 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:36PM (#30815206)
        It seems like the regions of the world where electricity-hungry aluminum production has centered would do well with data centers. Quebec is also endowed with plentiful hydroelectric electricity, ample cooling capacity, local expertise, and most importantly, proximity to large markets. I almost wonder why i don't hear more about data center hosting in Quebec, given the natural advantages
        • by Tycho ( 11893 )

          By the way, does anyone know if there was a plan to build an aluminum smelter in Iceland, if it ever ended up being built, and if the smelter is currently in production if it was built? Oddly enough, even a single reasonably sized aluminum smelter using the geothermal power available in Iceland would be much more profitable, directly employ far more people, and would produce far more economic activity locally in Iceland than a rinky-dink data center on an old NATO base.

        • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @10:34PM (#30815498) Homepage

          I almost wonder why i don't hear more about data center hosting in Quebec,

          Because nobody wants to translate all the packets to French and back again.

        • by Ltap ( 1572175 )
          The aforementioned hydroelectric energy and cold environment is usually not very near major cities.

          I'm not arguing with you - in fact, I agree, datacenters in remote areas that are suitable to them tend to be cheaper to run (cheaper land tax) and more secure, since someone visiting it who wasn't supposed to be there would be noticed fairly quickly.

          It seems there's some kind of strange law that datacenters have to be located in or near major cities. I have no idea why, since major cities are usually in
      • by fermion ( 181285 )
        10000 miles / 186000 miles/sec *1000=54 ms

        ping to iceland is a little over 150 ms. ping to slashdot is over 100 ms less than that. Travel time accounts for less than 1/2 of the difference.

        • your math is wrong.

          signal travels much slower than you think it does.

          I'm feeling lazy atm so here: []

        • Of course, that depends a lot on where you start from. From the UK, ping to is 120ms, ping to is 70ms. From anywhere in the EU, ping times from Iceland will be lower than ping times to the USA.
          • And, for another data point, ping from my server in Texas is 66ms to Slashdot, 188ms to Ping from here to there is 175ms. So, somewhat strangely, it's further from your US customers than a data center in the UK would be, but it's about as close to people in the EU as Slashdot is to people in the US.
          • by Ltap ( 1572175 )
            It'd be interesting if we saw Iceland make its laws more lax and turning it into the Singapore of Europe - i.e. the place where everyone would have their proxy server or seedbox hosted to cover their tracks and avoid ugly baseball-inspired laws...
      • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Monday January 18, 2010 @11:56PM (#30815944) Journal

        Actually no. Since it sits between Europe and North America, its a good place for a site or service that has users from both continents. You most likely already use sites that reside in Europe and we use sites that reside in US (like slashdot) anyway - its the middle ground.

        Just don't use it for gaming servers.

        • It also sits on a massive fault line. "Sir, where would you like to have your data center?" "Well, why don't you put in on top of a F:n VOLCANO!"
          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Right! That would be just stupid. Let's find somewhere geologically stable, like the SF bay area for example, and headquarter as many tech companies there as possible, so they'll be safe.

          • As opposed to having DCs on top of San Andreas fault?
        • by idji ( 984038 )
          like Eve Online!
    • by icebike ( 68054 )


      Why worry about that when your island is basically a volcano?

      All that geothermal should be a clue, and if not the Atlantic rift running right up the middle of the island should give you some kind of clue. []

      What could Possibly go wrong? []

    •     From what I understand, it's really pretty good. A lot of the transatlantic bandwidth goes up and over, rather than straight across underwater. It helps to have repeaters occasionally, and it's nice if you can service them with a quick drive, rather than a submarine dive. :) It's suppose to make for a very nice place to have service, with fast pipes pointing towards the Northeast US and Western Europe.

          In an ideal world, if you had to locate for customers in both the US and Europe, it would be a great place. I know routing doesn't always cooperate as well as you'd like though.

          Way back when, I had servers in New York, and in Germany (among other places). Many European customers complained about the speeds to the German datacenter. Some of those were even in the same city in Germany as our equipment. The ones that sent me traceroutes showed that they were being routed from Germany to New York, and then back to Germany. Needless to say, the latency on that was a nightmare. In the end, we moved all of our European traffic to New York, and we started getting thank you notes from all over Europe. We didn't announce what we did, but they could tell the difference in speed. Most of the customers assumed that we simply changed the operation in Europe. They were completely unaware that they were being served out of New York. Well, except the few who knew enough to run a traceroute. :)

          So, the Iceland datacenters may be a wonderful thing, or they may be a project that dies in it's infancy.

          I know a lot of folks like having their servers within reach. That is, somewhere they can drive to from their home or office in a reasonable amount of time. I've seen with customers all over. Just because they live in god forsaken (and bandwidth limited) nowhere, they'll still host locally.

  • Risky business (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Meshach ( 578918 )
    A call center that I worked at before I became a developer (Convergys) just closed in my old hometown. My warning to Iceland is to be cautious: there is no loyalty in the call center industry. Sure this is good now and will help the economy but a lot of good it will do in the long run if they close down in four years.
    • This is nothing to do with call centers, Its about big factories with servers in racks. No people are involves (well, maybe three or four for operations).

      • by Meshach ( 578918 )
        Your right. I should have RTFA a little more thoroughly I guess.
  • by Rand310 ( 264407 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:21PM (#30814134)
    Wikileaks has a proposal to get a bunch of different free-speech, safe-harbor, journalist-protection style legislation through Iceland so as to both spur this kind of development, as well as provide a political safe-haven for data. Apparently it has caught on pretty well locally, and with a small population it's not particularly difficult to get such legislation passed on short notice. []
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:28PM (#30814698)

      The youtube video [] should be linked in the summary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by laddiebuck ( 868690 )
      Apparently it has caught on pretty well locally, and with a small population it's not particularly difficult to get such legislation passed on short notice.

      Nor hard to reverse it when things go south.
    • I wonder if they will be able to keep that law if they decide to join the EU.
  • Good timing with the debt issue climaxing.
  • by kilf ( 135983 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:27PM (#30814208) Homepage

    It wasn't that long ago that Iceland's only internet access line went via a Scottish high-street that was getting dug up repeatedly, with the inevitable consequences: []

  • Not news here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by akarnid ( 591191 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:52PM (#30814414)
    This has been on the cards for about two years now. Construction at the site stopped last month because politicians wouldn't dare go on with the project because of public opposition. One of the top stakeholders in Verne Global is one Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson, former owner of failed bank Landsbanki, whose high-interest Icesave savings accounts failed spectacularly and have kicked off the biggest firestorm in the republics' short history. Also, the bandwidth is not a problem. [] (goes to US/CANADA) [] (goes to EU) [] (goes to EU) These are the fiber cables we have. As you can read, we have lots of unlit fiber there.
  • I prefer my data-center to be further away from active volcanoes.
    • Like somewhere in Washington state? :)
    • I prefer my data-center to be further away from active volcanoes.

      I, for one, prefer my datacenters be as far as possible away from a scared-to-death, self-centered, 1984-style, patriotic, homeland-secured government that just got a big one in the nuts on september 11th.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I prefer my data-center to be further away from active volcanoes.

      Well that explains it.

      latency. It must have been latency that caused the volcano death machine to move so slowly and permit Mr Bond to escape. I shall have to build my next evil lair in iceland.

  • Especially since Iceland is essentially bankrupt. Projects like this will help get its economy on the way to recovery, and hopefully accomplish great things for the infrastructure of the internet as well. Particularly if the safe-harbor legislation gets... through...

    Woah. I just realized:

    Does this mean we can refer to Iceland as Kinakuta now?

  • the wikileaks guys really want this, too.

    the following video is a recording of a very interesting talk by Julian Assange and Daniel Schmitt (wikileaks) at the chaos communication congress (here be dragons) in berlin between the years. [] []

  • by janwedekind ( 778872 ) on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:49PM (#30814866) Homepage

    According to the Wikileaks 1.0 presentation [] Iceland could pass a bill which will provide a last resort for information which is suppressed in other European countries (currently on the Wikileaks [] website with a call for donations).

    • Could pass, isn't good enough. If they do pass such a bill, Iceland might offer a useful data center for boardline data (which types?), but I doubt that alone would make it worthwhile offer a transnational data center. For most companies, all they need, is good response to service the equipment they Co-locate they, and easy-access. Iceland is so remote that access would almost be only by the internet, and not physical. I think Iceland will have to grow they're own local internet companies to get they data c
  • ...they would put the data center in GREENland.

    Harharharharhar. Sigh.

  • The Wellcome Trust are a huge biomedical research charity. I would imagine that they are looking for processing power(think folding@home type projects) rather than the ability to serve up millions of webpages. If so bandwidth will be less of a concern than cheap reliable power and cooling. Iceland is looking to join the European Union so their Data Protection legislation is probably similar to rest of the EU's.

  • now we have a real excuse to spend 6-months indoors. By 2020 all good hackers will live in Iceland :)
  • Dear Iceland, "your government" has allowed institutions in your nation (and elsewhere) to claim that "debt is output" and that speculation constitutes GDP. That's a willful, knowing lie.
    Nobody should trust the stability of Iceland at all let alone the ability to keep data safe and keep it available through emergencies, "your government" is already milking you for this.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Yeah, I think it's frozen"

  • I suspect that Iceland will provide a first rate service. Their climate makes indoor activities and studies much more of a good idea than Miami Beach. It is somewhat like Harvard being in Boston. So much of the year is too cold to do much anything other than study.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    We finally have someplace to host all those Björk MP3s.

  • by hedgemage ( 934558 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:01AM (#30816226)
    It keeps the hot side hot and the cold side cold.
    sigh... I'm old.
  • I hope that... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by jonfr ( 888673 )

    I hope that this datacenters can take earthquakes, as they are building them on top of active seismic zone on the Reykjanes. But then there is also the volcano problem and the ash that can happen when a volcano eruption is taking place.

  • EVE online, CCP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by egnop ( 531002 )

    Now I am wondering if CCP is getting their servers back to Iceland instead of the UK

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes