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Thor Icelandic Data Centre Sold To Service Provider

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

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Iceland’s Skyrr takes on the Thor containerised data centre and will sell its services worldwide

Icelandic service provider Skyrr has bought the container-based Thor data centre and aims to get more European organisations to use its renewable-powered services.

The Thor data centre, launched in 2010, uses container-based units and more conventional modular systems from AST Modular to deliver IT services that are environmentally friendly because of Iceland’s climate and renewable energy sources. Skyrr, a long-established Icelandic service provider will sell Thor’s services in Scandinavian countries and further afield.

More customers on the way

Thor’s customers include Opera, which hosts its online web browser proxy service there, and the Nordic supercomputer, a high-performance computing service created jointly by Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Iceland has very cheap renewable energy from geothermal and hydroelectric sources, is only 30 milliseconds from Europe by fibre and has a climate where servers can be cooled using the outside air temperature, claims Benedikt Gröndal, chief executive of Thor Datacenter ehf. “We use new cooling technology from AST Modular,”  he said, adding that the free-cooling modules which sit on top of the data centre containers give very efficient cooling, taking the site’s PUE (power usage effectiveness) to a low figure of 1.15.

Thor will do better when owned by a service provider, said Gröndal: “You need to have core knowldge, if you want to grow your business,” he said. “Thor is a good complement to the services Skyrr is offering.”

Skyrr has a very long history, originating from the Icelandic government’s municipal data centre which was set up in 1952, and began with early IBM mainframes. Skyrr still has a lot of government work in Iceland, and subsidiaries in Scandinavian countries.

Thor has also developed since its early days and now features a more traditional “modular” data centre, also from AST, alongside its containerised offering. Modular data centres will support higher power density services, said Gröndal. “Power prices are a fraction of what they are in London, so high density IT concentratinos work well in this environment.”

While Thor is getting its business in gear, another Icelandic data centre is getting under way, with Verne Global going directly for a modular system from data centre and services company Colt.  Verne’s customers include Datapipe – and with Colt also acting as a salesman for space at the site, Verne’s model and Thor’s now look more similar than they did at first.

Meanwhile, the data connectivity side of Iceland’s data centre equation is increasing as two 100Gbps trans-Atlantic fibre links are due to be completed this year, with connections onwards to Scotland and Ireland.