Datapipe Plugs Into Verne’s Icelandic Data Centre


Datapipe signs up, as the modules start to ship to build Verne Global’s green data centre

Verne Global has announced a customer for, and released more details of, the data centre it announced last month in Iceland, powered by renewable energy.

Managed services firm Datapipe will deliver what it calls “green cloud” services from equipment installed in the data centre that Verne is building in the former NATO airbase in Kevlavik, Iceland. While Verne finishes the preparation of the building, Colt is shipping a modular data centre, which will be up and running before the end of the year.

First of many?

Verne gets its warehouse ready

“The modules are now in the shipping process,” said Verne’s CEO Jeff Monroe, speaking to eWEEK Europe at the NetEvents press summit in Frascati, Italy. The data centre, apparently the first external order Colt has had for its modular product, will provide 500 square metres of data centre space, when they arrive and are assembled.

Datapipe provides cloud computing, infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, and chose the Verne data centre because it has a dual source of renewable energy, at a low price.

Power in Iceland is normally less than 50 percent of the price of power in, say, Britain, Monroe said, and Verne has got a guarantee on that price for the next twenty years. “The price guarantee is not a hedging strategy,” said Monroe, explaining that Iceland has built its power network to drive heavy industry including aluminium smelting.

Verne intends to grow the data centre, with more modules from Colt as required, and has space in its buldings for bespoke data centres if customers arrive who want capacity in the MegaWatt range. Verne has other customers in the pipeline to announce shortly, Monroe claimed.

Monroe addressed other possible objections to the Icelandic data centre – local engineering talent and availability of bandwidth.

Iceland has a lot of fibre, currently enough for 8 Terabits per second (8Tbps) but with a plan to expand this to 60Tbps. Not much of this is currently “lit”, as Iceland’s data centre market is only just beginning and the country only has a few hundred thousand occupants. Fibre owners often charge a premium on the first users of a newly lit fibre link, but this is not happening in this case Monroe said.

The data centre will employ around 100 people, most of whom will come from Iceland (and it gets favourable terms from the Icelandic government on this basis). Datapipe and other customers expect to be able to manage their servers remotely, said Monroe, so visiting or locating staff at the data centre won’t be needed.

One thing that Monroe would not comment on was the previous use of the Keflavik sheds where Verne is putting its data centre. They are not aircraft hangars, but were used for storage – one might assume they held NATO weapons at one time.

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