Iceland Data Center Troubles
It seems like a great place to have a data center… the geologic upside is that it offers geothermal or hydroelectric energy; meteorogically, it’s cold enough to make data center cooling easier. There’s that whole business with the economy, but hey, building your data center there should stimulate it. Just look how beautiful it is.
So how about this volcano business?
Immediately, there were questions. Geologically, volcanoes go along with earthquakes, worsening an already alarming natural threat. The worst bit of it for now, though, is the volcanic ash. Famous for killing the dinosaurs, miniscule particulates have gone on to cause plenty of problems. Silica sand, a substance not only abrasive but also conductive, and a component of volcanic ash, can be the bane of much equipment. Deviously, it is so fine in texture that it can come right in through the air conditioning.
So what does this mean for a country that’s been desperate to get data center projects started to stimulate its horribly failed economy? Bad news. However, the inevitable negative effect is not necessarily deserved, which makes it all the sadder for Iceland. According to this article from CityBiz Real Estate in New York, the ash does not need to be a problem. Apparently Icelandic data centers are built far enough away from the scene of the eruptions that it wouldn’t be a problem. The ash doesn’t affect water-cooling systems, and Iceland remains a ripe source of sustainable energy and affordable data center development-worthy space.
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