Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Strange cloud heads for Iceland


Google appears to be always thinking about new tools or approaches to make or save money. Lots of these ideas sneak out onto the internet and lots of discussions, articles and opinions get generated. Occasionally, a real product is eventually seen. Way back in 2008 rumours about a Google data centre navy abounded. That particular Times Online article mentions some statistics and reports about data centres and carbon footprint which I have yet to verify. However, other articles and press releases have suggested the data is not without foundation. Here's a quote:

Data centres consumed 1 per cent of the world’s electricity in 2005. By 2020 the carbon footprint of the computers that run the internet will be larger than that of air travel, a recent study by McKinsey, a consultancy firm, and the Uptime Institute, a think tank, predicted.

It was with great interest that I read about a zero carbon foot print data centre being proposed in Iceland. The data centre will not be up and running until next year, but is being built on an old NATO base. Expecting to take advantage of free ambient cooling and 100% renewable electricity verneglobal are predicting substantial reductions in carbon released from day to day operations.

While a great idea, I feel the greatest speed bump in the migration to Iceland is regulation and legislation, or rather the perception of compliance with data privacy laws and in particular the Patriot Act.

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