Volcanic Ash May Impact Iceland's Data Center Plans ?  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

ChannelWeb has some speculation about icelandic volcano eruptions making people think twice about hosting data centres there to take advantage of abundant clean energy sources - Volcanic Ash May Impact Iceland's Data Center Plans.

Iceland says its cool climate and abundant supply of geothermal and hydroelectric energy makes it a prime spot for IT data centers. But in the wake of a major volcanic eruption earlier this week, companies may be thinking twice about hosting core IT assets in a place where Mother Nature is known for being a bit unstable.

Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted for the first time in nearly 200 years on Monday, sending ash nearly 40,000 feet into the air and shutting down heavily traveled air routes in northern Europe and Scandinavia. The eruption triggered flooding and sporadic ash fall of up to three millimeters thick around the eruption site, according to a Thursday report from the Icelandic Government Information Center.

It's unclear if the ash fall is affecting Iceland's IT infrastructure, as Channelweb.com's attempts Thursday to contact Icelandic solution providers were unsuccessful. But according to one local news report, the ash fall is the largest Iceland has seen since an eruption in 1918, and scientists aren't ruling out the possibility that the volcano could keep erupting.

Data centers are constructed to withstand environmental extremes and natural disasters, but volcanic ash is known for its ability to wreak havoc on desktops, servers, and basically any type of IT infrastructure that has moving parts.

Volcanic ash also contains silica sand, an abrasive, conductive material that's capable of destroying circuit boards. With the weight and consistency of talcum powder, ash can easily slip through air conditioning systems, even with filters installed.

The volcanic eruption comes at a time when Iceland's data center building push is beginning to gain momentum. In January, Verne Global, a data center developer based in Keflavik, Iceland, and Washington, D.C ., inked a deal with Wellcome Trust, a global biomedical research firm, to build a 44 acre data center facility on the site of a former NATO Command Centre in Keflavik, Iceland.

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