From Google over Apple to the Start-up next door, nearly every company today uses web hosting services or has huge server farms at their disposal so that their services can run smoothly. That much of this energy to run these data centers comes from fossil fuels or even nuclear energy is probably known, but ignored. However, “green” web hosting is growing at a rapid pace to become an important category, so its no surprise that more and more data centers and web hosting providers are looking at opportunities to green their services. Verne Global from Iceland is looking to shake up the game and provide a reliable, cheap and 100% green data centre solution starting from 2010.
Do you know how much energy a data centre uses per year? No? Well, let me tell you that a data centre can use up to 40 times more energy than a conventional office building, thus most data centres start to automatically look for ways to cut down on energy costs. To look for renewable energy sources would be a first, smart step for any data centre to cut down on energy-related emissions and become greener. However, today most data centers which claim to be “green” do not actually use renewable energy to run their servers, they do purchase so-called carbon credits. Its a cheap way to claim to be green while not actually doing anything to improve your environmental performance.
Verne Global will differ in a number of ways. For example they plan to use the abundant hydro and geothermal power of Iceland to power their wholesale data center facility. Iceland also offers plenty of free cooling, which the facility will utilize to cool its server halls. They’re building it on a former Nato base, which is relatively save from earthquakes and other natural disasters. The building is being constructed to meet the Golden and Platinum LEED standard, and the company is a member of The Green Grid so all-in-all a thought out concept.
Verne Global wasn’t too open about their clients, but hinted that they will be found in the Fortune 200. Two minority investors, Novator and General Catalyst have invested in the venture, and they’re not looking for further ones at the moment. For those who need to know what Tier the facility will be, it is Tier 3 so if you have very high security needs you need to look somewhere else.
I like the idea of a truly green data center. Iceland seems like a good location with its abundant hydro and geothermal power sources, and the use of natural cooling. While they might be the first truly green wholesale data center facility, there are already a number of truly green web hosts out there. What’s positive is that Verne Global will be able to offer power pricing stability of up to 20 years, and that they can deliver the environmental benefits of the center to their customers at a lower cost than traditional data centers located in cities like for example New York, Berlin, and London. They were also open and told me that currently they only source 20% from geothermal sources, but look to increase that number over time. The facility will go online in 2010, so if you’re looking for a new home for your servers give Verne Global a ring.