Verne Global is slated to become a game changer in the Icelandic data center industry. By partnering up with Level 3 Communications, Verne Global’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Tate Cantrell says that the web host leader can now offer clients Tier 1 carrier servicer accesses. “We also have a 450 acre campus on a former NATO base that enables submarine cables to terminate directly in our data center. But this alliance represents a new stage of connectivity being added to our campus.” Tier 1 data centers are few and far between, although there are an impressive lot of them in North America. Europe and North America have long maintained a neck and neck competition, although “competition” is a term used loosely. It’s usually best to rely on a data center provider that’s geographically local, which means most North American businesses stick with North American data center providers.
According to the product strategy manager for Level 3, Sundeep Samra, the latest data center connectivity will boast wholly managed network services, CND capabilities and more in order to offer exhaustive services to Verne’s clients. Already in 2015, Verne raised about $98 million in order to grow the data center in Iceland, and it’s still seeking more funding. According to the enterprise, hosting applications within data centers is critical. This is how affordable hydro-electric power can be brought on board more often. There are a number of dams which were built to bolster aluminum smelting, and the geography of the region promises cool climate (as well as free cooling) around the clock in Iceland. No matter what the season, complimentary cooling is readily available, which Cantrell says enables energy resources for Verne at very low costs. He’s worked out contracts to lock in these rates and promises, some of which are solid for the next 20 years.
The Location Issues
In many ways, including legally, Iceland is a prime area for a data center. However, there’s still a small threat of volcano eruptions, which is why the NATO center was designed on the westward-facing part of the island. Ash blows eastward, in the direction of Europe, and away from the data center. However, it’s key to remember that Iceland is within Europe, so any and all European requirements must be met. This goes for privacy and security alike. Cantrell notes that many clients depend on Verne because of the affordability, particularly compared to other parts of Europe. That’s one caveat where Iceland has no European competition thanks to the cost effective power sources.
Another allure is the data sovereignty requirements, which is helping the company dig into bigger European markets. Considering the US Patriot Act, which has been encouraging European companies to look geographically close to North America but still outside of the US jurisdiction, Iceland is a great compromise. You get the best of both worlds, nearly being able to handpick the best parts of North American and European data center markets.
A Chill Solution
There are many great options near the Arctic Circle for data centers and vendors. However, few can compare to Iceland when it comes to the quality of local government, low tax rates and affordability of commercial space. Verne is excelling at optimizing all the good parts of Iceland and passing those perks to customers. Now that Tier 1 is a possibility, Verne is slated to become top dog in the Arctic Circle for good.
Meanwhile, in the US, clients are also getting savvier when it comes to choosing data center providers. They’re looking more locally and less in Silicon Valley. They’re demanding affordability, premium hardware and security, and a level of customer service that demands around the clock support. There are over 1,000 data centers in North America and counting. It’s still a mysterious industry for many laypersons, but that’s changing. As data center needs and demands grow, companies will have to come up with unique ways of delivering.
No matter where your data center is located, make sure to check disaster recovery plans, customer service levels and scalability. Not everyone needs a Tier 1 data center, but for enterprises, companies with major security needs and businesses that plan massive growth, it’s a good idea to start shopping around.