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Why is Iceland the best fit for sustainable IT?

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Today, our highly digitized society processes data on a constant basis from technologies such as AI, blockchain, machine learning, IoT, and the like. This global trend is not forecasted to slow down, but rather continue to increase at a rapid rate, inducing a pressure on identifying apt facilities, i.e. data centers, to uphold these advancements. An inevitable question to this development is: are we mindful of the consequential vast amount of power consumption taking its toll on our environment and economies?

A direct answer to this question is of a complex and heterogenous nature, yet, some key factors can be considered in an attempt to mitigate the negative impact of data processing. I will address the factor of location and aim to convince you why the Nordic nation of Iceland presents immense potential in sustainably accommodating the tech world’s current progressions. On an industry-wide scale, Iceland’s conditions are (some of) the most promising in contributing to the green agenda.

A favorable climate for 100% green power

The Icelandic climate is very consistent, as it holds an annual average temperature of 5°C – neither warmer than 20°C nor colder than -10°C –, generating ideal circumstances for data centers. As numbers are constantly processed in data centers, servers apply enormous amounts of energy and generate a lot of heat that needs continuous cooling, which Iceland’s conditions can facilitate naturally throughout the year.

Likewise, the landscape of Iceland provides access to its two primary sources of renewable electricity; geothermal and hydroelectric power. These two renewable energy sources not only culminate in terms of full sustainability, but also enable high cost efficiency and competitive, stable energy rates due to equivalent endorsement from the Icelandic government. Thus, such a favorable combination that offers data centers to operate with 100% green power, tremendously lower costs overall and a Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) of 1.03, validates the claim of Iceland being a global haven for sustainable IT.

The Sustainable IT From Iceland webinar mini-series

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I initiated a weekly webinar series titled How Nordic Companies Are Using IBM Solutions, which has run since primo April. The series centers around specific reference stories on various topics to which IBM has influenced positively, with experts of the given subjects as speakers. So far, the topics have ranged from AI customer service to IoT asset maintenance to cybersecurity to ethics of AI, among others. Naturally, I wanted to take this opportunity to disseminate and further promote the advantages of sustainable IT solutions on Iceland, for which reason I created a mini-series called Sustainable IT From Iceland within the webinar series.

webinar sustainable itTherefore, I would like to encourage you to participate in the upcoming webinar How Nordic Companies Are Using: Sustainable IT From Iceland II taking place on June 10. This webinar will include speakers from two highly sustainable-oriented companies; Iceland’s national power company of Landsvirkjun and the Icelandic smart data center provider of Etix Everywhere Borealis, and revolve around high performance computing. With 100% renewable operations, Landsvirkjun aspires to become a global leader in sustainable use of renewable energy resources, setting the scene for a webinar discussion on how they will power the future. With multiple large-scale sites in operations, Etix will during the webinar address how they offer sustainable, economic data center solutions in the Nordics.

The first webinar of the mini-series was conducted on May 13, in which IBM’s main partner of Iceland; Origo, elucidated the intelligent storage archiving solution, Aurora DataCloud. It, too, is based on 100% renewable energy, reducing its carbon footprint to a high degree, and has been so successful that Origo was recently awarded the IBM Beacon Award for Outstanding Software Defined Storage Solution for the solution. In case you missed this webinar, it is available on demand here.

Finally, if you are interested in having a dialogue on how to use green energy from Iceland for your IT workloads, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Country Manager Iceland, IBM

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