Microsoft Considered Iceland For Server Farms - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Microsoft Considered Iceland For Server Farms

Published March 16, 2011

An industry insider reports that Microsoft had a keen interest in making Iceland a location for server farms, but ultimately rejected the idea. He also speculates that Microsoft may have passed up an opportunity that another company could take.
There had been murmurs in government circles over the past couple of years that Iceland could be a prime location for a server farm, having reliable and renewable energy and temperate weather conditions. An industry insider the Grapevine spoke to last year said that the tech field in Iceland was really just beginning; that server farms could be a real possibility. This growth has not gone unnoticed overseas – just two years ago, Microsoft purchased Icelandic software company LS Retail AX.
Now tech industry insider Tom Foremski writes that Microsoft had its eye on Iceland as a location for a server farm at one time, but in the end passed.
“I went to an interesting media dinner last week with Microsoft scientists (full report coming) working on data center issues,” he writes in part. “They said that Microsoft did consider building a data center in Iceland but rejected it.”
Foremski says “the main reason was that Microsoft decided to locate its data centers no more than 500 miles from large population centers because of latency issues.”
However, Foremski speculates that the decision was short-sighted, pointing out that “there are many cloud applications, such as email, where latency would not affect the user experience much. Maybe others will consider doing what Microsoft decided not to do. For example, would you use a web based email service if it was 100% Green and zero carbon? Would you sign up for GreenMail over HotMail?”

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