Iceland's Naval Air Station Keflavik was strategically vital during World War II, established by Allied Forces to maintain vital North Atlantic supply lines following Nazi forces' occupation of Europe. It remained strategically important for the US during the Cold War, before being abandoned in 2006 - and subsequently revamped for civilian use.
Sitting between the world's two largest data centre markets - North America and Europe - the site remains strategically important in a new way, as home to Verne Global's 44-acre datacentre, and CEO Jeff Monroe told Computing that housing data centres at the former military base was a no-brainer.
"The buildings that we purchased are perfect for data centres," he said. "For data centres we need to have high ceilings, warehouse structures, and these just happened to be the perfect buildings for us."
Iceland's geography and climate also provide benefits in terms of cost and efficiency, with the data centre powered by renewable geothermal energy, while cooling is provided by harnessing the region's low temperatures and high winds.
That, according to Monroe, enables Verne to offer an efficient, low cost data centre to clients.
"[But] it's almost always a work in progress - you're always improving, adjusting, driving for efficiency," he said, adding that customers are beginning to notice that their data centres normally don't need to be geographically close to their HQ and that they can scour the market for what's best for them.
"It used to be that companies would have maybe three to five applications, and those applications were limited in size and scope. Whenever one application went, they all went," said Monroe.
"But now a change in the dynamic is that as the number of applications grows, you're starting to get into a scenario where rather than companies saying they're going to put all their data in one place, they can put it wherever it makes the most sense," he continued.
"Now, when you start talking about what makes the most sense, you start talking about efficiency and that's where we really enter the equation," Monroe added, referring to cost-saving brought about by renewable energy.
The Verne Global CEO said that when it comes to attracting more customers to store their data with them in Iceland, it's important for current customers to talk about their experience with Verne, as RMS did throughout the Big Data Iceland event this week. Monroe also suggested that when it comes to adopting database solutions, like all technology, time is the key factor in driving success.
"I think it really is just a progress that happens at the time, whether it's education, experience, or technology - the more that people get used to the cloud and datacentres, the more it'll be picked up," he said, before returning to the theme of organisations no longer needing to be physically close to the data centres they use, as long as there's a more efficient option.
"It used to be where 20 or 30 years ago, people knew where their servers were, and they wanted to know where they were. We're really entering a zone where people, by-and-large, aren't interested in where their servers are.
"They're interested in the service level agreement they have, they're interested in the level of service delivery - not so much what region the servers are sitting in," Monroe said, adding that the role of mobile is going to have an impact on the requirement for scalability.
"You have mobile where information has to be everywhere all the time, that doesn't scale, you can't have information everywhere all the time in a data centre," he said, but added there will always be a requirement for the traditional local data centre in storing certain information.
"I think we're going to have distributed data centres that are running applications that have to be close to the source, whether it's advertising related, whether it's micro-trading, you're always going to have that distributed component," said Monroe.
Nonetheless, with energy prices only heading one way, data centres in energy efficient locations will only become more popular, he believes.
"More and more you're going to see data centres like this where you see them aggregating workloads to optimal locations - Google has done it, Microsoft is doing it.
"You're going to see more companies offloading aggregate workload, heavy computational effort in consolidated areas and then using a distribution site to reach those customers with those applications that have to be there," said Monroe.