back to article Amazon killer erupts from Icelandic volcanos

The same Icelandic volcano cluster whose billowing grey clouds caused widespread travel disruption across Europe last year will soon spawn an entirely different kind of cloud: an environment-friendly data center that hosts web applications. Next month, Iceland startup Greenqloud plans to publicly debut an Amazon EC2-compatible …


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  1. Tron

    A (welcome) drop in the ocean.

    There are three major issues with energy use: safe, sustainable energy creation without environmental damage, reducing use through the development of low power technologies and reducing waste. Waste is unnecessary usage (neon advertising crap/most flying/large % of car use). The human race are crap at all of them and do not seem to have any real intention of changing their behaviour in the fundamental ways that might make a difference. The free market economy is actually based on consumption, requiring increased waste to create increased consumption (built-in obsolescence: a new iToy every year). It will end in tears and we will deserve it. We can't even blame the government. It's our own laziness, arrogance and greed.

    Have the balls to audit your own behaviour and reduce your use and waste of energy at home and at work. You'd kill to protect your kids but every day you poison their future, because it requires a bit of effort to change your ways.

    The US has a lot of sunny, empty desert. Why aren't they covered with solar energy arrays? Why isn't every new house in the developed world built with solar panels, light wells, proper insulation and a small wind turbine? Most people I know don't give any thought at all to the consequences of going on yet another foreign holiday. It's pathetic. They can learn how to text or how to post on Facebook, but their part in the creation of pollution and its effects seems to be beyond their comprehension. For the most intelligent species on the planet, we are pretty dumb.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Part of waste

      "Waste is unnecessary usage (neon advertising crap/most flying/large % of car use). "

      Efficiency also plays a role, although not doing certain things that require energy still beats doing those things with as great an efficiency as possible.

      Stop - applies to waste

    2. Andy Fletcher

      Why aren't they covered with solar energy arrays?

      Simple. Not cost effective, by a huge margin. The simplest way to answer questions on why we aren't doing something always boils down to economics. If it made sense, we'd already be doing it.

      1. DAN*tastik

        Solar energy arrays

        It doesn't always have to make sense., jump to the lobbying section ( very specific to corn but I guess it applies to more cases )

        I do not see conspiracies everywhere, and I don't hate capitalism.

        I believe there are flaws though.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If only we were able to harness the power of arrogance, you could provide the solution on your own.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Shifted Tectonic Plates ....... NeuReal World Order CHAOS*

    "Mega-analyst Gartner recently upset this mutual greengasm by pointing out the obvious: servers and their cooling systems need electricity. According to Gartner, IT and cloudy services are helping choke – not save – our planet."

    Actually mega-analyst Gartner [and there's a cloudy pretentious assumption worthy of any wannabe minnow struggling to maintain credibility in a novel virtual field in which they are lost and drowning/all at sea] completely missed the point and the obvious ......... and it is an interesting question which NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Elements and Components would be asking of Iceland to know if its pretty good at computer science programs have discovered of the obvious ....... that more than just electricity, do servers and their cooling systems require power and control ...... for Global Commands.

    Perhaps El Reg could float that directly through their volcanic contacts in the field, for it is whenever even neither confirmed nor denied, great catastrophic news, although, Dan, I imagine there may be a wholly different set of views with a conflicted picture from all those San Francisco, lazy hazy day dreamer types in Silicon Valley ...... having great difficulty in coming to terms with their former sunny leading, global market position having been hacked and capped and transferred to a new Beta Chill Child Born of Fire and Brimstone and Risen to Live Operational Virtual Environments.

    And although that is somewhat Cryptic in Transparent Steganographic Design for the SMARTer Peerages of El Reg Circles, is its message surely clear enough for even the Dimmest of Lights to Read and See.

    * Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I cannot resist...

    "We thought, 'What does have Iceland have?' We have fishing and then we have renewable energy – we are pretty good at computer science, too!"

    There is an alternative version of that:

    "We have fishing, hunting, and a charming view of the sunset..." Fits with the location too: "a few degrees south of Freezing to Death"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PUE and greenness

    1. I'd fault PUE for something else -it assumes all power that goes into the server is "useful", yet my new machines have many many fans in it to keep the air flowing over the nehalem CPUs and the CUDA graphics cards. At the end of the day, the electricity bill matters, and that says "servers that do more mips/watt and mflops/watt would be nice".

    2. Yes, there is lots of green electricity in the US, which is why many of the datacentres are up in WA , OR or near Buffalo NY: Hydro power. But the US has a power grid every Joule of electricity not used by the datacentres are stuck on the grid and pushed to the rest of the country. Datacenters take green electricity away from everywhere. Iceland doesn't have this problem, it also has good network connectivity.

    1. The Cube

      Kinda missing the point

      When people build data cent(er)s in America they can either "do a Facebook" and put them in the state with the cheapest power even though it is also the dirtiest coal-fired power they can find, then say "we are really green because our PUE is quite good, nobody look at the strip mining operations" or they can put them closer to a clean power source.

      With regard to the "there is a grid" argument when you look at the cost of power in the US around half of the cost in places like California ends up being transmission cost and only half is generation cost. So, by locating in a coal fired state Facebook supported the development of more coal fired plants with the excellent operating margin they gave the operator by coming to them for the power and cutting out the transmission costs.

      If they had located in an area with lots of renewables then they would have been delivering better margin to the investors who built the hydro or similar plant. Why do you think the power companies work so hard to attract data centre operators?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And what about DR?

    So, highly active tectonic plates and volcanoes equates to a high risk environment. So what is the DR plan?

  6. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    100 per cent renewable energy?

    "Greenqloud [...] consumes electricity generated by the hydroelectric and geothermal sources"

    Geothermal power generation makes good use of earth's waste energy and yes, it's green. But, how exactly is it renewable?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But it's safe from merkins...

    Although this may be vulnerable to disruption by volcano/earthquake it least it shouldn't be vulnerable to closure in response to knee-jerk comments by Fox commentators and Merkin Republican politicians.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course amazon is mum.

    Their cloud thing is a fancy name for monetizing the capacity they need for the peak come december, but otherwise is mostly idle. It'd be "greener" to just turn it off, but why not put a nice markup on it and sell it piecemeal? They're big in electronic retail, after all. And heck, written off but not yet broken down are just as easily turned into a tidy profit until such time the racks are needed again. Monetizing leftovers is how they started this cloud thing.

    Now that enough people are buying into it, there's apparently a market for this sort of thing but because it's indifferentiated /by design/ you need some sort of gimmick for the shiny sauce. "Green" is all the rage, so, well, yeah, in Iceland you might be sitting pretty there. And getting as much performance out of each Watt is useful too. Just don't dare try and ask just how "green" those computer things are, apart from the energy.

  9. James 5


    .. you place your data into a data centre situated on a volcanically active island in the middle of the Atlantic? Nope, me neither!

    Data Centres should be placed on tectonically stable areas, preferably well above current sea level - parts of the UK (Scotland) and Scandinavia may be suitable. And parts of the Canadian shield and a fair part of Africa. Not sure about the rest of the world just now !

  10. Gaius


    If hosting in Iceland makes sense why is Eve hosted in London?

    1. tryggvil

      This has changed

      Actually this decision was taken many years ago, when there was a real lack of network connections to Iceland, the scenario is completely different today.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why Eve is in London

      I believe it was because Eve grew up before the big new connections to Iceland went in, so at the time couldn't physically have been located there.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Confusion pig!


    Confusion Pig,

    Confusion Pig,

    Does whatever a .... err... actually I'm not sure now... what was I talking about? D'oh!

  12. JaitcH

    Will they do Wikileaks?

    What a coup that would be for both the cloud operator and Wikileaks!

    And egg all over Amazon's face.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Marketing men

    Would someone please put them all in a sack, with a piece of rock, and drop them into the nearest canal.

    "Hey! We'll spell it with a 'Q'!"

  14. Charles Smith

    Typical - forget the operators.

    A beer in Iceland costs about a pound a pint more than it does in London. What would the BOFH have say about locating a Data Centre there?

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