[Beowulf] BMW Shifts Supercomputing To Iceland To Save Emissions

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Oct 15 08:34:11 PDT 2012

It's all about stability of costs. (cheap deals and long term contracts)  After all, from a "user" standpoint, whether the cluster is in the next room or a continent away doesn’t make much difference.  Presumably the application is not one requiring millisecond latencies

Mind you, I'm a huge fan of small clusters under a single person's control, where nobody is watching to see if you are making 'effective utilization' and you can do whatever you want.  A personal supercomputer, as it were.   But I recognize that for much of the HPC world, clusters are managed in the same way as big iron mainframes were in the 70s, with the convenience that you don't have to hike down to the computer center (or closer RJE node) with your box of cards and come back later to pick up your stack of green-bar paper.

Jim Lux

-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Eugen Leitl
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2012 6:18 AM
To: Beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: [Beowulf] BMW Shifts Supercomputing To Iceland To Save Emissions

(as we were discussing Iceland -- which has also other advantages, as e.g.
the German Pirate Party is hosting some of its infrastructure there after having been raided on bogus charges).

The firm is moving ten of its HPC clusters, consuming 6.31 GWh of energy each year annually, from Germany over to Verne Global’s data centre in Keflavik, Iceland which uses electricity from 100 percent renewable sources – Iceland’s geothermal and hydroelectric generators.


Still, the reduction is real, and so is the demonstration of the Verne’s capabilities, along with the practicality of shifting major computing services to a country half an ocean away.

BMW tested the network connections from Munich to Iceland, said Jeff Monroe, CEO of Verne Global.  “The test results were a critical factor in their decision to place production systems in Iceland.”

*The move may also have had as much to do with power costs as the emissions.*
With a big surplus and reliable long-term supplies of renewable energy, Iceland’s utilities offer very cheap deals and long term contracts. Monroe said this is one of Verne’s “core competitive advantages”, and prices are
guaranteed: “We can offer customers a low, inflation-protected rate for up to
20 years – a significant consideration in light of rising long-term electricity costs in Europe, the UK and US.”

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