Site selection is still a vital stage in the success of many organisations. Whether this is the selection of a site for development or the final phase of evaluating RFQ responses on a wholesale data centre offering, there are so many variables that can impact the data centre operation for years to come. What may look perfect at first glance rarely is and it is always the details that require the most attention.

Ultimately, the site selection process is boiled down to the concept of risk. What is the risk that the development may hit a snag due to future or current local opposition? Is there a risk that power may be difficult to come by in years to come? What is the risk that power prices will rise? What are the financial exposures that a site may bring to the corporate balance sheet? In a way - a site carries a balance sheet of its own. Assets and liabilities - plain and simple.

As we selected our site in the southwest of Iceland, we had the benefit of six decades of balance sheets before us. The previous tenants at our site were NATO and the US Navy - two organisations that know a thing or two about risk mitigation. And our site wasn’t just home to a few soldiers and a commissary; it was a key centre for communications and intelligence right through the middle of the cold war. Assets at that time were vital and liabilities - unacceptable. We have always felt confident in our site selection and we are pleased to have a 60-year occupation by NATO to support the decision.

Recently, we have seen an additional validator on the site balance sheet for Keflavik, Iceland. Cushman & Wakefield, with the assistance of respected UK data centre engineers Hurley Palmer Flatt, have issued the Data Centre Risk Index for 2012and Iceland is front and centre as one of the best positioned on the list. It is no surprise to Verne Global, but Iceland’s leadership in Sustainability, Water Availability, Power Cost, Education, and Cost of Labour among others shows well when compared among other areas of the world where data centres industry thrives.

It is a time of growth and options for the data centre manager of 2012. No longer held within four walls, the data centre is exploding out into a universe of applications, appliances, and infrastructure that can be spread to optimised locations throughout the world. By spreading out into areas such as Iceland, a data centre manager can deploy energy hungry applications in an environment where cooling is readily available in all forms and the power to feed servers is 100% renewable and predictable with industrially structured, long-term contracts.

Risk and reward reminds us of balance. But it is the proper management of risk that tilts the scales in the favour of bottom line success.