October 7, 2013
I think those of you who are regular readers of this blog know how I feel about Iceland’s attempt to wrest control of the data center industry from those of us here in the good old US of A. As I carefully documented, their surreptitious efforts to become the globe’s epicenter of data center activity caught us all napping and left us more than a little embarrassed. Let’s face it, our current status on the world’s stage is, shall we say, a little shaky, and this Nordic assault on our Facebook/Twitter industrial complex had the capability to erode our national confidence even further. Fortunately, in the spirit of American exceptionalism that has guided and inspired us for over 200 years, a champion has arisen to beat back these merciless Visigoths. Yes folks, those marauders from just this side of the Artic Circle may have thrown the first punch, but the State of Minnesota has picked up the gauntlet and is punching back.
As many of you might have noticed, there is a definite northern migration going on right now amongst data center providers, and it’s Minnesota that’s drawing them faster than frat boys to a keg. In the past twelve months alone Stream, Data Bank, ViaWest and Savvis have all announced their intent to make the state append “and data centers” to their motto, “The land of 10,000 lakes”. Iceland may have fjords—and does anyone really know what those are—but 10,000 bodies of water large enough to claim the “lake” classification, I don’t think its even close.
I’m not saying that Iceland doesn’t have some things to offer the casual data center customer, but in a side-by-side comparison with Minnesota, their basket is only half full. For example, there are 319,000 total Icelanders. Well, Minneapolis alone boasts a hearty 392,000 souls, and that’s not even counting St. Paul. I don’t even think Reykjavik has a “sister city”. And even if it did, do you think anyone would be able to pronounce it?
A great deal has been made about Iceland’s “cool” climate as a built in benefit to folks looking for a new data center home. In response to this claim I did a little digging. The average temperature in Iceland for the months of December, January and February are 39°F, 37°F and 37°F respectively. While I’ll grant you that’s not exactly T-shirt weather, the average temperatures during the same period in Minnesota are 27°, 24° and 29°. While the average Icelander may consider him or herself impervious to the elements, they are wussies when compared to their Minnesotan counterparts. Obviously, Iceland’s claims of an advantageous climate have all the validity of an IPCC report. Who would have thought that these Viking descendants would resort to blatant puffery in their attempt to lure businesses from our shores? The Russians, sure, but didn’t we all expect just a little bit more from these guys?
And speaking of Vikings, I think our North Sea friends are really living on reputation here. Leif Erikson and the boys may have cut a swath through Northern Europe for a few hundred years, but the closest anyone’s going to get to a Viking in Iceland today is a horned helmet made in China found in some Reykjavik airport gift shop. In Minnesota, you can see Vikings for 16 weeks every fall. Yeah, I know they’re players in the National Football League but isn’t grappling with the Green Bay Packers a little closer to the spirit of battle and conquest that characterized the original Nordic invaders than Iceland’s national sport—team handball?
I, for one, can’t more fervently express my gratitude to the good citizens of Minnesota. At a time when treating the United States like some geo-political cat toy seems to be the favorite vocation of countries large and small, we all need to stand strong against threats like these no matter where they come from. Countries with the population of St. Louis need to learn their place in the world order. We can only hope that this frontal assault by these nefarious Nordic invaders is the impetus that this country needs to rally itself, and in the spirit of the generations of the countrymen who have preceded us, reclaim our rightful place in the family of nations. I’m sure that many of you agree with me. So with a tear in my eye and a swelling in my heart let me close by saying, “God bless America”.