Don’t know if you’ve seen this yet but BMW is moving some of its data center operations to Iceland. We’ve all heard the inklings and rumors, but I think with this latest announcement the truth has become undeniable—Iceland is now officially the new data center Mecca. That sound you hear in the background is the thousands of large real estate owners in Oregon falling out of their chairs. Now I’m sure that you’re all asking yourself “how could this happen?” I agree that I don’t think any of us saw this coming but obviously these Icelanders are crafty rascals. It’s almost like that Red Dawn movie from the 80’s where one day, when we weren’t looking, the Russians parachuted in and took over Kansas, or maybe it was Utah, but you get my drift. After recovering from my initial shock, I immediately did some research and was stunned to see how this tiny island in the North Sea had wrested control of the data center industry from our grasp.
The first part of their strategy is now so obvious that I hate to even mention it—they took advantage of their unique geography. Think about it, how many of us can actually find Iceland on a map. I mean it’s not a continent or anything. They’re never in the news since that singer they had stopped wearing dead fowl to awards shows. Who even thinks about a place that if you asked directions to it the proper response would be: “go to New Newfoundland and turn right?” Hiding in plain site, these stealthy descendants of Nordic tribes took advantage of the fact that the sun doesn’t set on their country for six months and literally plotted their overthrow while we slept.
They made their plans using code. As one of those countries that would spell Bob using one of those o’s with a slash through it—and don’t even get me started on their clever use of umlauts—they were able to hatch their diabolical plans without even having to change their language. It’s not like we didn’t have clues. With a capital named Reykjavik and names like Bjork–what is it with these people and the randomly placed J—we can now see in hindsight that they’ve been working on this for a very long time.
They were able to make effective use of their idle time. There are 319,000 residents in all of Iceland (less than the entire population of St. Louis), and one of their major industries is whaling. Hiking across frozen fjords is a favorite past time. These are people who obviously have a lot of time on their hands. So while we were basking in the simple joys of life here in the US: watching cable, drinking beer and eating at Sizzler, 319,000 Icelanders were banding together to claim data center supremacy. Insidious is not too strong a word to describe this barbarous behavior.
History was on their side. Iceland originated as a Norse settlement, and I think we all know that Norse is just a dog whistle term for Vikings. You all remember the Vikings don’t you? Those fun loving, horned hat-wearing guys that plundered and pillaged, and pillaged and plundered (they alternated days), all over Europe? One day you’re a peace loving European peasant, and the next, a ship with a dragon’s head on the bow shows up, and next thing you know your sister is married to a guy named Sven Lundgren, and your nieces and nephews are all blue-eyed blondes…with beards. As we all know, they’ve been stewing about this whole Leif Ericsson actually discovered America thing for centuries, so their takeover of the data center industry was, in retrospect, inevitable. That’s the way it goes sometimes. You’re lulled into a false sense of security over a few centuries and then wham. These guys can really hold a grudge.
So are we going to let this Icelandic equivalent of Pearl Harbor go unchallenged? Are we going to let a whole country that abuses the “J” with impunity take over the industry that we’ve built? I should say not. But after we have beaten back this assault, we must remember to be ever vigilant as similar plots are assuredly underway. Where they may come from we can only speculate. But I, for one, refuse to see another country that plays Scrabble with more “J’s” than vowels gain the upper hand on us. Now I ask you, “Who’s with me?”