In a world that never rests, global companies with global customers are starting to run help desks spaced out at eight hour intervals across the globe, providing their customers with support no matter where they are or what time it is, as well as minimising the need for overtime payments and crazy shift patterns. It’s referred to as follow-the-sun.
It’s a method of minimising data centre power requirements (and costs) by always running the applications and servers that support business processes in locations that are in darkness.
Outside of the business day, temperatures are cooler, reducing the aid conditioning required in the vast data centre halls, often the size of several football pitches. (Using any country’s or culture’s definition of football!)
And out of hours, demand is lower and electricity suppliers offer cheaper off-peak rates, further reducing the cost to businesses.
So as long as you can afford to replicate the hardware infrastructure in multiple locations (two or at most three) and can virtualise the software and seamlessly shift it between servers (in different locations) without customers noticing, follow-the-moon offers a way to cut power requirements and cut costs.
Iceland offers another saving for data centre operators: air conditioning controlled by opening the data centre door a bit wider to let more of the artic wind blow up and down the aisles!