Servers

Inside the Cold War bunker that's now a cloud datacentre

Beneath almost a kilometre of Alpine rock, and some 180 metres into the Swiss mountainside, the bunker housing Radix Technologies' cloud datacentre was built to survive a nuclear holocaust.

As well as the natural barrier provided by the mountain, man-made defences such as reinforced concrete walls and steel doors weighing up to 30 tonnes make DK2 a datacentre site where physical information security hardly seems worth mentioning.

In its former life as the Swiss military's principal Cold War command-and-control centre, the installation could quarter about 1,500 personnel. Now it's home to three maintenance staff and racks of Dell servers running CA Technologies AppLogic cloud platform.

Switzerland is riddled with civil defence bunkers, like holes in a piece of Emmental. Of the country's 16,000 bunkers, most are far smaller than DK2's 15,000 square metres. "This is only one that combined such a big space and such a level of security," Radix Technologies chairman Stéphan Grouitch said.

When it was in military hands, its codename was K7. Its main entrance, seen above, lies up a track behind a low man-made bluff that keeps it concealed to visitors until the very last minute.

About

Toby Wolpe is a senior reporter at TechRepublic in London. He started in technology journalism when the Apple II was state of the art.

6 comments
rsmithsc
rsmithsc

But this may bea bit of overkill. Disaster Recovery? I don't think so. Nuclear War? Nope. Execs that lke to take the family to the Alps on the company ticket, hummm. Now thar's a market!

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

When I was in Switzerland in the 70s there was talk from some of the other Americans that lived there about hiking on some goat path in the Alps and coming upon buildings that harbored anti-aircraft guns. They talked about huge caverns hollowed out into mountains, and in the middle of mountain roads were iron rimmed concrete squares that could be raised as needed to create tank traps. Every man in Switzerland had a required amount of time to serve in the military and was permanently in the reserve, keeping a pack and gun ready for the event they should ever be called up. A certain amount of rifle practice and proficienty was required or each man. We tend to think of Switzerland as this wonderful neutral country with Heidi tending goats, cheese and chocolate wherever you look, and wonderfully made watches. But Switzerland has never stayed unconquered just because they said they were neutral, it was always a combination of terrain and preparedness. All that said, it's a beautiful country and I would love to return one day.

garyq
garyq

Is anyone else seeing the Imperial Base Station on Endor?

Rodo1
Rodo1

George C. Scott as Gen. Buck Turgidson, "Dr. Strangelove", 1964. Best Cold War movie of all time!

fo128
fo128

I don't want to come up as confrontational, but in my opinion the real reason the country has remained unoccupied is because of it's vaults. Most wars (although in the name of freedom) are raged primarily for power. Now considering money is the main driving cog in the chase for power, who would attack his own bank and destroy his own wealth?