Today, datacenters can be found in the most unusual locations - anywhere from ice-locked ex-military bases to Spanish chapels. Silicon.com' Nick Heath decided to round up some of the most interesting and remote locations around the world housing and processing computer data.
With the problems that datacenters have with cooling, the Antarctic is perhaps the ideal site for such a facility. This is McMurdo station, home to the largest community in the South Pole and a scientific research center for the United States.
The station's datacentre is dedicated to supporting scientific work and running the station - with 64 servers and more than 2TB of storage connected to hundreds of desktops by a gigabit Ethernet network.
McMurdo Station is the telecoms hub for science projects, field camps and operations in western Antarctica funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
To provide these services, it has a central telephone exchange and a wide spectrum of network, radio-frequency and satellite-communication systems.
At the South Pole, every day up to 100GB of science data is transferred from the station to the US via satellite-communication links in support of multiple NSF-funded science projects.
Photo: Eli Duke
Captions: Nick Heath, silicon.com
Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.
Cold war relics http://www.mount10.ch/english/index.html
it isn't rocket science to know that GEOTHERMAL energy is directly tied to local magma pockets. Iceland uses extensive Geothermal energy, so it's sitting on a whole lot of VOLCANO waiting to happen. so that Data Center on the old air base is located pretty much, ON TOP OF A VOLCANO, not a long distance away from one.
Um... 6.7 isn't enough. Any idea if this thing still exists after the last few large Earthquake swarm? They just had a a bunch of quakes yesterday off Honsu, and a 7.1 on the 7th, not to mention the big ones in March.
That's where we have our datacenter. The mountain is the perfect humidity and temperature, and is very secure. They also store precious art and artifacts as well as host data centers. If nothing else, it's pretty neat going in there, especially in the summer when it's blazing hot outside.
At McMurdo Station in Antarctica: > more than 2TB of storage connected to hundreds of desktops... Did it really mean 2TB? OK, so maybe it's a RAID, but that's still only a small factor increase. Remember when 2TB was actually a lot of storage? In 1991, I got a 1GB drive [CDC/Imprimis multi-platter 5.25"] and I think it cost several thousand dollars [U$D]. My new Win 7 PC came with a 2TB drive last November (to my surprise: most manufacturers seem to go with older/smaller drives in non-custom configurations -- and then charge dearly for upgrades; best upgrades are DIY ;-). Now [some of] these 2TB drives are well under $100.
I'm glad to see that data centers are grasping onto the "Green Tech" and not waiting for it to become a mainstream media nightmare on how data centers are ruining the environment.
...the Google "offshore datacenter" could certainly give new meaning to: ...wait for it... ...the datacenter just went down. Groan at your leisure...
...than to post and remove all doubt. First fact - No cable in–or to–Antarctica. All data transfer is, as the article said, via radio or satellite. And not just any satellite will do. Second fact - Geosynchronous satellites can't be used. Communications are not reliable at latitudes greater than about 70°, and the satellites are essentially invisible at latitudes greater than 75°. McMurdo Station is at latitude 77.847 south. Third fact - That 100 GB of data they are pushing out over satellite links is to satellites with polar orbits that are moving relative to the ground station. They have to be tracked; this takes technology well beyond your teen gamer imagination. Learn more about satellites and orbits here: http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/army/ref_text/chap5im.htm You're on your own for tracking systems.
I'd like to see you develop a system that can keep 2TB of data in sync with multiple worldly locations via sat on a daily basis. I've seen this system and to even mention "gamers" as a comparision makes me ROTFLMAO! These guys do AWSOME work and it's VERY impressive!
I bought a 3TB backup drive a couple weeks ago for about $150. Now granted, they have a teensy bit more difficulty getting to BestBuy or whatever...
One thing they may not have thought about, dependent on where the data center would be in the ocean is, could it REALLY withstand a Tsunami or Hurricane? Let's say the boat flips, then what happens to all of the data? Yup, that's my thought exactly.
as well as actual piracy. Does the data center manager go down with the ship? If the data center manager is a real jerk, would there be a mutiny and they make him walk the plank? So part of your SNMP management system would also control foghorns, bilge fans and pumps, as well as winds and tides?
I'm sorry but the navy pushes more then 2TB of Data between Ships at Sea while moving. This is a fixed location and It only does 2TB of data? My local Centers here push that in a day easy. I can get 5GB of data in a few hours via my Cell phone.... and that's just me. However I do have to give it to them, getting technology out there isn't as easy as getting it out here. I mean think of the shipping even for the most simple things such as TONER! The cost has to be very high, plus I'd hate to have to be the guy to go clean the snow off the dish to keep the data rates and connections up. I wonder, what effects does -40F have on network cable? Not to mention it's not like you can take a day off and go down to the local AppleBees for a Good dinner. +2 Thumbs up for the hard workers in Antarctica.
On most of its journey across the Pacific, the Japanese Tsunami raised barely a ripple. It's only when it gets close to shore that the waves get large.
If they really used a boat ... I'm sure there's a back up somewhere else. Any business that didn't plan for this type of problem wouldn't be in business.. I mean think of it.. how would you sell it? DC Op: Yes we have an off shore data center that we host sensative international clientele on Prospctv C: and what happens if a major storm comes, and say the data center is sunk? Do you have backup plans? DC Op: Of course.. we send out an extra shift of employees with buckets to get the water out of it a bucket at a time... no.. I don't think so.. and if you really did run such a business .. you'd probably setup datacenters in pairs... and still have an off the ship backup plan.. Now whether any of that would be reality.. you'd only know for sure if one of the ships went down and you were informed that your site was transisitioned to the backup dingy of the coast of africa or something..
Why are we being shown were all the data centers are located anyhow? Couldn't that be a threat if terrorist were to know where these centers are? It would be very crippling if they found the data centers and disposed of them.
They use geosynchronous satellites for communication, and only have to compensate for ship movement. They can't see the geos from McMurdo, and have to use satellites in polar orbit; the guy that cleans the snow off the dish also lubes the tracking gear and tests the motor. If there's no satellite, the fastest alternative is probably HF at 2400 or 4800 baud (on a very good day!).
Are you talking the super-competitive businesses that want to put all other data center businesses out of business? I mean, lets face reality ... if you meant terrorists like 9/11 or the Oklahoma City Bombing ... you'd really want to qualify what type of data center. They're smart enough, generally, to realize a regular data center holds no value. What are they destroying, mom-n-pop websites? a cache of Akamai? or do they go after the data center that is part of a MAE or goes after a hospital's datacenter in coordination with releasing some sort of biological agent? You see ... you want coverage, you want FUD, you have to strike where it makes sense.. The run of the mill datacenter, with run of the mill clients, isn't going to rank higher than Uncle Joe ... the distant cousin of Uncle Sam .... but if that data center is part of NYSE ... then yeah... you might take it out, but at the same time taking some other/simultaneous actions to cause as much caos as possible. Frankly a datacenter in the middle of a frozen wasteland, is doubtfully high on the pecking order.