Photos: The 10 most unique data centers in the world
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Bahnhof Pionen White Mountain - Stockholm, Sweden
Modern data centers are being built in less than traditional locations for increased security, reduced power consumption for cooling, and to accommodate non-traditional hardware. This gallery features 10 data centers that stand out in this category.
The Swedish ISP Bahnhof has a reputation for architecturallyrninteresting data centers — the company refers to its facilities as data bunkers — and its flagship Pionenrnfacility is foremost among them. The Pionen facility is built in a Cold War era nuclear bunker, and features both a standard UPS systemrnfor continuous power, and two Maybach diesel submarine engines for backup powerrngeneration.
Bahnhof Lajka Space Station - Kista Science City, Sweden
Bahnhof’s first data center outside of Stockholm is in the Kista Science Cityrninnovation cluster, and is an all-steel structure designed to resemble a spacernstation. The reason given on the Bahnhof website is “Who would build this if werndidn’t?” The outside of the Lajka Space Station and the interior of the PionenrnWhite Mountain can be seen in this promotional video, which reenacts a legal battle between Bahnhof andrnthe Swedish government about the collection of internet metadata.
Green Mountain DC1 Stavanger - Norway
Green Mountain’s DC1 facility (server roomrnpictured before the racks were installed) is built in a former underground NATOrnammunition storehouse on a small island in Norway. It is powered byrnhydroelectric power systems, and is cooled using the available water at a depthrnof 75 meters, which remains at 8u00b0C (46u00b0F) year-round. The facility is madernto be airtight, and the oxygen level in the server facilities is kept at 15%,rnwhich prevents the ability of fires to start; this has the added benefit ofrnpreventing secondary damage from the chemicals needed to extinguish fires.
OVH RBX-4 - Roubaix, France
The French hosting company OVH designed a square data center that uses no air conditioning — instead of a solid building, the inner core is hollow, and is used for ventilation,rnwhile the servers are water-cooled.
Yahoo Computing Coop - Lockport, NY
Yahoo’s new data center designrntakes stylistic cues from the classic chicken cooprnin order to reduce the costs of cooling the data center. Although it isrndesigned to use natural cooling 99% of the time, a direct evaporative coolingrnsystem is on premises for circumstances that require additional cooling. Thernfacility is powered by hydroelectric power from nearby Niagara Falls, NY.
Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Barcelona, Spain
The Barcelona Supercomputing Center is the home of MareNostrum,rna supercomputer used for genome research, among other uses. Interestingly, the facility is actually a former chapel, called the Torre Girona at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
CyberBunker - Goes, The Netherlands
CyberBunker is a data center built in a decommissioned NATOrnabove-ground nuclear bunker in The Netherlands that is designed to operaternfor over 10 years without outside contact. As a result of a zoning dispute,rnofficials from Goes attempted to enter the facility usingrnhydraulic tools intended for rescuing victims of car crashes. This attempt onlyrnbroke the doors, leaving them unable to be opened. According to CyberBunker,rnthe total repair bill paid by the city was u20ac24,500 ($35,840 USD, when adjusted for today’s inflation). Some time later, a SWAT team also unsuccessfully attempted to enter the facility.
PCextreme - Middelburg, The Netherlands
PCextreme’s data centers are standard architecturally, and the most interestingrnthing about the servers is not where they are being stored, but the servers themselves.
Inrnaddition to traditional server systems, the company also offers colocation of Raspberry Pi systems for u20ac3 per month (u20ac36, or $40.53 USD, per year).rnThe company has designed custom boards to fit multiplernRaspberry Pi systems in racks, and is working on improving designs to be morernspace efficient. PCextreme notes that the Raspberry Pi uses 3-5 watts comparedrnto 75-150 watts of midrange servers, making it a more energy-efficient solutionrnfor use cases where “full” computers are not needed.
HavenCo - The Principality of Sealand
HavenCo is (or, alternately, was) a data center that was foundedrnin 2000 on the decommissioned HM Fort Roughs — otherwise known as the Principality of Sealand — six miles off of therncoast of England. The experiment ended in November 2008, and appeared to bernforever abandoned in this post-mortem writeup in 2012. HavenCornreopened in late 2013 to operate a cold storage facility, though its websiternis presently offline.
Cloud&Heat - Germany
Cloud&Heat re-imagines what a data centerrnis by taking a specially-designed cabinet and placing it in personalrnresidences or commercial buildings. These specially designed cabinets allow the heatrngenerated by the servers to be harvested to heat water and air on premises. ThernCloud&Heat design allows for workloads to be concentrated to specificrnregions as weather conditions warrant. For example, if the outsiderntemperature is colder in Bonn than it is in Stuttgart, higherrnworkloads would be allocated to systems in Bonn to generate the needed heat.rnAlthough presently limited to Germany, perhaps in the future your home can bernheated with a server cabinet.