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5 of the most unexpected places to find a data centre

CBR lists the top 5 most unexpected data centre locations in the world, everything from under the sea to Cold War bunkers.

By Hannah Williams

The data centre industry is one that usually follows the traditional infrastructure of a facility which is built up with computer systems and cabled tiers.

However, as the industry becomes more modern, data centres are now being built with a more creative infrastructure, in places you would never expect.

CBR lists the five most unexpected places you could find a data centre so far.

Nuclear Bunker

What do you think when you hear of a nuclear bunker? Chemicals, military forces and so on. I definitely wouldn’t think of a data centre that’s for sure.

Well, underground bunkers have recently become a prime location for today’s data centre.

Bunkers are most popularly understood for their extensive use during wars to store weapons and also act as command and control facilities.

The secure storage of bunkers has since then made them useful for data centre storage.

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Swedish provider, Bahnhof became one of the first internet service providers to build as data centre in a nuclear bunker, and it wasn’t just any nuclear bunker- it was one from the cold war.

The Pionen site, located in Stockholm is 100ft deep and is secured by a 40 centimetre thick steel door at the entrance.

Similar to data centres, Bunkers must also be insulated with large amounts of ventilation and air conditioning- another feature which makes it suitable for a data centre facility.

 

Pacific Ocean

All data centre providers know the basics about data centre infrastructure and how they need to be kept chilled- but who would have thought some would take it so literally (?).

Microsoft came up with the unbelievable plan, known as Project Natick, to store data under the sea.

The company tested its first underwater data centre, Leona Philpot, in 2016 with Microsoft believing it would prove effective as half of the world’s population is located within 125 miles of a coast. Thus, having a data centre in the sea would reduce latency.

According to Microsoft, a data centre located in the ocean removes the need for data centre cooling and if built with offshore renewable energy sources, zero emissions would be produced.

 

The next data centre locations are out-of-this-world – literally.

Water-cooled Barge

We’ve heard of the data centre located under sea, but what about a facility on the sea! Nautilus Data Technologies launched a floating data centre in a barge on the Mare Island Shipyard, California.

Nautilius floating data centreAlthough the site appears on sea, no water is consumed to cool the servers. Instead, locating it on barge enables natural seawater to be pumped through a giant self-cleaning barrel and then flushed back into the ocean. This saves almost 130 million gallons of water annually.

Based on the infrastructure and positioning of the data centre, it is not built with any air conditioning but, according to Nautilus, still uses almost 30 percent less energy than the traditional data centre.

Surprisingly, Nautilus was not the first to come up with this idea. Google revealed plans to build a floating data centre offshore, which would have been powered by wave energy back in 2008. However, after discovering the problems it could cause for fibre connectivity it was not launched.

 

NATO Storehouse

The former NATO ammunition storehouse was revamped and built into a high-security data centre.

Storehouse data centresLocated on a small island in Norway, the two main buildings are paired together at three stories high. They have been built from concrete and made into a mountain.

The system is positioned to take water from 100m to water basins at 5m, without the use of any power from outside locations.

Although quite high-up, the facility is designed and locked up with airtight cooling that provides 21 percent oxygen and a cooling source from a nearby fjord.

No worries about security as the data centre is covered by 100m of granite which means it is designed to appear naturally secure from electromagnetic pulses (EMP).

 

Space

The world’s first data centre in space – Asgardia recently announced the launch of the first satellite data centre expected this year.

Asgardia data centreDefinitely a weird location for a data centre, but with cloud and solar energy becoming big in the industry the future of data centres could surely start from here to remain in space.

This data centre has been developed from a solid hard drive and just two particle detectors that will help to measure the radiation levels in space.

Also, not the biggest data centre either, Asgardia-1 is expected to measure at 10x10x20cm at a weight of only 2.8kg.

According to the developers, the space-based data centre acts as the foundation stone which will protect the planet against asteroids, solar flares and other hazards.

 

 

 

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