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Rackspace's Slough-based datacentre houses the hardware for its UK cloud, along with the other servers rented by its customers. It has 1,600 racks in place, of which 120 support its cloud.
The datacentre, in operation since June 2008, was in the process of being expanded when ZDNet visited in 2011, with the company adding a further data hall. At the same time, Rackspace is bringing in new cooling systems to increase the efficiency of the site and cut its power costs.
Rackspace's server hardware is predominantly supplied by Dell. It operates a multi-vendor networking approach: Cisco is the predominant provider of switching technology, while Juniper Networks supplies backbone services and Brocade provides equipment for load balancing.
TAKE THE TOUR: Inside Rackspace's UK cloud datacentre
Image: Jack Clark
Barcelona Supercomputing Centre
Perhaps the datacentre with the most impressive home of all is housed at the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.
Located amid the colonnades and Romanesque arches of the Torre Girona chapel, MareNostrum is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.
No longer a place of worship, today the chapel is the site of supercomputing research into computer, Earth and life sciences. The machine has 10,240 IBM Power PC 970MP processors that have a combined peak performance of 94.21 teraflops.
Image: Barcelona Supercomputing Centre
Celebrity Equinox cruise ship
Of course, not all datacentres are located on dry land. The Celebrity Equinox cruise ship is 17 decks high and 317m long, and has to offer some serious IT infrastructure to meet the tech needs of up to 2,852 passengers.
For a start, Celebrity Equinox, built in 2009 for Celebrity Cruises at the Meyer Werft shipyard in the German North Sea port of Papenburg, has three datacentres, 1,600 Mac Minis, 1,350 Apple TVs, 967 hotspots and a high-performance network. Ensuring all that equipment works is the job of an IT department of seven, run by infrastructure and operations manager Marc de Lange.
Pictured is the back-end of the cabin TV and entertainment system, which is housed in the third datacentre, and consists of Apple's now-discontinued Xserve hardware.
Image: Joachim Kaufmann/ZDNet Germany