Photos: The world's weirdest datacentres

Photos: The world's weirdest datacentres

Summary: From Antarctic computing centres to former churches, we look at some of the most unusual datacentres around the world.


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  • It might pass for the lair of a James Bond supervillan but this former nuclear bunker is perhaps the world's most outlandish datacentre.

    This co-location facility for Swedish internet service provider Bahnhof lies 100 feet below Stockholm, and is decked out with tropical plants, a waterfall, 600-plus gallon fish tank and craggy granite walls.

    The servers are located in four caves, radiating from the centre of the bunker.

    Building work on the bunker began in 1943, and the shelter was extended during the Cold War to become a civil defence bunker stocked with provisions and emergency vehicles.

    The site's other claim to fame is hosting two servers for the Wikileaks whistleblower website.

    Photos: Bahnhof

  • datacentre on a boat

    One of the plans for the floating datacentre set out in Google's patent applicationPhoto: Google/

    Datacentres could be destined to leave dry land if search giant Google has its way.

    In 2008, Google floated the idea of putting datacentres on platforms that would sit three to seven miles offshore, and won a patent for the idea in 2009.

    Potential advantages range from the availability of wind and wave power and seawater cooling, to the absence of property taxes and building regulations.

    Google envisions that the datacentres would be modular and constructed on land inside standard shipping containers before being hauled via truck to ships and then unloaded onto floating pontoons.

    Photo: Louis Vest

  • Time to go deep underground for this next datacentre, into the caverns of a disused mine.

    The datacentre is situated 100 metres underground in a coal mine in the Chubu region of Honshu, Japan's main island.

    When complete, the facility will total 30 shipping containers, each holding about 250 servers and with about 10,000 processor cores available, although that number could be expanded to 30,000.

    Cooling is provided by groundwater and the 15C temperature underground dispenses with the need for air conditioning outside the containers.

    The datacentre was set up in 2007 by a joint venture made up of Sun, now owned by Oracle, and 11 other companies.

    The group estimates that it could save $9m a year on electricity costs by removing the need for water coolers.

    The containers are strong enough to withstand earthquakes of 6.7 on the Richter scale.

    The picture above is not of the mine used for the Sun datacentre, but a coal mine tunnel in Pennsylvania.

    Photo: zizzybaloobah

Topics: Cloud, Data Centers, Hardware


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • also if Google's servers sit on ships in international waters

    Google is free to do with the data anything they want, because it's not sitting in the US, UK, ect.
    William Farrel
  • There's a plot for a Bond movie

    somewhere in here.