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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
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.
In November 2010, it was ranked 118 in the list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.
The supercomputer was built by the Spanish national and regional government and is used for research by a number of tech companies, including Microsoft and IBM.
As the name suggests, the superconducting super collider was a big deal, so big in fact it would have put the Large Hadron Collider to shame.
Unfortunately, the Texas-based particle accelerator was cancelled in 1993 after Congress deemed its projected $12bn price tag too expensive.
By the time the project was cancelled, 14 miles of tunnel had been dug for the accelerator and nearly $2bn had been spent on the project.
But science's loss is computing's gain - with the site now reportedly being marketed as a location for a tier III or IV datacentre.
Photo: Department of Energy