When you imagine a data center, you probably envision a very high-tech, but boring facility. Large, open rooms full of racks don’t exactly inspire creativity and innovation. However, you might be surprised to learn that there are many data centers around the world that challenge that stereotype and feature incredibly innovative designs, layouts, and locations.
As a result of the increasing importance of data privacy, data centers are being placed in unique locations to ensure they are as secure, energy efficient, and effective as possible. In a blog entry for WhoIsHostingThis.com, Claire Broadley provides a virtual “tour” of these unusual data centers, which “are not vanity projects, but creative responses to some of the challenges that technology has presented.”
Unusual locations are a hallmark of these remarkable data centers: Concerns about information security and continuity mean that data centers have to be resilient against a variety of physical attacks and natural disasters. For example, in Norway, the Green Mountain data center is located in an abandoned ammunition storage facility on an island, embedded into the rock of the mountain.
In the Netherlands, the CyberBunker data center is located in an old nuclear bunker, taking advantage of the security provided by its previous owners, NATO. According to the CyberBunker website, the facility was built in 1955 to survive through a full-scale nuclear war and was rebuilt as a datacenter in 1998. The facility’s high-level security is seen as a challenge, apparently, as there have been multiple incidents of people trying to break into the bunker without permission.
Another factor that plays into the innovative designs of these data centers is their power usage and a need to find alternative sources of energy. In New York, the electricity for servers at Yahoo’s Computing Coops—so named because its design is based on a chicken coop—is generated by nearby Niagara Falls. In Germany, the Cloud&Heat data center recycles heat generated by its servers to warm air and water in neighboring buildings.
Want to learn more? From a data center with no air conditioning to one modeled after a chicken coop, the infographic below provides a detailed look at some of the world’s most innovative and unusual data centers: