Data centres have to be efficient. That doesn’t stop them being beautiful
Data centres are big business. The constant need for data storage means a need for huge amounts of server space, which needs to be carefully maintained and monitored for regulated temperatures and optimum processes. Although there are strict guidelines for keeping data stored safely within these confines, it doesn’t mean the data centres can’t be more interesting than you might expect. Here are 5 of the most intriguing and inventive data centres.
Hamina – Google’s Finnish data centre
Instead of using air conditioning units to keep the servers at their optimum temperature, seawater is taken in from the adjacent bay. The cold water is then used to maintain a cold temperature in the server storage areas, before being filtered back into the sea. This filtering process ensures the water is lowered to a suitable temperature again, to avoid any damaging environmental effect when it goes back into the sea. The data centre also has a working sauna, left over from the paper company which previously owned and operated the building – relatively common in Finland for large businesses.
Equinix’s AM3 data centre
This data centre, located in the AM3 science park in Amsterdam, is one of the most sustainable centres in the world, and was awarded a DatacenterDynamics Green Data Centre honour in 2012. The centre uses sustainable technology more commonly found within NASA’s space shuttles – using fuel cell reactions to manage fire suppression instead of water or gas, and generating 800,000 kilowatt hours of its own electricity per year.
Google’s (potential) floating data centres
Although there is speculation as to whether or not the barges are data centres or hubs for the upcoming Google glass product release, there is a slight clue in that the company patented a design for a floating data centre in 2008. If they are data centres, they will potentially use a water cooling system similar to Google’s Finnish centre – again reducing the use of refrigerant power typical of a usual centre.
Facebook’s data centre in Lulea, Sweden
Only 60 miles away from the Arctic Circle, the lowest recorded temperature in winter is -41 C, meaning that cold air can be harnessed for cooling powers to keep the servers at optimum conditions. Lulea also has a thriving hydro-electric energy production, which has been taken advantage of by the company, and they use the excess heat created by the servers to heat their office space. As a result, Facebook have claimed that their Lulea centre is ‘likely to be one of the most efficient and sustainable data centres in the world’.
Barcelona Supercomputing Centre
The Spanish data centre hosts IBM’s super computer, MareNostrum. The centre itself is based within a former chapel called Torre Girona at the Technical University of Catalonia. As a data centre, it isn’t one of the most powerful in comparison to those owned by tech giants like Google or Facebook, but it is one of the most interesting and beautiful in terms of architecture, retaining many of the chapel’s original features such as archways and stone passages.
This article was provided by Equinix