Check out 7 cool data centres with oddly innovative designs

25 Mar 2016

CyberBunker is one of many cool data centres knocking around. You can’t break in, though

As the growth in data centres continues apace, we look at some of the more creative ways tech companies store their mounds and mounds of data.

Last month, Microsoft trialled its first underwater data centre. It had been planning it for years, and the move beneath the depths is reflective of a growing need to find better ways to store data.

Cloud storage is intangible in consumers’ eyes, but that mystical, vague concept evaporates once you see the behemoth centres popping up all over the world.

Often ugly, often gargantuan, and often major energy consumers, companies are now searching for ways to do things more efficiently. The net result is a growing suite of very clever, very attractive approaches.

Here are 7 of the more innovative centres:


Microsoft data centre

We’ll start with Microsoft, which said its Leona Philpot data centre (a 38,000-pound container, 10ftx7ft) was a resounding success. “The shrimp exploring the seafloor made more noise than the data centre inside the container, which consumed computing power equivalent to 300 desktop PCs,” Microsoft said.



Citigroup data centre

Citigroup’s Frankfurt data centre won a green award back in 2008 for its use of spacing and plants to drastically cut down on its CO2 emissions.


Bahnhof cool data centre

Bahnhof has a selection of remarkable looking data centres, with this one in Pionen –located in a nuclear bunker from the Cold War – its best known location. The entrance is protected by a steel door 40cm thick.

Bahnhofs Sparven data centre

Other nice Bahnhof facilities include Lajka (above) and Sparven (below)



Google_2014-transparency data centre

Google has revealed more about its data centres than most major tech companies, with Street View tours of some of their facilities. Branding is important, even when its as simple as painting tubes. Council Bluffs, with added deer, below, and an overview of the Lenoir base beneath that.

Google_Council Bluffs

Google Data Centre


Cyber Bunker cool data centre

Now we’re into some seriously weird scenarios, with CyberBunker’s use of a pretty impenetrable NATO bunker in the Netherlands enjoying a colourful history. Because of its “many controversial customers”, CyberBunker has seen police forces attempt to break into the bunker to shut it down multiple times. However, but for a bit of damage to the doors, nobody has gotten through. The cold water circulation (below) is almost as old-school as those immensely thick doors (below again).

CyberBunker2 CyberBunker

Green Mountain

Green mountain data centre

Green Mountain’s data centre in Stavanger is built into a former NATO ammunition store. Here it is before they packed in the servers, with those colourful inclusions below, via Knut Bry

Green Mountain


Barcelona cool data centre

Located in a former chapel, the MareNostrum supercomputer sits in a wonderful glass case in the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic