The Space Station Data Center


Bahnhof is deploying its first modular data center in Kista, Sweden featuring an unusual design that incorporate an inflatable “command module” connected to IT modules made of bullet-proof steel. (Image: Bahnhof)

The team behind the stylish “James Bond villain” data center in Stockholm has begun deploying its first modular data center. As you might expect, the project embraces a futuristic design that doesn’t resemble your typical data center.

“The goal with this installation is to make it look like a space station,” said Jon Karlung, the CEO of Bahnhof. The design features a spacious double-wide module built with bullet-proof steel that will house servers, which attaches to “The Dome,” an inflatable central vestibule that houses security staff.

Karlung is the visionary behind the Bahnhof data center, the former nuclear bunker beneath Stockholm that now houses servers for Swedish ISP Bahnhof. The subterranean lair is outfitted with waterfalls, a greenhouse-style NOC, and a glass-enclosed conference room “floating” above the colocation floor. The facility reflects Karlung’s belief that data centers shouldn’t just be cool – they should LOOK cool, too.

That extends to the company’s foray into modular data centers. Bahnhof joins a growing number of providers seeking to provide faster and cheaper deployment of IT capacity through the use of factory-build modules that can be installed quickly and expanded as needed based on the customer’s needs.

On a snowy property in Kista, Sweden, Bahnhof is deploying its first “space station” data center – complete with automated pneumatic entry doors that will make a Star Trek-style whooshing noise as they open and close. In this video, Karlung provides a tour of the Kista project and a closer look at how they are applying “Bahnhof Style” to the design.

Karlung believes his flair for futuristic visual design can build a distinctive brand. “Containers are ugly,” Karlung told Data Center Knowledge last year. “I think design is too often neglected in our field of business.” Karlung says that designing sleeker and larger modules can turn around some of the early reservations about containers and modular designs.

One of the distinctive features is the inflatable Dome developed by Lindstrand Technologies, which previously built a parachute that deposited the Beagle 2 space probe on the surface of Mars. An inflatable structure raises security questions, which are addressed in the design of the IT modules, which are protected by steel plates made of Armox 500, which Bahnhof says is one of the strongest protection plates available. Here’s a closer look at the interior of The Dome, also known as the “Command Module” (similar to NASA’s Apollo space program).


The view from inside the inflatable command module “dome” that plays a central role in the design of  Bahnhof’s modular data center prototype. (Image: Bahnhof)

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. This is very cool. Always interesting to see how the Europeans go beyond pure functionality to inject a little style into otherwise mundane, objects. Gets me wondering what an Italian data center design might look like. Keep up the good work Rich - I read a lot of your stuff. Very interesting.