The Top 10 Data Center Stories of 2013


Bahnhof’s new modular space station” data center includes an inflatable vestibule. (Photo: Bahnhof)

Big projects, big budgets, design innovation and repurposing the old economy’s infrastructure for the new economy were key themes during 2013. That’s reflected in our review of the most popular stories on Data Center Knowledge in 2013, which also featured mystery barges, data centers that look like space stations, and the NSA. Here are the top 10 stories of 2013, ranked by page views:

With Ubiquity, Sears is Turning Shuttered Stores into Data Centers – Our readers were fascinated with Sears Holdings’ entry into the data center business. Sears formed a new unit to market space from former Sears and Kmart retail stores as a home for data centers, disaster recovery space and wireless towers. With the creation of Ubiquity Critical Environments, Sears hopes to convert the retail icons of the 20th century into the Internet infrastructure to power the 21st century digital economy. Sears Holdings has one of the largest real estate portfolios in the country, with 3,200 properties spanning 25 million square feet of space. That includes dozens of Sears and Kmart stores that have been closed over the years.

Google Has Spent $21 Billion on Its Data Centers – Google has invested more than $21 billion in its Internet infrastructure since the company began building its own custom data centers in 2006. The company’s spending has intensified in recent quarters as Google has launched a global expansion of its data center footprint, which has led to quarterly spending in excess of $1 billion. The company invested a record $1.6 billion in its data centers in the second quarter of 2013.

Microsoft’s $1 Billion Data Center – This was a pivotal year in the emergence of the billion dollar data center campus, as tech titans continued to invest in key data hubs. With its latest expansion, Microsoft’s investment in its data center campus in southern Virginia has reached $997 million. Microsoft also provided a first public glimpse of its new data center design, which features pre-fabricated modules housing thousands of servers, some of which sit on a slab, open to the sky and the outdoors.

The Space Station Data Center – The team behind the stylish “James Bond villain” data center in Stockholm began 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.

NSA Building $860 Million Data Center in Maryland – The NSA was in the news throughout the year. While the agency’s Utah data center became the focus of global attention, the NSA continued expanding its data center footprint in other areas. The agency broke ground on an $860 million data center at Fort Meade, Maryland that will span more than 600,000 square feet, including 70,000 square feet of technical space. Last month the NSA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began building the High Performance Computing Center-2, an NSA-run facility that will be located on base at Fort Meade, which is home to much of the agency’s existing data center operations.

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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. Jim Leach

    Thanks to the team at Data Center Knowledge for your excellent reporting in 2013! You are a critical resource for the data center industry.