December 29th, 2009 By: Rich Miller
Ever want to see inside the world’s most powerful data centers and learn more about the technology driving the busiest Internet web sites? Here’s a look at five of the coolest video tours of major data centers, along with a list of links to 10 other worthwhile video tours. Enjoy!
Inside A Google Data Center
After years of secrecy, Google lifted the lid on its data center operations during an April summit for industry executives. The highlight of the day was a video tour of the long-rumored container data center, which was built in 2005 – confirming that Google was into containers before containers were cool. Each of these 40-foot data center containers can house up to 1,160 servers, and Google has been using them since it built this facility in late 2005.
Inside the ‘James Bond Villain’ Data Center
How can you not love an underground data bunker 100 feet below Stockholm, complete with waterfalls, greenhouse-style NOC, glass-enclosed conference room “floating” above the colocation floor, and blue-lit diesel engines? Dean Nelson of Data Center Pulse took the tour, and we lived vicariously through the video.
A Supercomputer In A Silo
Here’s one of the most unusual data center designs we’ve seen. The CLUMEQ supercomputing center in Quebec has worked with Sun Microsystems to transform a huge silo into a data center. The cylindrical silo, which is 65 feet high and 36 feet wide with two-foot thick concrete walls, previously housed a Van de Graaf particle accelerator. When the accelerator was decommissioned, CLUMEQ decided to convert the facility into a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster known as Colossus. For a full description of the CLUMEQ design, check out this video from Sun, which runs about 6 minutes.
A Look Inside the Mammoth Vegas SuperNAP
Until then, the Sun Cloud is chilling in the SuperNAP in Las Vegas, where its servers are housed in one of Switch Communications’ custom high-density computing pods known as a T-SCIF (short for Thermal Separate Compartment in Facility). We had a look at the Sun installation during a recent tour of the SuperNAP. The racks are packed top to bottom with servers, creating a power load of up to 24 kW per rack. This video from Sun provides an inside look at the company’s operation at the SuperNAP and the cooling systems that manage that density for the Sun cloud platform. This video runs about 5 minutes.
Terremark’s Government Data Fortress
Norm Laudermilch, managing director of The NAP of the Capital Region, provides a tour of the ultra-secure data center built by Terremark Worldwide in Culpeper, Virginia (60 miles south of Washington, D.C.). Laudermilch provides a walk-through of the facility, which officially opens June 25, and describes some of the power, cooling and IT infrastructure Terremark has installed to support the data center
There’s plenty more data center video tours on the Data Center Knowledge web site. Here’s a guide to some that may be of particular interest:
- IBM’s Green Data Center Testbed: Big Blue is test-driving multiple energy-saving technologies in this facility at Syracuse University, which features on-site power generation, DC power distribution, chillers and cabinets equipped with water-cooled rear-door heat exchangers.
- NVIDIA’s Industrial Strength Data Center: The graphics chipmaker provides a tour of the facility where its processors, including a high-density installation with 800 processors in four cabinets.
- A High-Density Greenfield Data Center: Intel provides a look inside a two-story “greenfield” (new construction) data center featuring a highly efficient design. The data center houses 220 racks of gear and is managed remotely, with only a security guard on site.
- Inside An Equinix Data Center: The Equinix campus in Ashburn, Vriginia is one of the Internet’s busiest intersections, where hundreds of networks interconnect. Here’s a look at one of the data centers where those connections take place.
- Video Tour: The NAP of the Americas: This carrier hotel in Miami is one of the largest data center facilities around, with more than 750,000 square feet of space. This video provides a look inside.
- A Look at the WordPress.com Data Center: WordPress.com has been one of the fastest-growing blog hosting services, and now houses more than 5.5 million blogs in three data centers. The newest of those is an installation with Layered Technologies in Chicago.
- Emerson’s St. Louis Data Center: This facility features a rooftop solar array that will provide 100 kw of supplemental power, and a high-voltage distribution system using 240 volt power instead of 208 volt power.
- A Closer Look at Sun’s Colorado Data Center: Sun’s new data center in Broomfield, Colorado has features a modular design approach to adapt to challenges with the new building.
- Bay Area’s New Santa Clara Site: This new 80,000 square foot data center features an innovative economizer design. One end of the data center is lined with more than 200 fans to bring fresh air into an exterior “air corridor” that surrounds the data center.
- Video Tour: Telecity Powergate: Telecity’s newest data centre in London has been designed to provide up to 20 kW per rack in high-density zones.