The Top 10 Data Center Images of 2012

The National Petascale Computing Facility

An exterior view of the National Petascale Computing Facility at the University of Illinois, home to the Blue Waters supercomputer (Image: NCSA/University of Illinois)

In October, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) launched its Blue Waters supercomputer. Primarily funded from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Blue Waters is intended to aid open scientific research in solving big impact problems with big calculation and big data needs. To house the supercomputer, the University of Illinois and NCSA built The National Petascale Computing Facility, which includes 30,000 square feet of raised floor data center space. A six-foot raised floor separates the server room on the upper floor from the power room on the lower level, and level contains trays for the massive power cables, pipes for the chilled water supply and return, and a two foot deep cable tray. See Going Petascale: The Supercomputing Frontier for more on the NPCF.

CyrusOne Phoenix

A bird’s eye view of the data center area, seen from an observation gallery, with the raised floor visible through the maze of wires. (Photo by Colleen Miller)

In Phoenix, a new data center is rising on land that just six months ago was covered with alfalfa fields. Colocation provider CyrusOne broke ground in June on its 47-acre site at the Continuum business park, which has the capacity for seven data center buildings housing up to 1 million square feet of space. The Data Center Knowledge team got a tour of the site in November as CyrusOne prepared the facility for a mid-December opening. Check out our photo feature, Birth of a Data Center for an early look at the facility.

DuPont Fabros Technology’s NJ1 Data Center

An aerial view of the massive solar power array on the roof of the DuPont Fabros NJ1 data center in Piscataway, New Jersey (Photo: DuPont Fabros Technology.)

Solar arrays will likely never be able to fully support the power requirements of a major data center. The enormous photovoltaic array atop the DuPont Fabros Technology NJ1 data center in Piscataway, N.J. is a 2.17 megawatt system, one of the largest seen in the industry providing a sign that the data center sector moving beyond symbolic solar arrays and into on-site generation that provides meaningful scale – even if it doesn’t support the entire facility. This image also demonstrates how aerial photos can capture the scale of the largest data centers in dramatic fashion.

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