Bastionhost Buys Nova Scotia Data Bunker

Bastionhost has purchased an underground bunker in Nova Scotia for conversion to a data center. The nuke-resistant facility was built as an emergency continuity shelter for the Canadian govenment.

Rich Miller

December 16, 2008

3 Min Read
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IT start-up Bastionhost has purchased an former government continuity bunker in Nova Scotia as part of its plan to build a "Dataville" of data centers in the province. Bastionhost today announced a deal with the Colchester Regional Development Agency (CoRDA) to buy properties on the outskirts of Truro, Nova Scotia to serve as the nucleus of the planned network of facilities.

The properties include a 64,000 square foot former government continuity headquarters bunker known as a "Diefenbunker" because it was built during the era of then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker at the height of the Cuban missile crisis. The facility, which was built to withstand an atomic blast and protect occupants from nuclear fallout is one of a network of six Diefenbunkers built across Canada.

The 45 year-old bunker features geothermal cooling, a sophisticated air filtration system, and redundant backup power engineered to military specifications. The building will house Dataville’s network operations center and provide business continuity and disaster recovery workstations.

Bastionhost introduced the Dataville concept last summer, focusing on financial clients in New York and London.

“There’s pent-up demand for this type of critical infrastructure for computer systems that power the Internet, and the people behind the scenes who keep them running,” says Anton Self, Bastionhost’s founder and CEO. “Enterprises and governments scramble to manage and store ever-increasing amounts of digital information, while worldwide demand for data centres is outstripping supply by a factor of three to one.”

Self said he has been intrigued for years by the prospect of building data centers in underground bunkers. “I first looked at the bunker in 1999, but the concept of serving both New York and London from Nova Scotia was probably years ahead of its time," said Self. " The world has evolved since then. Reliance on the Internet has exploded, while insurance underwriters and business continuity managers have been pushing server farms like Dataville farther out of cities into more rural locations, less subject to the constraints, costs and high risks posed by metropolitan areas.”

The Dataville vision sees Nova Scotia emerging as an "information Switzerland" due to its central location between London and New York. Bastionhost says Canada’s strong privacy laws offer another advantage to financial firms wary of the USA Patriot Act, which complicates hosting in the U.S. for some Canadian and European companies.

“We’ll put this Dr. Strangelove style building to profitable use, while incorporating the latest technologies and best practices for our customers in North America and Europe,” said Self.

Among the services Bastionhost envisions is "hot parking" for data center containers in a facility that offers hookups for water, power and network and a sheltered storage environment.

Bastionhost did not disclose how much it was paying for the bunker in Debert, Nova  Scotia. Local media reports indicate the building has been assessed at $290,000.

"We are quite pleased with this deal," said Alan Johnson, spokesman for the Colchester Regional Development Agency, who said it cost about $60,000 a year to maintain the bunker.


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