World’s Coolest Datacenter

Ever since coming to work at UC Santa Cruz, I have been feeling pretty lucky to work in a well engineered and managed datacenter. So lucky, in fact, that I’ve been cultivating hatred towards me in my former coworkers by regaling them with stories about how wonderfully designed everything is here. The problem with thinking you have it made though, is that someone will always point out some greener grass in another field.

This is exactly what happened when I saw this article about the Pionen datacenter, owned by Bahnhof in Sweden. Located nearly 100 feet beneath the city of Stockholm, this epic datacenter has been compared (fairly I might add) to the secret layer of a James Bond villian. It’s got backup power provided by twin submarine engines, triple-redundant internet backbone connections, and can reportedly stand up to a Hydrogen bomb. We spend so much time and effort trying to make our servers comfortable when designing datacenters, we often forget about the Human element. Even though these guys are literally working in a cave, it’s nice to see that Bahnhof is trying to make its people comfortable as well.

Sun Project Blackbox – Datacenter in a Can

Lots of small companies want to hire an IT department in a can… You know, the ones who hire only one person to run their Linux servers, code their websites, architect their networks, support their users and order more printer toner. It’s a hard job, but it’s pretty common to see them advertised. What I never dreamed I would see is an entire data center in a can… Literally, in a can… Or at least a shipping container, which is really not that far off.

Leave it to Sun though. Not only have they packed an entire datacenter into a shipping container, they have packed a really good datacenter into a shipping container. Complete with integrated power, cooling, fire suppression, cable managment and redundant everything, this little server room-in-a-box has it all. They even showed off how tough it is by putting it through an earthquake!

All told, I really like the idea of my brand new datacenter rolling in on the back of a tractor-trailer truck. It kinda reminds me of the setup the bad guys had in latest Die Hard movie. I just hope nobody buys one and hires only one person to run it.