Six extreme datacenter locations

A look at some of the more unusual datacenter locations around the world

From the South Pole and nuclear bunkers to flotillas and particle accelerators, servers are everywhere. Here are a few of the unusual places you can find data centers around the world.

Going underground

Underground data centers — both in naturally occurring caves and man-made mines  — are becoming increasingly common. Iron Mountain runs a 1.7 million-square-foot site in a former Limestone mine in western Pennsylvania, while SubTropolis is another Limestone-based site just outside Kansas City. In Asia, Sun Microsystems created a data center within a 100-metre-deep coal mine in the Chubu region on Japan’s Honshu Island.

In Europe, the Lefdal mine datacentre is a 1.3 million-square-foot space built from a site previously used to mine for the mineral olivine. We talked to the site’s owners about the challenges of turning a mine within a mountain into prime hosting space.

Over the last few years, Iceland and Northern Europe have become a hotbed of naturally cooled data centers that use the ice-cold Fjords to reduce their Carbon Footprint. However, sometimes the local geography can get a bit hot and filled with magma. Verne Global’s datacenter in Iceland makes use of the geothermic activity in the area, and it’s also volcano-proof.

Mighty military

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