Have you ever wondered just how big the Internet is? After all, more and more of our world’s information flow is traveling through computers and various networks. As such, the “data center” has become one of the most important aspects of our computer culture’s existence. Without it, we’d be plunged once again into a world of faces and physical contact.
Think of a data center as a gigantic PC café. Except all of the PCs are state-of-the-art server boxes. And there are no keyboards, mice, or monitors (save for the control room). Instead of relaxation and recreation, there are network administrators working their butts off to keep everything running. Also, did I mention that a data center could be the size of many football fields combined? Yeah, massive.
There are hundreds, even thousands, of data centers all over the world. But which ones are the biggest? After all, the bigger the data center, the more data can be processed and stored. Size does matter, so get out your rulers and follow me as we take a look at the world’s 5 largest data centers.
#5. NAP of the Americas in Miami, USA
The NAP of the Americas is Terremark’s flagship facility and it was specifically designed to link Latin America to the rest of the world in terms of networking. It doesn’t hurt that it’s located in Miami either since Miami has been consistently ranked as one of the top five cities in the world with regard to interconnectedness. The significance of the NAP of the Americas as a telecommunications project isn’t to be underrated.
Completed in 2001, this data center measures in at 750,000 square feet. Due to its location, it is fortified and built–with 7-inch steel-concrete panels no less–to withstand the forces of a Category 5 hurricane.
#4: Tulip Data City in Bangalore, India
In February 2012, Tulip Telecom officially opened a new data center in India. The focus for this project was efficiency. Today, it is the greenest and most power efficient data center in all of India. Technologically, the Tulip Data City primarily functions as a center for cloud services, but is also used for colocation, managed hosting, and data storage.
Tulip Data City measures in at an impressive 900,000 square feet, qualifying it as the largest data center in all of Asia. Security around the data center is tight as well, defended by a 10-feet stone wall with an additional 4-feet electric fence. Visitors are required to pass through metal detectors and explosives sniffers and they must be accompanied by security at all times.
#3. QTS Metro Data Center in Atlanta, USA
Built in 2006, the QTS Metro Data Center measures in at 970,000 square feet, barely keeping it ahead over the newly built Tulip Data City. The building is powered by an on-site Georgia substation that has 80 megawatts of power capacity. With a data center this large, there’s little choice for any other option.
#2. Lakeside Technology Center in Chicago, USA
Owned by Digital Realty Trust and built in 1999, the Lakeside Technology Center was and remains one of the largest telecommunications hubs in the world, measuring in at a hefty 1,100,000 square feet. An interesting distinguishing point for this data center is that it uses an 8.5 million gallon tank of liquid to facilitate cooling.
#1. SwitchNAP in Las Vegas, USA
The SwitchNAP, owned by Switch Communications, is actually a group of seven NAPs in the Las Vegas Valley. The largest of these is NAP7, also known as the SuperNAP. More NAPs are being designed. Located in the Nevada desert, SwitchNAP is extremely secure in that the area has no risk of natural disaster–including tornados, earthquakes, or tsunamis.
This network of NAPs measures in at 2,200,000 square feet, approximately twice the size of the second largest data center. Switch’s data centers are all built to a high standard and utilize the Switch Wattage Density Modular Design (WDMD), which allows complete control over the heat produced by the data center’s equipment.
What do you think? Are these data centers impressive or what? Personally, it’s hard for me to even fathom the size and magnitude of these buildings. How many servers are in there, lined up from wall to wall? I’ll never know! Share your thoughts in the comments.