Web Culture

Inside 5 Of The World’s Biggest Data Centers [Stats & Pics]

Joel Lee 10-08-2012

data center picturesHave 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

data center pictures

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

data center pics

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

data center pics


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

data center pics

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

data center pictures


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.

Image Credit: Server Rack Via Shutterstock, NAP of the Americas Via Terremark [Broken URL Removed], Lakeside Technology Center Via Data Center Knowledge


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  1. GrrGrrr
    August 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    nice informative post

    btw- there is nothing special for Bangalore based data center wrt security. It is a common norm here.

  2. sonnylim
    August 16, 2012 at 11:51 am


  3. Michael Leung
    August 16, 2012 at 7:10 am

    No China in the list?

  4. Aaron Hill
    August 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I would have thought Google would be listed, but I guess not.

  5. Sriram Gopalakrishnan
    August 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Wow India in one of the top 5..................

  6. Tyler Caudle
    August 12, 2012 at 2:39 am

    OVH on of frances largest ISP's and cloud providers is in the process of building what many consider to be the worlds largest datacenter. I've read that OVH expects that when their new datacenter is finished it could house up to 300,000 servers. The data center is partially finished and currently houses 120,000 servers. The datacenter gets 120 megawatts of power from a nearby hydroelectric dam.



  7. Bruce Thomas
    August 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    It must be kind of creepy working in such large facilities with little noise (or a constant humming) and few people. It would make an interesting setting for a novel.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 12, 2012 at 6:36 am

      "The Horror Fundamentals of A Data Center" maybe :) It definitely has to be a horror novel combined with a hacker one.

  8. Âdil Farôôq
    August 11, 2012 at 10:11 am

    really informative post

  9. Elijah Swartz
    August 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I'm surprised not to see any big ones from China, Russia, or Europe.

    • Kevin Hong
      August 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

      Well for China and Russia, they could tell you the locations. But then they may have to silence you.

      I kid, I kid. They'll just kill you.

      • Saikat Basu
        August 12, 2012 at 6:35 am

        Well, whenever China and Russia build something, they follow a simple rule - Build More...and Build Big! :)

    • Saikat Basu
      August 12, 2012 at 6:34 am

      In 2011, China-based Range Technology, announced plans to build the world’s largest data center. Construction on what will be a 6.2-million-square-foot facility is under way and should be completed in 2016.

      • Joel Lee
        August 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm

        6.2 million? Holy moly. It just boggles my mind to imagine all of the network cables, server racks, and air conditioning that would be needed in a place as large as that!

        • Saikat Basu
          August 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm

          I think IBM is involved in that project. It will be a mini-city I guess.

  10. Shakirah Faleh Lai
    August 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Do data center accept visitors?

    • Karl Couvillon
      August 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      The last one I worked for didn't even want its own employees on the floor that much. Most cabling and provisioning work is handled by the few people on site.

    • Joel Lee
      August 11, 2012 at 3:57 am

      The larger the data center, the more difficult it will be to schedule a tour, let alone just walk through unattended. Data centers handle huge amounts of traffic. If a lone visitor caused an accident somewhere, the resulting damage could cost millions or even billions of dollars. It's just so risky.

      With that said, Tulip Data City allowed visitors with the condition that security guards accompany you at all times. For the others, I'm not sure.

      • kunal chopra
        August 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm

        sorry to interrupt !!!
        but may i know, what actually these data centres are supposed to do .....i mean what exactly they do....

        • Joel Lee
          August 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

          Happy to answer your question. Basically, data centers are massive buildings filled with nothing but computers, computers, and more computers. These computers are all networked together and can be used for a number of different operations--data storage, web hosting, network routing, and more.

        • kunal chopra
          August 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

          wow !! so easy to understand....
          thanks sir...

  11. Topher Pettit
    August 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    No earthquakes in Nevada? The state of Nevada is the third highest amount of earthquakes (behind California and Alaska) and living in Vegas, the news always reminds us after any major earthquake somewhere else on Earth that we have major fault lines under that Vegas valley and to allows be stocked in case of the large one. I have also gone through a minor quake here (just enough to sway ceiling fans and water in a glass). It's no Los Angeles or San Francisco area, but there are risks of earthquakes.