Data centers use a massive amount of energy. In response to demands for a greener internet, a growing number of data centers are going underground, making them more energy efficient.. not to mention nuke-proof. Assuming a continuous energy supply, “data bunkers” like these will keep the internet running no matter what. Not even a nuclear explosion, a zombie invasion, or Lamar Smith could stop the internet from ticking in these energy-efficient, ultra-secure data centers.
Green Mountain Data Center in Norway
Green Mountain claims to be the greenest data center in the world with no carbon footprint. It uses renewable hydroelectric energy for power, and water from a nearby fjord for cooling, giving it an impressive power usage effectiveness (PEU) of 1.2. PEU is a ratio of total facility power (including cooling and lighting) divided by IT equipment power. An ideal PEU is therefore 1.0, whereas the average is 1.8, according to the Uptime Institute. In other words, non-IT equipment uses nearly as much power as the IT equipment. On top of energy efficiency, the data center’s location in an old munitions storage site offers protection from electromagnetic pulses, fire, and anything an army of roving undead would have to throw at it. The center also has a high level of redundancy and 8 independent generators, which would ensure that the cloud survives just about anything.
Pionen Data Center in Stockholm, Sweden
If there ever is a nuclear winter, you can bet that WikiLeaks will hear of it first. They host their data in the Pionen Data Center, originally built in 1943 as a command center in the White Mountains of Sweden and converted to a data center in 2007. Pionen is not just bullet proof—it’s hydrogen bomb proof. A single entrance tunnel and a 40-centimeter-thick armored door would keep the zombie hoards at bay. Meanwhile, inside, the data center is kept cool by an environmentally friendly cooling system that utilizes the chill mountain air and local water systems to cool the center.
Iron Mountain’s Room 48 Data Center in Boyers, USA
More than 200 feet down, inside a former limestone mine, the facility that now houses the data center known as Room 48 was used in the 1950s to secure important government paper documents from the threat of nuclear attack. To save energy on cooling, Room 48 uses overhead ducts instead of floor heating that work on the simple principle that cool air sinks. Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge claims Room 48’s cooling system allows it to save some $1.7 million annually. That’s more than enough to allow Iron Mountain to stock up on anti-zombie munitions.
InfoBunker Data Center near Des Moines, USA
All of InfoBunker’s critical infrastructure, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is housed within the underground space of the bunker, surrounded nonetheless by a foot-thick concrete wall and steel doors. Similarly impenetrable emergency generators assure that the center can function off the grid. As if being underground in an old air force bunker weren’t secure enough, InfoBunker has a collection of extra-secure vaults (think: Ocean’s Eleven). According to Tim Greene of NetworkWorld, InfoBunker is “shielded from electromagnetic pulses, features isolation pads to shield equipment from shocks, stores enough diesel fuel for six days and 17,000 gallons of fresh water reserves.” On top of all this security badassery, InfoBunker maintains an average PUE of just 1.38.
Swiss Fort Knox
If Swiss banks are any indication, the Swiss are good at locking up other people’s valuables in ultra-secure vaults. The Swiss Fort Knox data center, a repurposed 1960s Cold War bunker, takes cyber security to an almost ridiculous extreme. The data center’s first layer of defense in case of war or battles against the undead is the very mountain beneath which it’s buried. Inside of the mountain, the data center is equipped with supplies, making the data center self-sufficient for a time if it ever needs to seal itself off from the rest of the world. The mountain rock, separately locking security layers, and explosion-proof bulkheads shield the data center from nukes, chemical attacks, and electromagnetic pulses. A subterranean lake under the mountain provides sabotage-proof cooling and an alternative to energy-intensive air conditioning.
Subtech Data Center in Kansas City, USA
Like Pionen and Swiss Fort Knox, Subtech is underground, which reduces the energy needed to cool the equipment. The center has a PUE of 1.5. But Subtech is anything but isolated. It’s part of the world’s largest underground business complex, SubTropolis, located in Kansas City. So, in a post-apocolyptic scenario, Kansas City could become the new Zion from the Matrix. Scary as that may sound, survivors will have high-speed internet access, protected by solid subterranean limestone walls.
More Energy-Efficient Data Centers
These are some of the coolest energy-efficient, nuke-proof data centers on Earth, but they’re not the only ones. By using variable speed drives, among other things, data center operators can do to reduce energy costs, whether they’re under ground or above. Contact a data center expert about substation efficiency, variable speed drives, and monitoring utility rates to learn even more.
Gavin blogs from Zurich, Switzerland. His day job is Digital Media Communications Manager for ABB. Previously, he lived and worked in South Korea, blogging, editing and freelance writing for Green Options and PV Magazine. Gavin's favorite environmental work has included: co-founding the grassroots Nature Conservation Club at about age 8; interning for the Jane Goodall Insitute's Roots & Shoots (R&S) program; representing R&S at the World Social Forum VI in Caracas, Venezuela; volunteering at the Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito; being a research assistant for a CAL lab studying climate change in Colorado; bicycling lots.