While every data center takes security seriously, some facilities take the concept of physical security to another level. Over the last two decades, a number of unique data centers have emerged to capture the public imagination with their novel approaches to protecting customer data and IT assets. Many of these data centers are situated in unique locations that allow them to implement even more stringent physical and logical security measures.
Although it looks like something out of a Cold War spy movie, Bahnhof’s Pionen White Mountains facility in Stockholm really was built to withstand a nuclear war. A former nuclear bunker, the facility lies 100 feet underground and can operate on a backup power supply provided by a pair of diesel submarine engines. A 40-cm thick steel door provides the only way in or out of the facility, further enhancing its reputation for data center security. In fact, the facility was so secure, it once served as the colocation facility for Wikileaks’ servers.
Situated almost 100 feet below ground in a series of vaults designed to protect against nuclear, biological, and chemical attack, The Bunker originally served as a radar facility for the Royal Air Force during the Cold War. Heavy blast doors protect server rooms, and the generators on-site can provide power for up to three months in the event of a power grid failure. It doesn’t hurt that the data center’s security measures play up its military origins, surrounding the grounds with barbed wire and patrolling the grounds with attack dogs to make unauthorized visitors think twice about approaching.
Green Mountain’s DC-1 Stavanger data center is located in a highly-secure bunker that once served as a NATO ammunition storage facility. Buried 1,150 feet beneath a mountain, the facility is protected from radiation and electromagnetic pulses that could potentially disrupt electronic equipment. Built to military specifications, DC-1 is accessible only by tunnels that run deep underground and is protected by 50 cm thick steel blast doors. In addition to being one of the world’s most secure facilities, DC-1 is also one of the cleanest. It uses cold water from a local fjord to provide cooling and relies on hydroelectric power for its primary energy needs. An innovative facility, this data center makes the most of its unique location.
Located in a former military bunker beneath a mountain deep within the Swiss Alps, Mount 10’s super secure data center is widely known as the Swiss Fort Knox. Setting aside the difficult terrain an intruder would have to cross to reach the facility, servers and other assets are protected by a complicated system of tunnels riddled with physical security checkpoints, biometric scanners, and extensive camera surveillance. Oh, and then there’s the 3.5-ton steel door that can be closed from offsite to protect the heart of the facility. Swiss Fort Knox has enough power and supplies to operate autonomously for several weeks and features an air-cleaning system to defend against biochemical-based terror attacks.
Easily the most unusual data center in the world, Microsoft’s Natick data center isn’t impressive from the outside. The facility is little more than a 40-foot long cylinder loaded with a mere 12 racks containing a total of 864 servers and their necessary cooling infrastructure. But it’s not the construction that makes Natick so unique; it’s the fact that the facility is located at the bottom the sea off the coast of Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Part of Microsoft’s ongoing research into underwater data centers, Natick is designed to be completely autonomous and deployed for several years at a time. Once submerged, the facility is completely inaccessible, making it perhaps the most secure data center location on the planet.
While having a data center in a nuclear bunker may sound exciting, the truth is that conventional colocation data centers adhere to impressive security standards that are more than sufficient for most businesses. By deploying a combination of physical and logical security measures, these facilities can help companies protect against internal and external threats.