Saturday, August 1, 2009

List of all the Underground Data Center Bunker projects

Here’s a list of all the underground data bunker projects we’ve been tracking at Data Center Knowledge:

  • Bahnhof Pionen: Better known as the “James Bond Villain” data center, this former military bunker is 100 feet underneath Stockholm, Sweden and features waterfalls, greenhouse-style NOC, glass-enclosed conference room “floating” above the colocation floor, and blue-lit diesel engines.
  • SmartBunker is an ultra-secure data center located in a former NATO command bunker in Lincolnshire, UK. The power used within the 30,000 square feet data centre is generated entirely from wind energy. SmartBunker says it is the first UK facility with no carbon emissions.
  • The U.S. Secure Hosting Center is an underground colocation center in Iowa that hosts the web infrastrucutre for Wikia, one of the projects of the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Iron Mountain hosts data center operations for Marriott Corp. and other customers in its huge data storage facility located 220 feet underground in a limestone cave outside Pittsburgh. The 145-acre facility has its own fire company, water treatment plant and 24-hour security and maintenance force.
  • Montgomery Westland, previously known as the Westlin Bunker, operates 40,000 square feet of underground data center and office space in Montgomery, Texas. The facility was initially built by Ling-Chieh Kung, a nephew of Chiang Kai-shek and founder of Westlin Oil. Fearing a nuclear war, the reclusive Kung built a nuke-proof survival shelter.
  • The Mountain Complex is a disaster recovery data center in a former mine built into the side of a dolomite mountain in the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri. The facility houses backup data for thousands of financial institutions.
  • The SpringNet Underground is a 56,000 square foot data center located 85 feet underground in a limestone cave near Springfield, Missouri. The site hosts mission-critical patient data for a network of hospitals.
  • The Bunker is a 10-year old ultra-secure colo facility built in former nuclear bunkers in Newbury and Kent in the UK. The company, which houses many financial services clients, recently announced expansion plans.
  • The InfoBunker is a 65,000 square foot ultra-secure underground data center in Iowa, built in a decommissioned Air Force bunker designed to survive a 20-megaton nuclear explosion. It features three-foot thick cement walls and shielding to protect equipment from an electromagentic pulse (EMP).
  • Cavern Technologies operates a 200,000 square foot facility near Kansas City that is 125 feet underground.
  • Sun Microsystems is among the participants in an underground data centers in Japan’s Chubu region in which 30 Blackbox (Sun MD) data center container units will be installed in a a former coal mine located 100 meters under the ground.
  • BastionHost has purchased an former government continuity bunker in Nova Scotia as part of its plan to build a “Dataville” of data centers in the province.
    StrataSpace, a 500,000 square foot underground data center under development outside Louisville
  • PrairieBunkers is planning to convert up to 184 World War II ammunition bunkers in central Nebraska into data centers.
  • Mountains West Exploration plans to develop former military ammunition bunkers as ultra-secure storage.

Know of any underground data bunkers we’ve missed? Tell us about them in the comments.

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Underground Secure Data Center Operations

Technology based companies are building new data centers in old mines, caves, and bunkers to host computer equipment below the Earth's surface.

Underground Secure Data Center Operations have a upward trend.

Operations launched in inactive gypsum mines, caves, old abandoned coal mines, abandoned solid limestone mines, positioned deep below the bedrock mines, abandoned hydrogen bomb nuclear bunkers, bunkers deep underground and secure from disasters, both natural and man-made.

The facility have advantages over traditional data centers, such as increased security, lower cost, scalability and ideal environmental conditions. There economic model works, despite the proliferation of data center providers, thanks largely to the natural qualities inherent in the Underground Data Centers.

With 10,000, to to over a 1,000,000 square feet available, there is lots of space to be subdivided to accommodate the growth needs of clients. In addition, the Underground Data Centers has an unlimited supply of naturally cool, 50-degree air, providing the ideal temperature and humidity for computer equipment with minimal HVAC cost.

They are the most secure data centers in the world and unparalleled in terms of square footage, scalability and environmental control.

Yet, while the physical and cost benefits of being underground make them attractive, they have to also invested heavily in high-speed connectivity and redundant power and fiber systems to ensure there operations are not just secure, but also state-of-the-art.

There initially focused on providing disaster recovery solutions, and backup co-location services.

Clients lease space for their own servers, while other provides secure facilities, power and bandwidth. They offers redundant power sources and multiple high-speed Internet connections through OC connected to SONET ring linked to outside connectivity providers through redundant fiber cables.

Underground Data Centers company augments there core services to include disaster recovery solutions, call centers, NOC, wireless connectivity and more.

Strategic partnering with international, and national information technology company, enable them to offer technology solutions ranging from system design and implementation to the sale of software and equipment.

The natural qualities of the Underground Data Centers allow them to offer the best of both worlds premier services and security at highly competitive rates.

Underground Data Centers were established starting in 1990's but really came into there own after September 11 attacks in 2001 when there founders realized the former mines, and bunker offered optimal conditions for a data center. The mines, and bunkers offered superior environmental conditions for electronic equipment, almost invulnerable security and they located near power grids.

Adam Couture, a Mass.-based analyst for Gartner Inc. said Underground Data Centers could find a niche serving businesses that want to reduce vulnerability to any future attacks. Some Underground Data Centers fact sheet said that the Underground Data Center would protect the data center from a cruise missile explosion or plane crash.

Every company after September 11 attacks in 2001 are all going back and re-evaluating their business-continuity plans, This doesn't say everybody's changing them, but everybody's going back and revisiting them in the wake of what happened and the Underground Data Center may be just that.

Comparison chart: Underground data centers

Five facilities compared
Name InfoBunker, LLC The Bunker Montgomery Westland Cavern Technologies Iron Mountain The Underground
Location Des Moines, Iowa* Dover, UK Montgomery, Tex. Lenexa, Kan. Butler County, Penn.*
In business since 2006 1999 2007 2007 Opened by National Storage in 1954. Acquired by Iron Mountain 1998.
Security /access control Biometric; keypad; pan, tilt and zoom cameras; door event and camera logging CCTV, dogs, guards, fence Gated, with access control card, biometrics and a 24x7 security guard Security guard, biometric scan, smart card access and motion detection alarms 24-hour armed guards, visitor escorts, magnetometer, x-ray scanner, closed-circuit television, badge access and other physical and electronic measures for securing the mine's perimeter and vaults
Distance underground (feet) 50 100 60 125 220
Ceiling height in data center space (feet) 16 12 to 50 10 16 to 18 15 (10 feet from raised floor to dropped ceiling)
Original use Military communications bunker Royal Air Force military bunker Private bunker designed to survive a nuclear attack. Complex built in 1982 by Louis Kung (Nephew of Madam Chang Kai Shek) as a residence and headquarters for his oil company, including a secret, 40,000 square foot nuclear fallout shelter. The office building uses bulletproof glass on the first floor and reception area and 3-inch concrete walls with fold-down steel gun ports to protect the bunker 60 feet below. Limestone mine originally developed by an asphalt company that used the materials in road pavement Limestone mine
Total data center space (square feet) 34,000 50,000 28,000 plus 90,000 of office space in a hardened, above-ground building. 40,000 60,000
Total space in facility 65,000 60,000 28,000 3 million 145 acres developed; 1,000 acres total
Data center clients include Insurance company, telephone company, teaching hospital, financial services, e-commerce, security
monitoring/surveillance, veterinary, county government
Banking, mission critical Web applications, online trading NASA/T-Systems, Aker Solutions, Continental Airlines, Houston Chronicle, Express Jet Healthcare, insurance, universities, technology, manufacturing, professional services Marriott International Inc., Iron Mountain, three U.S. government agencies
Number of hosted primary or backup data centers 2 50+ 13 26 5
Services offered Leased data center space, disaster recovery space, wholesale bandwidth Fully managed platforms, partly managed platforms, co-location Disaster recovery/business continuity, co-location and managed services Data center space leasing, design, construction and management Data center leasing, design, construction and maintenance services
Distance from nearest large city Des Moines, about 45 miles* Canterbury, 10 miles; London, 60 miles Houston, 40 miles Kansas City, 15 miles Pittsburgh, 55 miles
Location of cooling system, includng cooling towers Underground Underground Above and below ground. All cooling towers above ground in secure facility. Air cooled systems located underground. Cooling towers located outside
Chillers located above ground to take advantage of "free cooling." Pumps located underground.
Location of generators and fuel tanks Underground Above ground and below ground Two below ground, four above ground. All fuel tanks buried topside. Underground Underground
*Declined to cite exact location/disatance for security reasons.