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Data Storage Security

New Datacenter In Underground Lair 109

lobo235 writes to tell us that a new underground data center designed by Sweden's largest ISP is fit for a classic supervillain, complete with greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb. "'Rather than just concentrating on technical hardware we decided to put humans in focus,' he said. 'Of course, the security, power, cooling, network, etc, are all top notch, but the people designing data centers often (always!) forget about the humans that are supposed to work with the stuff.'"
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New Datacenter In Underground Lair

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  • Hm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by pwnies ( 1034518 ) * <> on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:02PM (#25766061) Homepage Journal

    For a pleasant working environment the data center has simulated daylight, greenhouses, waterfalls and a huge 2600-liter salt water fish tank.

    That's quite the fish tank... large enough for certain carnivorous, cartilanginous fish...

    Backup power is handled by two Maybach MTU diesel engines producing 1.5 Megawatt of power.

    Goodness that's a lot of power, certainly more than a standard set of servers would need. Why, with all that extra electricity you could probably power several deadly lase...OHMYGODWHAT HAVE WE LET THEM CREATE?!?

    • Re:Hm.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ironwill96 ( 736883 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:10PM (#25766129) Homepage Journal

      At it only cost ONE......Million Dollars!

      • Is anyone else reminded of the aspirations of John Galt by this?
        • Not especially - Hagbard Celine is a far better protagonist.
    • Re:Hm.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by CaptainPatent ( 1087643 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:10PM (#25766133) Journal


      Begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism!

    • Re:Hm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:23PM (#25766251) Journal

      That's quite the fish tank... large enough for certain carnivorous, cartilanginous fish...

      2600 L?

      That's nothing. 1L = 1 dM^3 ... cube root of 2600 is about 13.75... we're talking about a cube about 4' x 4' x 4'.

      Carnivorous, cartilaginous fish? I think not. Perhaps they have room for some undersize ill-tempered sea bass.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Have to wonder if it will be a new home for The Pirate Bay. Fish tank, greenhouses and all well underground. Wonder if that would give the MAFIAA nightmares?

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        those cowards. does TPB really think that shielding themselves with 30m of bedrock and hiding beneath the city of Stockholm will stop the RIAA/MPAA from nuking them off the face of the planet?

        if the war on Iraq has taught us anything, it's that such spineless tactics do not work on Americans. we'll destroy the enemy no matter how much collateral damage it might cause. a few hospitals and water processing plants are a small price to pay to defeat the terrorists. and music/movie pirates are certainly terroris

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dargon ( 105684 )

      Hmm, lasers for the datacenter, i think these will do fine. []

      • So you weren't the only one to think of the solid state lasers came out just in time. portable defense systems. now they just need to add motion targeting to track intruders.

    • by backtick ( 2376 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @07:08PM (#25766639) Homepage Journal

      *NOTE: I design and build data centers for a for-profit company, so I'm biased, but at least educated *grin**

      The entire facility is 12K square feet. The DC portion looks like it's around half of it, unless they meant in the description it's 12K square feet of data center space. If so, that's only 1,500 kW to power both the load *and* the HVAC/support gear, unless they're requiring *both* generators to run w/o any 'N+1' unit, and if they're burying their HVAC towers (BAC was mentioned in the article at 1.5 MW of cooling, or roughly a maximum of 425 tons). At your best, you can get a 60:40 ratio since they're underground and have to exhaust heat. Even assuming they can use outdoor cold air in a heat exchanger setup or geothermal cooling w/ groundwater, they won't break 80:20, just due to UPS inefficiencies and air *movement*. So, 1500 kW * .80 = 1200 kW of power to the load side at peak. That's only 100 watts/ft^2. That's pretty low density, really.

      Why do I say that? I'm opening new 'small' data centers at 10,000 square feet of raised floor at a time per room, and we build them out to much higher densities of 150+ watts/ft^2. In a recent design, we're putting in a usable total of ~2 MW of UPS in for 10K square feet, and that means we eat another good chunk of power for the ~600 tons of HVAC that requires to exhaust the heat (3x300 ton chillers and several generators that carry different parts of the load). You can very quickly look at a DC even as 'small' as 10-12K square feet and see 3-4 MW of raw utility power being consumed (at peak load when the place is finished out).

      BTW, I don't do this for google's stacks of 'homebrew racks' or Microsoft's blade servers or those research center folks that user Beowulf's or Cray's superdense supercomputer apps; mine are normal production centers full of a mix of customer gear like Dells, and IBM and HP and Cisco and Sun and various SANs. And that stuff is breaking 150-200 watts^ft2 these days when packed into standard cabinets and fully populated.

      So, that's a neat idea, but I hope that it's going to bill a pretty penny as it doesn't sound cheap to have built. That said, it LOOKS like a cool place to work, so long as they don't run out of money :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Hey, it's Sweden's largest ISP. The entire population of Sweden is under 10 million. How big a data center do they need?

      • Have you considered that they might be building it with DC power for the data units?
        No transformers in every device SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the heat load, also makes the racks creepy-quiet.

        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          No transformers in every device SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the heat load, also makes the racks creepy-quiet.

          DC powered data centers still have the transformers. What they lack is the extra rectification or power factor correction step in the distributed line power supplies.

          Since all of the power is ultimately still being turned into heat, the increased power supply efficiency only has a small effect on cooling requirements.

        • No transformers in every device SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the heat load, also makes the racks creepy-quiet.

          Mmm. So you might want a decent sound system down there to stop the total silence being too distracting.

          And the contrast between the "daylight" light-sources and the more distant dark walls and ceiling is a bit harsh. If they're not whitewashing the walls, I think they need some sort of light-scattering system to reduce the contrast. It's difficult to judge how well the photographed image corresponds t

      • If it's 100ft underground, that suggests the possibility of passive convection cooling. If you have separated air intake and outlet shafts (or divide a single shaft), then you could bring the fresh air in under the floor panels, and have warm air leaving the server regions, passing the fishtanks, and heading back up the shaft. Keeps the tunnels nice and cosy.

        I don't know what sort of updraft you get with a 100-foot column of warm air, but the suction might be quite significant. The more heat you generate

  • Lunar colonies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:09PM (#25766121) Homepage
    These will be the sort of projects that will provide the engineering knowhow to build actual lunar colonies.
    Search Multiple Craigslist communities from one Place: []
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      not sustainable self-enclosed ecosystems, which is really what we need.

    • Re:Lunar colonies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tgd ( 2822 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @07:07PM (#25766637)

      Um. Its a hole in the ground with stuff brought in through a tunnel that they ordered online and crap like that.

      There's no radiation. No 250,000 mile trip to get there. No soul sucking vacuum outside. No corrosive, likely cancer causing dust. No gravity well to get out of or back into.

      Building that provides as much engineering know-how related to moon colonies as the Lincoln Log houses I built as a 3 year old.

    • Not really - as other than cool decor, this is a pretty pedestrian data center in a pretty pedestrian hole in the ground. High tech circa 1968 and absolutely not groundbreaking in any way.

  • You Fools! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:10PM (#25766139) Homepage Journal

    and just for fun the people at Pionen have also installed the warning system (sound horns) from the original German submarine.

    Sorry, but if i'm in an underground bunker designed to withstand a nuke, I would not think it very fun to have sound horns start blaring unexpectedly (as I run down the hallway screaming "you fools! you blew it all up!").

  • by e9th ( 652576 )
    I hope they didn't furnish it from IKEA so it looks like a weird subterranean college dorm.
    • Actually, that's why they went underground: they found out all the ikea servers []... though slick looking, functional, and high performance.... broke within one year and pretty much crap when it came to repairing.
  • SWITCH []

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:15PM (#25766179) Homepage

    Take a look at these pictures of the Aspidistra transmitter [] in Britain. Art deco design, curved chrome, indirect lighting, and parquet floors, all in an underground bunker. This was the 500KW transmitter used to break in on German radio stations and create the illusion of a local station within Germany.

    The transmitter was purchased from RCA, and the Radio City design made it all the way to Sussex.

  • Mmmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by thewils ( 463314 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:17PM (#25766195) Journal

    Does it come complete with blond Swedish henchwoman too?

  • Rendered Photo's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ironicsky ( 569792 )

    Its too bad they didn't use actual pictures. It looks completely rendered.
    Especially the last one of the power switches

    Cool concept though if it is indeed real.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      um, the images may have been cleaned up in Photoshop (just as most publicity/PR/ad photos and are), but they certainly aren't rendered. you need to get your eyes checked.

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:23PM (#25766245) Journal

    Until they get half-pony half-monkey monsters and hordes of hungry wolves all over the grounds.

    Trust me, I have this on good authority. []

  • wait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:23PM (#25766247) Homepage Journal

    not to throw cold water on this idea (pun intended), but a waterfall creates mist

    furthermore, a warm saltwater aquarium, with all of the agitation to keep the fish alive = saltwater mist

    hmm, mist + server components (or worse, saltwater mist + server components) = BZZZZT

    of course you could put an airlock and dehumidifiers in the server area, but thats a lot of extra expense

    but hell, i think when you faithfully recreate a supervillain's lair, you're not exactly worried about being green or saving on power consumption

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What do you mean "you *could* create an airlock". Any server room worth paying to build or rent a rack in is going to have doors resembling an airlock (not air tight), and positive pressure on the inside that will keep moisture out. Complete with antistatic mats/pads and some of those nice sticky pads immediately outside the door to clean your shoes off.

      If you don't feel a blast of air in your face when you open the door to get to the server, they've built it abnormally (and probably wrong). I've even se

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Salt water that evaporates does not evaporate into "salt mist". If not, we would have a lot of salty rain.

      There is a certain level of humidity in all data centers. It should probably be kept stable at a reasonable level.

      • you can smell the salt

        there most definitely is such a thing as saltwater mist. sea spray from waves crashing on rocks drifts. salt collects on land near the ocean from the mist, making agirculture difficult except for salt hardy plants. iron implements are known to rust faster near the seashore due to the increase incorrosion from saltwater mist

        anything that can be dissolved in water can become a mist if agitated

        educate yourself

    • if you read the article and looked at the maps, the waterfalls and fish tank are in the entrance hallway and conference room, and the mist generator is in one of the greenrooms/monitoring rooms. The humidity features are where the *people* are, not where the servers are. The servers are off in another giant room, on the other side of what I would presume to be airtight doors.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:24PM (#25766261) Homepage Journal
    There's something terribly wrong with me when the first think I think of when seeing those photos are the lair of Diabolik.


  • Not largest ISP (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:26PM (#25766279)

    Bahnhof isn't Sweden's largest ISP. The Largest ISP in Sweden would be TeliaSonera.

    They're not even in the top 3.

  • Evil... (Score:4, Funny)

    by mediis ( 952323 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:28PM (#25766295)
    That really makes me want to become an EVIL Unix Admin instead of just a normal Unix Admin. I feel the sudden urge for world domination. Um Bork Bork Bork.

    Mom! Christmas Present!

    {collapses, quivering}

  • The facility may be real (I'm in no position to say otherwise) but with the possible exception of the last one the "photos" look rendered.

    I could be wrong. Just saying.

    • by stjobe ( 78285 )

      Oh it's real. I used to walk by it every day to and from work when they were building it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by stjobe ( 78285 )

        Sorry about replying to myself, but I thought a video of the construction might alleviate Spazmanias fear of hoaxes:
        mms:// (sound in Swedish).

    • it's just the gel lighting.
  • by __aagctu1952 ( 768423 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:40PM (#25766407)

    This is the same ISP that started a campaign for privacy certification [] of ISPs and that's fought tooth and nail against Lex Orwell [] - from general advertising/campaigning to releasing a public awareness-raising (open source) Firefox plugin [] to stating that they will flat-out refuse to comply with any official wiretapping request []. (Swedish-only links I'm afraid)

    They might actually need their bunker, with the way this country is going...

  • Downside (Score:3, Funny)

    by zentinal ( 602572 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:43PM (#25766429) Homepage
    True, it does look sweet, however, in order to work there you'll have to wear a standard issue henchman uniform.
    Like this - []
    Or this - []
    Perhaps even - []
  • I like the original look better.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) *
    Why humanize it? The best data centers are dark. Open them up once in a while for a maintenance monkey to swap hard drives in exchange for bananas, and call it a day. Why do they care if the monkey gets to look at a fish tank in between hard drive changes?
    • Better service. They're creating an environment where the monkeys will want to work at and keep in good condition. Those will be very well maintained and optimized servers. There's more to managing a data center than simply swapping hard drives.
  • Just remember.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Friday November 14, 2008 @06:53PM (#25766519)

    Stay out of Power Dome A [] unless you've learned Old Magic [] from your local exterminator [].

  • by Jodka ( 520060 )

    Their data survives a global nuclear war but your customers do not. What is the point of that? Are there people out there who care that after they and EVERYONE THEY KNOW are vaporized that their blog and bank records are still accessible online? Is that something you look for in a data storage center when shopping for that service?

    That real estate could be put to much better use by storing things which could help mankind rebuild civilization after a global catastrophe. Nuclear war, global pandemic, impa

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jedi Alec ( 258881 )

      Guess you haven't played Fallout 3 yet or you'd know that any stray equipment left after a nuclear war can be turned into an awesome weapon :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chyeld ( 713439 )

      You don't consider my porn collection to be of valuable use when the barbarians left alive from the Great War are trying to figure out what a Sybian or TENS unit was for? FOOL! They'll need study guides and inspiration if we truely want to repopulate the world.

    • Um, how about design blueprints? CAD files and the like? A copy of the Guttenberg Project and the Visible Human project? etc. etc. I could go on and on, but the point is that storing information through a global nuclear war is just as important as storing seeds.

      They'll justify operation costs through leasing server space to various businesses. But they justify their capital expenditures for the installation and upgrade through the disaster recovery and business continuity planning services they offe
  • This place is cool, so I checked out their (Swedish) website: []

    I don't speak Swedish, so a quick run through Google Translate solves that for me: []

    Now, though, I want to know where I get my hands on the wicked nail-filtering UPS!: []

  • Good, the AI needs a backup site where it can remain hidden when it begins the takeover of the world and elimination of the human scourge.
  • Some background info (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frehe ( 6916 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @08:29PM (#25767207)

    The datacenter is built in what was called Pionen; one of several now defunct wartime civil defense headquarters located underground in the Stockholm area. It was built in 1943, and modernized in the mid-1970s. It was meant to be a forward command post, built large enough to contain several rescue vehicles (fire trucks) in addition to the command and control functions, and despite the rumors, it's not capable of withstanding a direct hit from a non-tactical nuclear weapon.

    What would be really interesting is if someone bought the Muskö underground naval base and converted it into a datacenter, since that's a SIGNIFICANTLY larger underground structure (its underground area is approximately the same size as the whole of Gamla Stan in Stockholm).

    • agreed. this is totally lame. from the page itself:

      "Can withstand a hydrogen bomb: The bunker was designed to be able to withstand a near hit by a hydrogen bomb."

      That's near hit, not direct hit. I'm going to wait until they excavate a few hundred feet deeper and put the premium datacenter down there.

          - jonathan.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by frehe ( 6916 )

        These things did, and still do, make a difference from a military point of view, and military purposes was why the original structure was built in the first place.

        If I'm not mistaken, there are several underground military structures in Sweden broadly on the Stockholm - Oslo axis that should be highly suitable for datacenter use, but I'm not sure if they have all been decommissioned yet. This includes what is believed to be the main national military/civil wartime command center ("Riksbunkern"). Swedish sp

  • Sounds like someone took it a bit too seriously.
  • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 ) on Friday November 14, 2008 @11:23PM (#25768225)

    I like the ground fog in the pictures. It would certainly be amusing if they had those machines permanently installed, specially since it looks to be dry ice or CO2 based, that can get expensive.

    Hmmm.. I wonder if I can convince my boss thats what our office needs.

    • Of course - in an underground installation like this, dry ice or fog machines are often considered to be an essential safety component that lets you monitor airflow and immediately check that the ventilation systems are working properly. Large palm trees (with their swaying fronds) can perform a similar purpose. Ditto large fake spider-webs (theatrical suppliers offer a suitable "fake-web -spinning" device - ask your usual fog-machine supplier).

      This choice represents one of the most important initial desi

    • And when you drop a pen or some little godforsaken motherboard screw? Hold your breath, scrounge around in CO2 fog, surface, curse, repeat...
  • Dark, dark, dark. I look down those rows of cabinets and all I can think is how much I would hate to pull cables or install gear in them.
  • "We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom, freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for human pride as to be dominated by others of your species.

    "This concludes the broadcast from World Control."

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.