Sweden’s Ultra-Modern Underground Data Center

November 16, 2008

Underneath Stockholm, deep in the bedrock exists a data center better than any high tech lair Hollywood could probably dream up. Bahnhof, one of Sweden’s largest ISP’s has created a bunker of high tech goodness that is surely to astound.

The facility is called Pionen and once you get past the 16 inch thick entrance doors into the once nuclear bunker now converted to a data center, the spectacular sights that await are simply breathtaking. Replete with waterfalls, greenhouses, German submarine backup engines, and simulated daylight this facility has the added benefit of being able to withstand an almost direct hit by a hydrogen bomb.

The space Pionen now occupies was originally built during the Cold War era as a nuclear shelter. Located below 30 meters of solid bedrock the space was completely redesigned during 2007-2008. Now Boasting 11,950 sq ft of space it houses the Network Operations Center (NOC) for all of Bahnhof’s operations. One of five data centers, it is the largest and is manned by a 15 member team of senior technical staff.

Backup power is generated by two Maybach MTU diesel engines that produce 1.5 Megawatts of power and were originally designed for submarines. The cooling is handled by “Baltimore Aircoil fans producing a cooling effect of 1.5 megawatts” which is enough to cool several hundred rack-mounted servers.

Triple redundant internet backbone pipes are split across fiber and copper and delivered via multiple physical paths into the mountain.

When asked the motivation behind Pionen, Jon Karlung, CEO of Bahnhof said “Rather than just concentrating on technical hardware we decided to put humans in focus. 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.”

“Since we got hold of this unique nuclear bunker in central Stockholm deep below the rock, we just couldn’t’t build it like a traditional – more boring – hosting center,” he said. “We wanted to make something different. The place itself needed something far out in design and science fiction was the natural source of inspiration in this case – plus of course some solid experience from having been a hosting provider for more than a decade.”

Regarding the design of the facility, he said “I’m personally a big fan of old science fiction movies. Especially ones from the 70s like Logan’s Run, Silent Running, Star Wars (especially The Empire Strikes Back) so these were an influence,“ said Karlung. “James Bond movies have also had an impact on the design. I was actually looking for the same outfit as the villain ‘Blofeld’ in Bond and even considered getting a white cat, but that might have been going a bit far!”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: