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The world’s most super-designed data center – fit for a James Bond villain

This underground data center has greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb. It looks like the secret HQ of a James Bond villain.

And it is real. It is a newly opened high-security data center run by one of Sweden’s largest ISPs, located in an old nuclear bunker deep below the bedrock of Stockholm city, sealed off from the world by entrance doors 40 cm thick (almost 16 inches).

(For the curious there is plenty of more information further down.)


Above: The space-themed conference room is suspended about the server hall.


Above left: View from the conference room (its floor is the surface of the Moon). Above right: Power equipment.


Above: The NOC is set in a cozy jungle setting. That light fog almost makes us think of cloud computing. Fog computing? :)


Above: Artificial waterfalls and plenty of green plants adorn the halls.


Above left: The submarine engines used for backup power. Above right: Another view of the power equipment.


Above: This map shows the layout of the data center. Original image courtesy of Albert France-Lanord Architects (Pingdom added the English translation).

And here is what it used to look like

Quite a difference, isn’t it? :)

Facts about the data center

  • Originally a nuclear bunker: The data center is housed in what was originally a military bunker and nuclear shelter during the Cold War era. The facility still has the code name from its military days: Pionen White Mountains.
  • Located in central Stockholm below 30 meters (almost 100 ft) of bedrock: The facility has 1110 sqm (11950 sq ft) of space and is located below 30 meters of solid bedrock (granite) right inside the city.
  • Fully redesigned in 2007-2008: Pionen was completely redesigned in 2007-2008 to become the data center that it is today. More than 4,000 cubic meters (141,300 cubic ft) of solid rock was blasted away to make more room.
  • Can withstand a hydrogen bomb: The bunker was designed to be able to withstand a near hit by a hydrogen bomb.
  • Houses the Network Operations Center for one of Sweden’s largest ISPs: The bunker houses the NOC for all of Bahnhof’s operations. They have five data centers in Sweden, Pionen being the largest. The facility also acts as a co-location hosting center, so you can actually put your own servers here.
  • German submarine engines for backup power: Backup power is handled by two Maybach MTU diesel engines producing 1.5 Megawatt of power. The engines were originally designed for submarines, and just for fun the people at Pionen have also installed the warning system (sound horns) from the original German submarine.
  • 1.5 megawatt of cooling for the servers: Cooling is handled by Baltimore Aircoil fans producing a cooling effect of 1.5 megawatt, enough for several hundred rack-mounted units.
  • Triple redundancy Internet backbone access: The network has full redundancy with both fiber optics and extra copper lines with three different physical ways into the mountain. Pionen is one the best-connected places in northern Europe.
  • Work environment with simulated daylight and greenhouses: For a pleasant working environment the data center has simulated daylight, greenhouses, waterfalls and a huge 2600-liter salt water fish tank.
  • Staff: 15 employees, only senior technical staff, work full time in Pionen.

Breaking the mold and focusing on humans

We simply couldn’t resist the temptation to ask the people behind the Pionen data center what made them design such an insanely cool and unusual environment deep inside the bedrock of Stockholm.

Jon Karlung, CEO at Bahnhof (the ISP behind Pionen), was kind enough to take the time to speak to us here at Pingdom and explain their motivations.

“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.”

We suspected that the unique location itself must have been a big inspiration, something which Karlung confirms.

“Since we got hold of this unique nuclear bunker in central Stockholm deep below the rock, we just couldn’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.”

The visual inspiration

So, where to turn for visual inspiration? Apparently movies were the way to go for Pionen.

“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!”

The marketing aspect

The unique approach also helps the company to get the word out about their facility. It makes them stand out, and since the facility offers co-location hosting, they have customers who frequently visit the place and work there. These people share what they see with others.

“The unique design makes it a ‘talk about’ facility,” said Karlung.”If you have been inside Pionen you will for sure tell somebody else about it.”

Do you know of other awesome data centers?

We here at Pingdom always love it when people step up to the plate and do something different, like what Bahnhof has done with this awesome data center.

If you know of other data centers that are as super-designed and different as this one, please let us know in the comments since we would love to check them out. Links to pictures and information are always welcome!

A big thank you to Jon Karlung at Bahnhof for providing us with extra information and taking the time to answer all our questions. You can read more about the Pionen data center at the Bahnhof website (in Swedish, though).



131 comments
sohibsanamblog
sohibsanamblog

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sohibsanamblog
sohibsanamblog

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PepepiLosem
PepepiLosem

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Bozz
Bozz

@Yoda he's the one taking all the pictures.

maxmate
maxmate

wow,that's really great.

maxmate
maxmate

wow,that's really great.

jojo0102
jojo0102

The actual fast altering brides-to-be goes with regard to discount outfits 1 by 1. That is certainly wise to provide numerous buddies together to help all of them to consider Inexpensive Wedding gowns. The actual bride-to-be should be keen on the woman's option; although there isn't any reimbursement plan. Dresses can be found from these types of locations with regard to inexpensive prices.

Taran
Taran

These facts are really interesting.I don't know  that, great job .

marc11
marc11

good grief, haven't you ever heard of job satisfaction? And employee churn? You are obviously not an employer! Burying your most valuable senior employees under 100ft of rock all day requires something extra-special to keep them interested in their dayjob. Imagine telling somebody what your job is: Your version: I work in a dim, depressing alcove of rock surrounded by whirring, monotonous computers and a mess of cables. I would kill myself but I don't have the motivation. Their version: I work in an underground jungle, a fog-filled lost world, with the moon for a conference room, a giant fishtank and secretly I think there are evil henchmen guarding my servers. <a href="http://www.alquilerdeyatesenibiza.com"</a>.

Yoda
Yoda

Every James Bond villan had a cat. Where the cat?

0creditcards
0creditcards

My God, Han from "Enter The Dragon" should head the facility!

keith
keith

hi ref do you know of any other such data centres on that scail ! Ash east kent uk has submitted plans for a massive bunker upgrade.

Damien Storm
Damien Storm

Seems very reliable! Would host my websites at those guys in Sweden! thumbs up for the decorator!

Tiprox
Tiprox

Very cool, looks a bit like the underground bunker in the movie "Enter the Dragon" with Bruce Lee.

Alexey
Alexey

I wanna work there :)

nikki
nikki

WOW! Only thing missing was the bunnies featured on the cyberbunker site--genetically altered bunny henchmen! Who'd be ready for that one? : )

Cloud Computing Services
Cloud Computing Services

I really like 3rd image, cloud computing office or rather say it as fog office, thanks for sharing this unique pictures.

Efrat
Efrat

wow! thats cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

gpappy
gpappy

Where's my freaking sharks with lasers on their heads? Hello, Frau Farbissina, Number2.. Damn you Austin Powers...

Michael
Michael

A very Impressive Data Centre, How do you clean such a critical space? Michael

Patrick Samson
Patrick Samson

OMG. That place is smoking. That has james bond written all over it. I would love to own a home like that.

CANLI RADYO
CANLI RADYO

nice architactural designs thnks for sharing..

Jason
Jason

Amazing :) I like it. It remind me on CyberBunker. "If you know of other data centers that are as super-designed and different as this one, please let us know in the comments since we would love to check them out. Links to pictures and information are always welcome!" You might want to check: http://www.cyberbunker.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CyberBunker Operating from a Cold War era government command bunker that was purpose-built by the Military to house sensitive electronic gear, CyberBunker combines the best of modern commercial technology with Military-grade reliability and Military construction to provide the most secure and reliable solution for people and equipment. The facility was built in 1955 to survive through a full-scale nuclear war. • Facility is over 5 000 m3. • Entire complex is equipped with airlocks for an independent atmosphere. • Fully redundant air handling/cooling systems. • Air tight rooms. • Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) shielding to military standards. • Up to 5 meters thick reinforced concrete subterranean construction. • Designed to survive a 20-megaton nuclear blast from 5 kilometers. • Backup 750 KW diesel generator. • Large diesel fuel reserves. • 10 000 liters freshwater reserve tank. • 240 000 liters freshwater reserve stored in a remote backup bunker. • All critical equipment shock-mounted on isolation pads. • Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) air filtration. The bunker was constructed to function at energy saving capacity, totally cut off from the outside world for over 10 years.

Stu
Stu

Very, very cool. A piece of modern art.

allen
allen

We here at northwest shelter systems have built some big,nice bomb,fallout,storm shelters, but this some thing else WOW!!

Kiran
Kiran

Nice to have Data centers like this where the company which is going to approach them will be good to go with out any issues. I wish i could see in real.

Per Wiklander
Per Wiklander

@Pete: The images are the real deal. Although during normal working conditions (without the press on site) you probably won't find any smoke or blue lights. The waterfalls were a cool design thing, but the constant sound of running water became to annoying.

Pete
Pete

Most of the "after" pictures look like 3d renders to me. They have some perspective distortion that you almost never find in real cameras. Are they unable to show actual photos for some reason, or is it a hoax? If those are architectural renders, you can be pretty certain that the final result is significantly scaled down from what we see above. Oh, and with those waterfalls running full time, I'd hope there's a bathroom somewhere :)

Joel
Joel

But where is the guy with the white suit and the furry white cat? Seems incomplete with out a submarine dock for that final getaway when the good forces arrive to crush the evil bad guys! lol

Bozz
Bozz

@Yoda he's the one taking all the pictures.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] RoyalPingdom kan du läsa mer och titta på fler [...]

  2. [...] Pictures Click Here Tags: bomb, bond, broadband, bunker, center, city, data, engines, foreign, german, green, ground, [...]

  3. [...] For the tech guys: two Maybach MTU diesel engines support the backup power – originally these monstrosities were used in German submarines, so the designer guys just took out the sound horns and added those as well. For the design-hearted: the center has simulated daylight, greenhouses, waterfall and a giant (2600 liter) salt water fish tank. (via royal pingdom)  [...]

  4. [...] Ex-military underground bunker? Sounds familiar. [...]

  5. [...] I want this office. Seriously. It’s the greatest single piece of real life architecture I have ever seen, I love it! [...]

  6. [...] source is here Written by admin in: tech | Tags: bunker, isp, [...]

  7. [...] Royal Pingdom » The world’s most super-designed data center – fit for a James Bond… – would want to have this kind of office someday. anyone know a good bomb shelter in the philippines? [...]

  8. [...] Data Center di Bekas Bunker Nuklir November 28, 2008 Posted by xirka in Seputar Jaringan. Tags: bunker nuklir, data center, pionen trackback (berita lengkap di sini) [...]

  9. [...] The world’s most super-designed data center (link) [...]

  10. [...] Google are famous for their offices. So are Pixar. But the coolest one might be theSwedish ISP Bahnhof. [...]

  11. [...] by Fernando Felman on December 2, 2008 A fellow colleague mentioned this ultra-cool data centre run by one of the largest ISP in Sweden. How cool is it, you ask? It’s this [...]

  12. [...] Whose House? Blofeld’s House… Posted in December 3rd, 2008 by msherm007 in Parody & Humor, Wacky Media Greene or Kristatos, Goldfinger or Largo, they would all fit in at this wild, wooly place. [...]

  13. [...] is exactly what happened when I saw this article about the Pionen datacenter, owned by Bahnhof in Sweden. Located nearly 100 feet beneath the city [...]

  14. [...] hosting facility is a cave below Stockholm. You’d expect the sysadmin blogs to call it fit for a James Bond villain, but even the architecture blogs are a gaga. Trendhunter compares it to the RFM FM Radio [...]

  15. [...] photos are not enough for you, you can get more details in an article written about the data center. [via mbaierl.com] Posted by gpoul at 7:38pm CET Filed in [...]

  16. Before I says:

    [...] sure, they SAY it’s a humble data center designed “with humans in mind” but we all know the CEO is required by law to have a [...]

  17. [...] I’ve always yearned for an underground hideout, so I had a little pang of envy when I saw this datacentre. We’re in the 21st century, it’s the future, why do I not have a hollowed out [...]

  18. [...] 17, 2008 If you’re going to work in an ISP then this one is worth a look. I particularly like the NOC [...]

  19. [...] de seguridad del edificio, que nunca se podría construir asi para ser una datacenter. Relacionado: royal.pingdom.com/2008/11/14/the-worlds-most-super-designed-data-cente/ sin comentarios en: tecnología, hardware karma: 6 etiquetas: servidores, data center, [...]

  20. [...] Welcome to my underground lair: This underground data center has greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb. It looks like the secret HQ of a James Bond villain. [...]

  21. [...] Das Rechenzentrum befindet sich in einem alten Bunker mitten in Granit geschlagen etwa 30 Meter unter der Erde, direkt unter Stockholm. Für die Notstromversorgung sind Diesel-Aggregate aus deutscher U-Boot-Technologie installiert (angeblich mitsamt passender U-Boot-Signalhörnern). Mehr Infos auch auf Royal Pingdom. [...]

  22. [...] av landets i särklass häftigaste serverhall – i civilförsvarets numera nedlagda ledningscentral Pionen under Vita Bergen på Södermalm i Stockholm (se bild). På Bahnhof kan man det här med [...]

  23. [...] Uno de los mayores ISP’s Suecos tiene el datacenter que sería la envidia del archi-enemigo de Janes Bond: [...]

  24. [...] a Swedish ISP has also headed underground to build a stylish facility that looks like the Devil’s data center, Boston College have [...]

  25. [...] The world’s most super-designed data center – fit for a James Bond villain | Royal Pingd…: [...]

  26. [...] en Estocolmo ubicado en un ex bunker militar construido para la Guerra Fría que cuenta no solo con el encanto de las películas de James Bond, sino que además es realmente seguro. En el vídeo, el CEO nos cuenta que soporta un ataque con [...]

  27. [...] Mas fotos e información acá This entry was written by Nicolás, posted on April 16, 2009 at 9:06 pm, filed under Geeky, General, Links. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Peliculas geek, etc [...]

  28. [...] Estocolmo ubicado en un ex-bunker militar construido durante la Guerra Fría que cuenta no solo con el encanto de las películas de James Bond, además está muy bien diseñado. En el vídeo, su CEO cuenta que puede soportar un ataque con [...]

  29. [...] väldigt framgångsrikt. Anläggningen är nu känd över hela världen med stort antal reportage, bloggar och filmer på youtube som berättar om “Pionen”. Marknadsföringen har varit [...]