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New Data Center Modeled After a Space Station

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the martian-it-certification-class dept.

IT 50

1sockchuck writes "Jon Karlung believes that data centers shouldn't just be cool – they should look cool, too. His latest approach to futuristic IT is a modular data center designed to look like a space station. Karlung, the CEO of Sweden's Bahnhof, previously built a stylish data center in a former nuclear bunker beneath Stockholm featuring a waterfall, which has been compared to the lair of a James Bond villain. Karlung's new design features IT modules built from bullet-proof steel that attach to an inflatable dome for staff. 'Containers are ugly,' Karlung says. 'I think design is too often neglected in our field of business.'"

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50 comments

Make it look cool? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#42588369)

Great selling point!
Why not just produce photoshop images of what you say it looks like? No one is going to see the real thing anyway (apart from your own staff).

Re:Make it look cool? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588629)

No one is going to see the real thing anyway (apart from your own staff).

You must be a CEO to consider each and every last customer to be a no one.

Re:Make it look cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589555)

No one is going to see the real thing anyway (apart from your own staff).

You must be a CEO to consider each and every last customer to be a no one.

No, he would be a CEO if he considered the customers AND the employees to be a no one.

Re:Make it look cool? (2)

dkf (304284) | about a year ago | (#42589633)

No one is going to see the real thing anyway (apart from your own staff).

You must be a CEO to consider each and every last customer to be a no one.

No, he would be a CEO if he considered the customers AND the employees to be a no one.

No, he would be a CEO if he considered the customers AND the employees AND the investors AND all relevant regulators to be a no one.

There's no point in assuming a limited level of psychopathy here...

Re:Make it look cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589683)

Judging by past behavior, fair point. Conceeded.

Why is anyone there to see it (2)

Paul Carver (4555) | about a year ago | (#42588413)

Except for a handful of people, who's going to see it? If there are more than a couple people in a datacenter you're doing it wrong. Rack the equipment (preconfigured), plug in the cables and switch it on. From that point on no one should touch it until it breaks and needs to be RMA'd or scrapped.

How much money are you going to invest in beautifying a space that very few people will see?

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588439)

For those rare and momentous events when a VIP or CEO drops by. I jest you not, I worked in a center where they spent days aligining all the screw heads to the same direction in every rack. The one thing Thinking Machines got right was "blinkin lights." Give the CEO/VIP something to comment on, and they will be happy.

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589955)

It's the same with aerospace too, 600k for 5 minutes of eyeball time from potential clients.

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42590347)

Wow, you worked at a ghetto Data center. we used brushed aluminum rack screw cover track that is sold for the Home AV industry. Far cheaper than wasting days of your tech's time.

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#42590451)

I jest you not, I worked in a center where they spent days aligining all the screw heads to the same direction in every rack.

Wow I thought only the craziest show car guys did that (fun fact: This tends to cause every torque setting to be wrong, and on cars, torque settings are generally important.)

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#42595759)

I heard of a TI ceo who visited a fab building looked at the office block and said its to tall remove a floor - which they did.

Easy answer... (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | about a year ago | (#42588471)

New customers.

Ceterus parabus, many corporate senior management being toured around a volcano-lair-datacentre will pay a bit over the odds for co-lo when the alternative is some random industrial park warehouse.

It's called marketing & presentation.

Re:Easy answer... (5, Funny)

Silicon-Surfer (1412381) | about a year ago | (#42588787)

Seems like by styling it to look like a space station, this data centre will be seen by far more people (at least virtually) than your run of the mill one. Of course being Swedish, the whole thing will probably be assembled with an allen key...

Re:Easy answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588991)

If you can build a data center where everything can be assembled with an Allen key then you have a data center where service and maintenance only require a single tool.

Re:Easy answer... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#42590177)

Of course being Swedish, the whole thing will probably be assembled with an allen key...

Hey! At least we don't take "what a small package" as an insult!

Some assembly required.

Once up if it lasts as long as you want to keep it when what's the problem?

Re:Easy answer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588791)

Any of those folks that don't see through it, don't deserve their job. It's one thing to pay for extras that improve reliability and stability and quite another to pay to make it pretty.

Re:Easy answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589563)

Any of those folks that don't see through it, don't deserve their job.

CEOs. No shit?

Their only job is to screw the pooch as badly as necessary to have "creative differences" with the board and bail with their golden parachute while everyone else gets a pink slip.

Then they saunter off to another top-level position and repeat the process like the parasites they are.

Re:Easy answer... (1)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#42594801)

It's one thing to pay for extras that improve reliability and stability and quite another to pay to make it pretty.

Which is why no one every buys Apple.

Consumer mindset is universal. The thought processes involved in large corporate acquisitions are vulnerable to the same appeal to aesthetics, if the decision rests with (or is highly influenced by) one or two "prime mover" individuals.

You're talking like an engineer. Engineers don't make decisions on this scale. Vice Presidents and other pointy-haired types do. Even when engineers do extensive (practical) trade studies and analyses, their inputs are potentially subject to being completely ignored in favor of either "Oooh shiny" or "too expensive", depending on the mindset of the actual decider.

Maybe you're saying members of the Managment-Drone caste don't deserve their jobs? Hmm. Can't really argue with that.

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42588589)

From that point on no one should touch it until it breaks and needs to be RMA'd or scrapped.

Reminds me of the old joke about the best Server Admin being a German Shepard and a sysop. The sysop is there to feed the German Shepard, and the German Shepard is there to make sure the sysop never gets near the server.

Oddly, the linked article goes gaga about the inflatable tent next to the steel enclosed portable data center. So put a few rounds thru the inflatable tent to get rid of those pesky sysops, and then do what you will with the data center. Why make it out of bullet proof steel?

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about a year ago | (#42596457)

You didn't take notes during Master Villain class did you? OF COURSE they will all aim for the red shirts in the inflatable, ALL of THEM, while you make your clean getaway in the bullet proof escape pod in the back away from the deadly crossfire.

Re:Why is anyone there to see it (1)

jools33 (252092) | about a year ago | (#42589173)

Damn I used to work about 5 minutes walk away from this in Kista - I might have to pay them a visit for a laugh.
As to who will see it, it is positioned right next to and visible from the E4 which is the main northbound road from Stockholm and its also very near to the new Kista convention center; so I guess they can wangle a few visitors every now and then in various ways. Personally I think its great to see companies doing things in non-conventional ways - and I wouldn't mind my it center being modelled around a UFO or alien spaceship - just to brighten things up a bit ;)
I guess the servers will get some free cooling this way too - as at the moment temps are around -5 to -10 in Stockholm.

Company goodwill: Evoluon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42590643)

Philips HQ used to have this cool building... The Evoluon [wikipedia.org]. A science museum, afterwards turned into conference center. I cannot express to you how impressive it is to visit as a young boy interested in science.

How about a datacenter that looks like Times Sq? (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#42588473)

Why not consider a datacenter that looks like Times Square? Empty Times Square Building Generates $23 Million a Year From Digital Ads [slashdot.org]
.
There were a bunch of comments on that article about using up the empty building as a data-center.:
.
animats [slashdot.org]
anonymous coward: [slashdot.org] why not a datacenter?
.
I understand that sometimes cities have an art budget that they need to use up with each new construction project, and it's cute to have new structures blend in or stand out aesthetically, but it seems un-necessary and over-kill to go too far out of your way to do this. But hey, if you're building it, (and you get the appropriate permits by approval or bribery) do whatever floats your boats and roxen your boxen!

Money (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#42588547)

Aesthetically pleasing design isn't a priority: Very few people will ever see the data center(s) they use, let alone care what they look like. This is like saying "My neighborhood has the best looking sewers!" Well, that's cool... but nobody is going to crawl down a manhole to check them out. So props for being all creative and stuff, but why don't you work on something the general public might actually see?

Re:Money (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42588643)

Well in the linked story they say:

Bahnhof joins a growing number of providers seeking to provide faster and cheaper deployment of IT capacity through the use of factory-build modules that can be installed quickly and expanded as needed based on the customer’s needs.

So these are likely to be short term deployments of data centers for special events (olympics, Military operations, Disasters, etc) or short term expansion centers for companies waiting for their new headquarters to be built. They roll in on trucks set up operate without looking too ugly, then roll out again some time later.

Re:Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589465)

Aesthetically pleasing design isn't a priority: Very few people will ever see the data center(s) they use, let alone care what they look like. This is like saying "My neighborhood has the best looking sewers!" Well, that's cool... but nobody is going to crawl down a manhole to check them out. So props for being all creative and stuff, but why don't you work on something the general public might actually see?

Clearly you do not work in the industry

Datacenter tours are a very common CEO activity. Big players like vmware,Cisco,Google,Facebook etc all feature datacenter tours for their VIP guests and others that are willing to pay. Yes, pay. Datacenter tours are actually generating revenue!

Datacenter Modeled After a Space Station? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588635)

Just don't make the pod bay doors voice-activated.

Matching Set (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588657)

Yay! I'll finally have something to go with my 50's concept car designed to look like a spaceship!

That's no datacenter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588669)

(obligatory)

Data Center vs Water Feature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588713)

Speaking from experience here, data centers and water features are just bad combinations.

Re:Data Center vs Water Feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589611)

Yeah, oil immersion makes much more sense.

Re:Data Center vs Water Feature (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#42590483)

Hey here's an idea, use the fountain to add extra cooling power by running the fountain water and server coolant through a heat exchanger. Water coming out of the exchanger is sprayed into the air losing lots of heat.

Of course a hybrid evaporative cooler would be much more efficient with power and water, but if you gotta have a fountain...

Re:Data Center vs Water Feature (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589883)

At a company I used to work at the server room for the entire company was located in the basement... directly under a pretty fountain in the reception.

One day the base of the fountain cracked. The water leaked through the floor directly onto the servers below, thoroughly soaking every server. :o)

Several computers in nearby rooms also managed to get fried, thanks to a surge of 230V flowing out of the room via CAT5 cables from the switches in the server room (before the CAT5 cable cores melted just like a fuse).

Re:Data Center vs Water Feature (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42589911)

Ethernet is a balanced, isolated line. That's why there are never an issue with ground loops. Contary to the etherkiller legend, 230V shouldn't actually fry a computer on that port. It'll burn out the transformer in the network card, though.

Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42588761)

So the guards are protected by an inflatable micro-thick skin. Hmm...

Nothing Like The Space Station (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#42588833)

The space station looks like this [nova.org].

This looks more like two trailers parked next to an inflatable igloo from a campy spy flick about Not-So-Secret Eskimo Intelligence agents.

Bonus points if you can find the part of the video where the caption describes the person on screen as the "Designer of the Doom" (misspelling Dome).

Pointy sticks. (2)

andy_spoo (2653245) | about a year ago | (#42589107)

In the video there looks like a rack of pointy sticks. Now, whats the chances of a bored person finding a blowup domb to fling one at? As for security, looks about as secure as a Microsoft OS.

Good DC aesthetics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42589255)

I worked in an Australian Data Centre back in 2006. One of my daily task was to walk the floor looking for red lights and general physical security patrol.

Mostly I would spend my time studying the various case designs from server hardware vendors; sun hardware and racks was unmistakably the coolest looking gear. Something like alien cyberpunk is how I would describe their purple mesh design. HP has always lacked aesthetic flair to their chassis externals. Grey plate with lights. Boring! Dell had a more industrial look with riveting metal grills but Apple took awards for simple clear design. Their use of white LEDs for status indicators added something like a holy glow.

Apple should get back into this space with ARM servers and sexy looking server case design. That data centre technician out there appreciates the time the vendors put into making their boxes look cool.

Security staff in an inflatable bubble? (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#42589775)

FTA

The design features a spacious double-wide module built with bullet-proof steel that will house servers, which attaches to “The Dome,” an inflatable central vestibule that houses security staff.

So the servers get bullet-proof steel, while the human security staff are protected by 'inflatable' walls?
Don't think I would fancy my chances in a physical attack...

Re:Security staff in an inflatable bubble? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42590333)

Bet you money the steel is not AR-50 bullet proof. Hell I'm betting an AR-10 can easily punch holes in it.

CEO commenting on the scifi doors in video (1)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#42590205)

making "PSSST, PSSST" sounds to explain they're pneumatic like on star trek.

EPIC FAIL (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42590331)

The inflatable building crap again? These things are a major Fail.

Use shipping containers. works better, you can do more with them and easily modular. Oh and they are cheaper to transport to the site and set up.

10 years from now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42590425)

At current data size volume todays data center will fit in your laptop.

Has this guy ever worked at a datacenter? (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about a year ago | (#42591045)

This reeks of those home security commercials. "Hello, this is Wolf Home Security, is everything all right?" with a background of dimmed red lights in a war room. Anyone whose ever worked in a secure environment or a war room will tell you that all the commercial theatrics deployed around their work area made/will make them crazy. It might look cool, but its not functionally sound.

Re:Has this guy ever worked at a datacenter? (2)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year ago | (#42592171)

I've worked in secret and TS rated US government datacenters. Giant concrete cube, surrounded by blast shields and folks with lots of guns. As in, a security false alarm usually involves Bradley APCs or Abrams tanks sitting outside the datacenter.

The main staff worked in the "fish bowl". Yep. The lighting was kept low, we had a large number of giant screens with moving data, we had overhead monitors, etc. 95% of it was not useful. The clock with a dozen time zones was useful for quick glances. The giant screen with the node map was pretty AND functional. The list of COBOL program end codes (for the mainframes) was very rarely useful, but was VERY useful when it was needed. Rest was meh. The low light sucked and messed with your mind if you're working 12 hour shifts for weeks on end. Concrete cube, no windows. It was like living on a submarine, only worse. Subs try to vary the light to reflect day/night schedule. The side by side bench style arrangement "desks" sucked if you were on the phone.

It was kept there in case the brass came by. Which they rarely did, unless things were hopping.

Hiding nuclear power perhaps? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42594393)

I can tell you from personal experience that the way many data centers are setup these days is to hide a huge secret: active nuclear reactors. There are quite a few data centers based on "former" bunkers and reactors that are actually active and hidden in plain site. I work for Datafoundry in Austin, Texas which is a central intelligence front. We run two such hidden reactors without any of hassle of regulations, laws or red tape and make massive profits from the free power for the servers and as resold power.

The power lines coming to our data centers are actually handling outgoing power to other CIA front companies to power the Texas Interconnection power grid. The power companies lease "colocation" space at ridiculous rates to pay for the power as a cover.

The secret on this was released by our CEO this month after he felt guilty and wrote a tell all confession on reddit. We tried to remove it - when reddit wouldn't, we killed one of their founders and made it appear as a suicide. You can still see it by checking out reddit user "orestrepo". It wont be there much longer ;)

Slashdotters are welcome to come check out our water cooled reactors in Austin. Just tell them Sharif sent you to take a tour, and we'll buzz you in.

-Mohammed_Sharif_Fotouh

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