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29th March 2011

Blog >> The World's Largest Data Centres

A data centre is a facility used to house computer systems, such as the computer servers we all use to host our websites. If you have a website, then that website is stored on a computer server, in a data centre.

There are now quite a lot of websites (250+ million in fact) and as a result the commercial data centres which host these websites have had to keep pace with the public's ever increasing demand for fast and reliable websites and web hosting. As a result, some of these data centres have now scaled to huge facilities - in one case more than 81 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool!

Below is an overview of some of the largest data centres in the world, combined with some truely mind-boggling statistics!

The Largest Data Centres In The World

The following are thought to be the largest individual data centres in the world. This list is based on the square footage of each individual data centre and does not take into account data centre campuses which hold multiple data centres, or data centres which are mixed-use buildings.

1. Lakeside Technology Centre, Illinois, US
Formerly the printing facility for the Sears catalogue, this building has been converted to a 1.1 million square foot data centre which is now a telecom hotel leased to Equinix and Global Center. The building has room for 210,000 computer servers and stores 300,000 gallons of fuel for backup power generators. The Lakeside Technology Centre is the second-largest power customer for Commonwealth Edison, trailing only Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

2. Metro Technology Center, Atlanta, US
The QTS Metro Data Center is a 990,000 square foot building which when complete will yield 560,000 square feet of data center space. The huge facility is supported by 80 megawatts of power capacity via an on-site Georgia Power substation, and has 19 two-megawatt diesel generators to provide backup power. The facility was built by Sears in 1954 as the company's southeast distribution center and was converted at a cost of $80 million USD by MetroNexus and CoreLocation in 2000.

3. The NAP of the Americas, Miami, US
Offering 750,000 square feet of date centre space, the NAP of the Americas was huge before huge was cool! A key connectivity hub for the Southeastern US and Latin America, providing critical infrastructure to the U.S. military and the global domain name system. The NAP of the Americas is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, with it's exterior protected by 7-inch thick steel-reinforced concrete panels. More than 160 networks converge at the building, creating a major connectivity ecosystem. The three large globes on the roof of the facility house two 16-meter satellite dishes and a 14-meter dish to provide backup connectivity for mission-critical customers should the facility ever lose it's fiber feeds.

4. NGD Europe, Newport, Wales
The huge Next Generation Data Europe facility in Newport, Wales recently opened with BT and Logica occupying two large data halls at the 750,000 square foot center. The huge facility was built to house an LG semiconductor plant, but was vacated shortly after it was completed in 1998. NGD has converted the facility into a three-story data center facility that has capacity for more than 19,000 cabinets of servers and storage.

5. Container Data Center, Chicago, US
The enormous 700,000 square foot Microsoft Chicago Data Center in Northlake, Illinois showcases a container-driven design that Microsoft expects to deliver huge benefits in cost and energy efficiency. This new data center hosts a vast space with a high ceiling and diagonal parking spaces for double-stacked 40-foot shipping containers filled with up to 2,000 servers. Once the facility is complete it will have a total capacity of 112 containers holding 224,000 servers. The upstairs area of this facility includes space for four 12,000 square foot pods of raised-floor space, enough to support tens of thousands of additional servers to power Microsoft's 'Live' suite of online services.


Google is well-known for being extremely secretive about their data centres - to the point where nobody (outside of Google - we assume) actually knows how many data centres they have! It's fair to say that corporations like Google have some of the largest data centres in the world, however these are generally spread across many separate facilities and each individual data centre is often not especially large. For example, Google is known to have multiple data centres larger than 300,000 square foot, however number 5 in our list above is 700,000 square foot.
Other notable data centres and corporations which are known to host a significant number of servers include Amazon, Intel, HP/EDS, IBM, OVH, SoftLayer, Akamai, 1&1, eBay, Yahoo, Facebook, RackSpace and GoDaddy, all of which are thought to have at least 50,000 servers.

The World's Coolest Data Centres

You've seen the world's largest data centres, now check out The World's Coolest Data Centres including Pionen White Mountains which is buried 100ft below the streets of Stockholm, Sweden.


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