The World’s Largest Data Centres

By the end of 2018, the best estimates put the total number of people using the internet over the four billion mark. This makes it easy to understand why the world’s needs for processing and storing data are growing at an exponential rate. In the last 10 years, data centres the size of small cities have sprung up to meet that ever-expanding need, with data centres using UPS batteries such as the Fiamm 12flb150 as back-up power.

Gigabit Magazine has crunched the numbers and identified the data centres with solid claims to being the world’s largest:

1) China Telecom Data Centre

The China Telecom Data Centre has a firm hold on the title of “world’s largest data centre” thanks to its 10.7 million square feet. Located in China’s Inner Mongolia Information Park, the China Telecom centre combines standard data centre functions with warehousing, office space, call centres, and living quarters for the workers who operate it. In addition to its vast size, the China Telecom facility is noteworthy for having the world’s highest price tag. Constructing and fitting out the data centre reportedly cost more than £2 billion.

2) China Mobile Hohhot Data Centre

The world’s second-largest data centre is China Mobile’s Hohhot facility, located very close to the China Telecom Data Centre. The China Mobile facility covers 7.7 million square feet, and its completion cost is estimated at £1.47 billion. The China Mobile centre is noteworthy for its modular design which anticipates future expansion. The China Mobile facility is a centralised powerhouse for managing networks, delivering enterprise-level service, and conducting cutting-edge research.

Both of the world’s largest data centres are located in the Inner Mongolia Information Park in Hohhot, China. This is a singularly attractive community for data centres thanks to a number of favourable conditions. It sits at an altitude of 1,050 metres with an average temperature of 6°C (42.8°F). The climate delivers “free air cooling” for almost three quarters of the year. The region is also blessed with heavy annual rainfall (more than 12 inches), which allows for the collection of hydroelectric power in large quantities. The China Telecom and China Mobile data centres are just two of six facilities in the Information Park which qualify as “hyperscale”.

3) The Citadel, Nevada, USA

Not yet completed, the Citadel is situated close to the city of Reno in northern Nevada. The facility’s total size is 7.2 million square feet. Once it is operational, it is planned to use 650 megawatts of electricity, all of which will be delivered from renewable sources. Switch is the company constructing the Citadel, which will be a key component in its hyperloop network. Connection time to the company’s headquarters will be a mere seven milliseconds, while the network will deliver nine-millisecond latency in service to California metropolises like Los Angeles and San Diego. The Citadel is noteworthy for an extreme level of innovation in its construction. The facility makes use of more than 260 new, patented innovations.

4) Harbin Data Centre, China

The Harbin Data Centre sits in the single largest structure in Harbin. Situated in the extreme north in the province of Heilongjiang. Harbin is frequently called the “Ice City”. The Harbin Data Centre is a key telecommunications and cloud computing resource which is owned by China Mobile. The 7.1 million square foot facility requires 150 megawatts of power. As with most of China’s data centres, the Harbin facility is powered by non-renewable energy sources.

5) The Kolos Data Centre, Norway

Europe’s largest data centre (which opened at the end of 2018 – QUERY THIS FACT?), the Kolos centre is situated in rural Norway. The main four-storey facility offers 6.5 million square feet of space, and the operators tout it as a “hyper-scalable” data centre. If expansion continues according to Kolos’s projections, the data centre could consume as much as 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2027.

Kolos is a joint US-Norwegian venture, and feeding the data centre from renewable resources is a foundational principle of the company’s operations. Thanks to the abundant availability of hydroelectric power in Norway, the company expects to enjoy a 60% savings on energy costs and to pass this savings on to the consumer.

6) Dupont Fabros Technology, Virginia, USA

The Dupont Fabros data centre in Ashburn, Virginia, occupies 2.1 million square feet spread across seven different buildings. The overall compound covers 160 acres and has room to operate 10,500 servers. At full capacity, the centre would draw 208 megawatts. Digital Realty Trust, a firm specialising in data centre operations, announced its intention to purchase Dupont Fabros Technology for £6 billion.