Data Centers are massive infrastructures that serve as a home to a network or a company’s most critical systems. These centers host an astounding amount of data and information, which are significant in ensuring smooth and optimal daily operations. They lodge computing resources as well as critical telecommunications which may include the following—servers, databases, storage systems, software, applications, and access networks.
Companies use these data centers to collecting, processing, storing, filing, and distributing large amounts of data, which cannot be accommodated in a regular office site. The top ten facilities listed herewith are the largest data centers by square foot for the United States. Although there are many impressive facilities strung across the country, they all fail in comparison to the size of the data center found hereunder.
- Digital Realty-Lakeside
Topping the list is one of the oldest and largest data centers in the world. Built in multiple stages as early as 1917, this fortress takes up 24 million square feet of data center properties. Digital Reality manages 145 sites throughout the globe. Their biggest site is impressive at 1.1 million square feet located at the Lakeside Technology Lakeside Technology Center in Chicago, covering an entire city block within the southern loop of the Central Business District. This facility was designed by Howard Von Doren Shaw to b the corporate headquarter of printing giant RR Donnelley and Sons. It contained the printing presses that produced the popular Yellow Book (or pages) and the Sears Catalog. It is a Gothic type of architecture fortified by 4,675 steel-reinforced columns to carry the load of 10 to 12 inch floors that can also support 250 pound per square foot. This kind of structural strength was essential to accommodate massive amounts of paper weight stored in the upper levels. With 14 foot ceilings, this structure can take in heavy, bulky equipment, like transformers and various production machinery. The site has 21 vertical shafts for ease of transferring loads from level to level. Currently, these shafts house the fiber riser and power cabling. With its own fiber vaults numbering to 4 and three electrical power feeds, that allows it to provide the whole facility with 100 megawatts of power.
- The NSA-Bumblehive
The first Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative, with the acronym of IC CNCI, has its first center at the Bumblehive known as the NSA. This is the largest standing one with over one million square feet. This gargantuan building complex includes many functional sub units: from chiller plants, water treatment facilities, fire pump house, and its own electric substation. On top of that, there is a vehicle inspection facility, along with a visitor control center. Because such a massive center requires a lot of power to keep it running, there is even a sixty diesel-fueled generators on standby for emergencies that are capable of supplying the facility for three days with a hundred percent back up capacity. This primary purpose of this data center is to cope with the increase and influx of digital data, which is the result of the leaps and bounds in global networking. The goal of the NSA data center is to keep track of all forms of communication. Such a massive and ambitious undertaking which include tracking contents of private emails, internet searches, phone calls, travel itineraries, parking receipts, and the like! It feels as nothing is too small and no data is to minute not to notice.
- QTS Metro-Atlanta, GA
Standing at 970,000 square feet, the third biggest facility to land on the list is the QTS Atlanta Metro. With a data center foot print of 530,000, it indeed belongs to the list of gigantic data center. Because of its size, it has its own fully operational, on-site Georgia Power substation. On top of that, they have direct fiber access to multiple technological and communication carriers.
- IO- Edison, NJ
One of the largest modular date centers in the United States, IO in Edison, New Jersey takes up 830,000 square feet. Noteworthy, this is a former printing press facility of the famous daily, the New York Times. This is also one of the few data centers that were able to run almost immediately because of its modular technology. Perhaps, the largest advantage and perk of this data center that sets it apart from the other is prime location. Its location next to a large power switching station also poses an advantage. IO New Jersey boasts of fiber optic connectivity from no less than two of the largest IP backbones around the globe.
- Terremark Worldwide-Miami
In operation since 2001, this large data center located in bustling Miami occupies 750,000 square feet of total data center footprint. Given its location, this six story building was fortified to withstand hurricanes. They have served as a connection hub for Latin America as well as the South Easter United States. Converging at this building are 160 networks, which makes a thriving connectivity ecosystem for its unique target audience. On top of the roof’s facility are three large globes, which conveniently store two 16-meter satellite dishes, and one 14-meter dish. The latter was set-up to provide backup connectivity for its esteemed clientele should there be an off chance that the facility loses its fiber needs.
- Microsoft- Chicago, IL
Everyone knows Microsoft and it is not surprising for anyone to read this large software giant, who was one of the pioneers of the industry, belonging to this list. With around 700,000 square feet of space, this center is not the cookie cutter sort. Its unique design makes it atypical when compared with other bustling data centers. Built to accommodate 40 foot storage containers is what’s in the first floor. But they aren’t really meant to store containers. Instead, they are packed with web servers. The upper level contains the tradition space for all the data needs.
- IOS- Pheonix, AZ pheoneix az
Nixing the coveted 7th spot of the list is another IO facility, but this time it is located in Phoenix, Arizona. With a compound occupying 538,000 square feet of space, they have the capability to house both the data center and the main headquarters in this one location. The main highlight is actually not the size of the data center, but its rooftop solar paneling. They are one of the primary companies to utilize this technology. Their solar powered system has the ability to supply 4.5 megawatts of energy for the facility.
- Apple-Maiden, NC
This sits on 2183 acres of land that Apple purchased specifically for this purpose. Move over Google and Microsoft! The buzz around town says that they are looking to add another 75 acres, specifically the lots sitting across the road. What makes this site remarkable is its capacity to accommodate drastic expansions. A large private solar panel system was set-up to power this data center.
- Microsoft- Quincy, WA
This is the second Microsoft center in the top 10 list. With 470,000 square feet, the Microsoft Quincy data center is the home of the equipment and technology powering one of Microsoft’s newest babies, the new Windows Azure. This is a cloud development platform that’s innovative and functional. This center has a lot of storage capacity and can hold 3.7 trillion photos.
- DuPont Fabros-Ashburn, VA
Last but most definitely not the least is DuPont Fabros in the Loudon Metro Data Center located in Ashburn, Virginia. Spanning 416,209 square feet is only a drop in the bucket for DuPont Fabros, who already owns and operates at least a half dozen data centers in the area.