I don't know what it is about new data centres, but they all seem to resemble the evil lairs of Bond-movie villains. Google's latest, based in a disused paper mill in Finland, is no exception.
According to Wired, Google acquired the site for $US52 million in 2009, and part of the appeal was an existing underground tunnel once used to pull water from the Gulf of Finland. Now, that tunnel is working again, but the water is used to cool servers.
In fact, using heat exchangers and the cold water from the gulf means that the centre needs no extra cooling. It will occasionally get quite hot inside -- and staff will be ordered not to enter certain parts of the building -- but those periods won't last long.
The cold water gets sucked into the centre, used in direct-transfer heat exchangers, and is then mixed with cold water before being pumped back into the gulf. That mixing stage is designed to ensure that the water doesn't damage local flora and fauna. At least Google are more environmentally aware than most Bond villains. [Wired; Image: Google]