The Largest Data Centers In The World

The US leads the way in giant data centers, but China is slated to take the crown with its Langfang data center, at least temporarily.

Natalie Lehrer

May 29, 2014

3 Min Read
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The United States is home to the world’s largest data center and data center campuses, but for how much longer? According to Forbes, China is scheduled to a complete a data center in Langfang by 2016 that will rival the size of the Pentagon.

When completed, the structure will be an incredible 6.3-million square feet. That's more than triple the size of the current largest data center in the US, the 2.2-million square foot Switch SUPERNAP campus.

Figure 1: Sketch of Langfang datacenterSketch of Langfang datacenter

That said, the Chinese will only be able to wear the crown for the largest data center for three to five years. Microsoft recently announced a new data center initiative in Iowa that will cost it $1.13 billion, and will also be more than 6 million square feet. It is due to be completed between 2019 and 2021.

While bigger data centers are on the horizon, let's take a closer look at a couple of today's leaders.

The Switch SUPERNAP data center campus is strategically located near Las Vegas, Nev. This location is not prone to severe weather events, and the abundance of energy generated from green resources such as hydroelectricity as well as emerging energy sources like wind and solar made the Las Vegas location a no-brainer.

Figure 2: Switch SUPERNAPSwitch SUPERNAP

The 2.2-million square foot campus is almost twice the size of any other privately owned data center in the US. Switch was founded by Rob Roy and his company continues to be a trendsetter in data center technology. Switch holds over 200 patents in the information and data center technology realm. SUPERNAP 8 recently began operating on Switch’s Nevada campus and the constant construction and additions onto this campus is the reason why Switch continues to be the standard bearer in co-location and cloud innovation.

Another data center of note is the Lakeside Technology Center located in Chicago, Ill. -- the largest single-structured data center in the US. This 1.1-million square foot datacenter is the backbone to many of the most sophisticated telecommunication services in the world. The structure is also used by multiple tenants, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Equinix. Statistics show that the Lakeside Technology Center uses slightly less energy than O’Hare International Airport, making the structure the  second-largest consumer of power in the city of Chicago.

Figure 3: Lakeside Technology CenterLakeside Technology Center

Wholly owned by Digital Realty Trust,  the facility is located at 350 E. Cermak in the heart of downtown Chicago. The Lakeside Technology Center is one of the most unique data centers in the world. The building was originally constructed in 1912 and the lobby of the building still has that early 20th century look and feel. The building was originally used as a facility to house large, industrial-sized printing presses needed for printing catalogs and phone books in the early 20th century.

In 1999, the facility reopened as a data center and today the facility has more than 90% of its server racks full. The most unique part of the building is that it has retained its original outside architecture. Looking from the street, you probably wouldn’t realize the structure is a data center unless someone had told you about the building’s purpose.  

About the Author(s)

Natalie Lehrer

Natalie LehrerContributing Writer

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