Parisian nuclear shelter transformed into modern data centre
Wed 24 Aug 2016
French hosting provider Online.net has revealed its new data centre – a converted nuclear fallout shelter 26 metres below the streets of Paris.
The company noted in a blog post that the building had once been a ‘passive defence structure’ to accommodate 90 in the 1930s. Located at a disused quarry in Paris’ 15th arrondisement, the shelter, named Abri Lefebvre, was later upgraded to a nuclear hideout for up to 300 people during the Cold War.
The Online.net post explains that the bunker fell into disuse for 20 years before the French government sold the property to the provider in 2012 for use as a data centre. The company is planning to prepare the facility to store data for customers of its recently announced C14 data archiving and long-term backup platform.
Online.net admits that the challenges posed by its data centre conversion project, dubbed DC4, were ‘just crazy and required our teams to be very creative and clever.’ ‘The challenge we engaged into to perform an important and complicated transformation of the building and its shelter is just gigantic.’
Construction involved removing existing equipment, preparing the floors, ceilings, and walls – the first of which alone took around a year. The team writes: ‘During this period, more than three hundred and sixty tons of equipment and backfill were removed from the shelter.’
The following stages saw Online.net seal and waterproof the entire facility, which required over three thousand square metres of tiling. The company also had to manage unexpected features, such as a hidden drilling well, and install hundreds of tons of electrical distribution equipment, including batteries, UPS, and transformers.
Online.net plans to install ‘more than one hundred racks’ of cold storage into the new centre, each weighing one tonne on less than one square centimetre. C14 customers will be able to store their data within the shelter starting from October this year.