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Top 10 biggest data centres in the world

With over four billion people connected to the internet, as of 2017, and the need for data storage and processing growing at an exponential rate, the past decade has seen data centres grow to the size of small cities.

Here, Gigabit Magazine reveals the ten biggest data centres in the world.

10 | Tulip Data Centre, India

Owned and operated by the Tulip Data Center Services Private Limited, the Tulip Data Centre is located in Bangalore, India.

It is the country’s largest data centre, covering 1mn sq. ft, with 12,000 server racks, each supported by 100 megawatts of power. The facility was opened in 2012 and, at the time, was the world’s third-largest of its kind. The four towers were developed in partnership between Tulip Telecom Ltd. and IBM in order to service over 2000 locations in India.

9 | Lakeside Technology Centre, United States

The Lakeside Technology Centre is located in Chicago, Illinois, in a 1.1 mn sq. ft building, renovated from its original purpose as a printing house for Sears Catalogue and Yellow Pages phone books, according to Rack Solutions.

The centre is used by multiple companies, including IBM, Facebook, and CenturyLink. According to Rack Solutions, "This location has some of the most redundant systems around with 53 backup power generators to minimize the risk of any type of outage."
 

8 | Dupont Fabros Technology

Located in Ashburn, Virginia, Dupont Fabros Technology’s largest data centre takes the form of a 2.1 mn sq. ft campus, comprised of seven separate buildings.

According to Computer World UK, the facility spans 160 acres, with capacity for over 10,500 servers, operating with a maximum load of 208 megawatts. In June 2017, data centre operator Digital Realty Trust announced plans to purchase Dupont Fabros Technology for a total sum of $7.6bn. 
 

7 | Switch SUPERNAP, United States

Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Switch SUPERNAP data centre covers 3.5 mn sq. ft and provides fiber optic-speed information retrieval to over 50 mn customers in the USA. The infrastructure required to host one of the world’s largest data centres was originally installed in Las Vegas (hundreds of miles from other technology centres) by computing giant Enron.

According to Wall Street Daily, “most people thought it was just to boost capacity. In truth, it was all part of Enron’s plan to essentially own the internet” by trading bandwidth like other companies traded petrochemicals, oil, and gas. When Enron went bankrupt, SUPERNAP founder Rob Roy repurposed the fiber optic infrastructure. Currently, the facility is making strides towards becoming solar-powered, with supplementation from other renewable sources. 
 

6 | Range International Data Centre, China

The Range International Data Centre is located in Langfang, China. Spanning 110 football pitches, the 6.3 mn sq. ft installation covers the same amount of space as the Pentagon.

Designed to meet the exploding needs of the Chinese IT sector, the Range’s construction was funded by a mixture of public and private funds, and was designed, built, and overseen by IBM. The structure consumes 150 megawatts of power and, since the centre’s completion, the portion of Langfang’s GDP that comes from IT and Data Processing has risen above 20%, according to the Financial Times. 
 

5 | Kolos Data Centre, Norway

The largest data centre in Europe is located in a tiny village in Norway. Opening in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Kolos Data Centre will cover 6.5 mn sq. ft across four storeys, and is being billed as a hyper-scalable data centre, with plans to consume up to 1000 megawatts of power by 2027.

This looks even more attractive due to the fact Kolos, a US-Norwegian company, insists the facility will be 100% powered by renewable energy sources, taking advantage of Norway’s abundant hydroelectric infrastructure. According to the company, this creates a 60% saving on energy costs, further reducing prices for the consumer. 
 

4 | Harbin Data Centre, China

Located in Heilongjiang province, the northernmost region of China, Harbin Data Centre is the largest structure in the “Ice City” of Harbin.

Covering 7.1 mn sq. ft, the facility, owned and operated by China Mobile, is one of the company’s flagship operations for telecommunication data and cloud-based computing. Harbin consumes 150 megawatts of electricity. Like most data centres in China, 0% of the centre’s power comes from renewable sources. 
 

3 | The Citadel, United States

The Citadel, still awaiting completion, lies near Reno in the North of Nevada. The facility covers 7.2 mn sq. ft and, when fully operational, will consume 650 Megawatts of power, 100% of which comes from renewable sources.

Build and owned by Switch, the Citadel takes advantage of the company’s hyperloop network to deliver nine millisecond latency to Los Angeles and San Diego, with a seven millisecond connection to the company’s core facility, according to Computer World UK. The facility is also among the most innovative in the world, with over 260 patented innovations included in its construction and operation. 
 

2 | China Mobile Hohot, China

The two largest data centres in the world both help make up the six hyperscale facilities in the Inner Mongolia Information Park, located in Hohot.

The second-largest is the China Mobile Hohot data centre, which covers 7.7 mn sq. ft and cost $1.92bn to complete. The facility’s design is modular, allowing for further expansion of necessary. According to World Data Centres, Hohot “provides concentrated network management, enterprise services, and research and development innovation for new technologies including TD-LTE 4G networking and cloud computing”.
 

1 | China Telecom Data Centre, China

Also located in the Inner Mongolia Information Park, the title of largest data centre in the world is held by the China Telecom Data Centre, which spans a grand total of 10.7 mn sq. ft and contains “contains a cloud computing data center, call centers, warehouse, offices, and living quarters for staff”, according to the World Data Centre.

Also the most expensive data centre in the world, the facility is reported to have cost over $3bn to complete. Several factors make Hohot an attractive location for the world’s largest data centres: an average annual rainfall of over 12 in results vast reserves of hydroelectric power and, according to Data Centre Dynamics, “Hohhot's climate makes for another practical reason it has become a data center hub. At an average altitude of 1050 meters, the average temperature is 6°C (42.8°F) makes for "free air cooling for up to eight months a year”. 
 

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10 | Tulip Data Centre, India

Owned and operated by the Tulip Data Center Services Private Limited, the Tulip Data Centre is located in Bangalore, India.

It is the country’s largest data centre, covering 1mn sq. ft, with 12,000 server racks, each supported by 100 megawatts of power. The facility was opened in 2012 and, at the time, was the world’s third-largest of its kind. The four towers were developed in partnership between Tulip Telecom Ltd. and IBM in order to service over 2000 locations in India.

9 | Lakeside Technology Centre, United States

The Lakeside Technology Centre is located in Chicago, Illinois, in a 1.1 mn sq. ft building, renovated from its original purpose as a printing house for Sears Catalogue and Yellow Pages phone books, according to Rack Solutions.

The centre is used by multiple companies, including IBM, Facebook, and CenturyLink. According to Rack Solutions, "This location has some of the most redundant systems around with 53 backup power generators to minimize the risk of any type of outage."
 

8 | Dupont Fabros Technology

Located in Ashburn, Virginia, Dupont Fabros Technology’s largest data centre takes the form of a 2.1 mn sq. ft campus, comprised of seven separate buildings.

According to Computer World UK, the facility spans 160 acres, with capacity for over 10,500 servers, operating with a maximum load of 208 megawatts. In June 2017, data centre operator Digital Realty Trust announced plans to purchase Dupont Fabros Technology for a total sum of $7.6bn. 
 

7 | Switch SUPERNAP, United States

Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Switch SUPERNAP data centre covers 3.5 mn sq. ft and provides fiber optic-speed information retrieval to over 50 mn customers in the USA. The infrastructure required to host one of the world’s largest data centres was originally installed in Las Vegas (hundreds of miles from other technology centres) by computing giant Enron.

According to Wall Street Daily, “most people thought it was just to boost capacity. In truth, it was all part of Enron’s plan to essentially own the internet” by trading bandwidth like other companies traded petrochemicals, oil, and gas. When Enron went bankrupt, SUPERNAP founder Rob Roy repurposed the fiber optic infrastructure. Currently, the facility is making strides towards becoming solar-powered, with supplementation from other renewable sources. 
 

6 | Range International Data Centre, China

The Range International Data Centre is located in Langfang, China. Spanning 110 football pitches, the 6.3 mn sq. ft installation covers the same amount of space as the Pentagon.

Designed to meet the exploding needs of the Chinese IT sector, the Range’s construction was funded by a mixture of public and private funds, and was designed, built, and overseen by IBM. The structure consumes 150 megawatts of power and, since the centre’s completion, the portion of Langfang’s GDP that comes from IT and Data Processing has risen above 20%, according to the Financial Times. 
 

5 | Kolos Data Centre, Norway

The largest data centre in Europe is located in a tiny village in Norway. Opening in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Kolos Data Centre will cover 6.5 mn sq. ft across four storeys, and is being billed as a hyper-scalable data centre, with plans to consume up to 1000 megawatts of power by 2027.

This looks even more attractive due to the fact Kolos, a US-Norwegian company, insists the facility will be 100% powered by renewable energy sources, taking advantage of Norway’s abundant hydroelectric infrastructure. According to the company, this creates a 60% saving on energy costs, further reducing prices for the consumer. 
 

4 | Harbin Data Centre, China

Located in Heilongjiang province, the northernmost region of China, Harbin Data Centre is the largest structure in the “Ice City” of Harbin.

Covering 7.1 mn sq. ft, the facility, owned and operated by China Mobile, is one of the company’s flagship operations for telecommunication data and cloud-based computing. Harbin consumes 150 megawatts of electricity. Like most data centres in China, 0% of the centre’s power comes from renewable sources. 
 

3 | The Citadel, United States

The Citadel, still awaiting completion, lies near Reno in the North of Nevada. The facility covers 7.2 mn sq. ft and, when fully operational, will consume 650 Megawatts of power, 100% of which comes from renewable sources.

Build and owned by Switch, the Citadel takes advantage of the company’s hyperloop network to deliver nine millisecond latency to Los Angeles and San Diego, with a seven millisecond connection to the company’s core facility, according to Computer World UK. The facility is also among the most innovative in the world, with over 260 patented innovations included in its construction and operation. 
 

2 | China Mobile Hohot, China

The two largest data centres in the world both help make up the six hyperscale facilities in the Inner Mongolia Information Park, located in Hohot.

The second-largest is the China Mobile Hohot data centre, which covers 7.7 mn sq. ft and cost $1.92bn to complete. The facility’s design is modular, allowing for further expansion of necessary. According to World Data Centres, Hohot “provides concentrated network management, enterprise services, and research and development innovation for new technologies including TD-LTE 4G networking and cloud computing”.
 

1 | China Telecom Data Centre, China

Also located in the Inner Mongolia Information Park, the title of largest data centre in the world is held by the China Telecom Data Centre, which spans a grand total of 10.7 mn sq. ft and contains “contains a cloud computing data center, call centers, warehouse, offices, and living quarters for staff”, according to the World Data Centre.

Also the most expensive data centre in the world, the facility is reported to have cost over $3bn to complete. Several factors make Hohot an attractive location for the world’s largest data centres: an average annual rainfall of over 12 in results vast reserves of hydroelectric power and, according to Data Centre Dynamics, “Hohhot's climate makes for another practical reason it has become a data center hub. At an average altitude of 1050 meters, the average temperature is 6°C (42.8°F) makes for "free air cooling for up to eight months a year”. 
 

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