GOOGLE DATA CEN­TER

LENOIR, NORTH CAROLINA, USA

iD magazine - - Current Events -

ER DATA BUNK

laser beams, Steel doors, n scan­ners recog­ni­tio and iris- at server rooms se­cure the of cen­ters. One Google’s data lo­cated cen­ters is the big­gest North Carolina. in Lenoir,

WHERE ARE THE BIG­GEST SE­CRETS IN THE WORLD STORED?

Al­most all of us have been here—not as a per­son, but rather as a data packet: The Google Data Cen­ters are spread out around the globe. Ev­ery one of the 3.5 bil­lion searches ex­e­cuted via Google each day ends up here, and nearly 500 mil­lion email ac­counts and more than 20 bil­lion Web pages are also cat­a­logued and stored on thou­sands of servers here. Nearly ev­ery se­cret that finds its way onto the Web, whether en­crypted or un­en­crypted, is be­ing stored here. Ac­cord­ingly Google Data Cen­ters are highly se­cured. One of the largest of th­ese dig­i­tal trea­sure troves is found in Lenoir, North Carolina. Only those with a valid ID whose name is on an au­tho­rized ac­cess list can set foot on the 495,000-square-foot grounds. Ini­tially vis­i­tors see sprawl­ing green spa­ces and a pond, but you’d do well to stay as far away from the pond as pos­si­ble be­cause there are al­li­ga­tors swim­ming around in there. En­try via the se­cu­rity gate in the main cor­ri­dor is only granted af­ter an ad­di­tional test with a bio­met­ric iris scan­ner. It is only when this test is passed that one is per­mit­ted to en­ter the heart of Google—a gi­gan­tic hall con­tain­ing 50,000 rat­tling servers. The com­plex is so large that the staff get around on bikes and scoot­ers. The Google Data Cen­ter in Lenoir is one of the few data cen­ters to which ac­cess has been granted to a few se­lected jour­nal­ists. The ma­jor­ity of the other dig­i­tal trea­sure troves op­er­ated by Google re­main strictly sealed away. The multi­bil­lion-dol­lar cor­po­ra­tion is be­lieved to have more than a dozen data cen­ters now in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. To­gether th­ese plants are re­spon­si­ble for up to 1.5% of global elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion. Not much more is known about the clan­des­tine fa­cil­i­ties, how­ever, be­cause Google will pro­tect its se­crets at any price— even, if need be, with al­li­ga­tors…

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