Wired's Steven Levy tells the Google Hamina Story - mines, views of Russia, sizzling water, swirling blood & batman

Wired's Steven Levy has an insider story of Google's Hamina data center.  It is entertaining.  Here are a few parts that caught my eye that I wouldn't put in a story, but I am not Steven Levy.

And as with most of Google data centers, the company’s secrecy fomented loony speculation about what those geeks were up to. In this case a rumor sprung up that Google had planted mines in the sea to keep away fishermen.


But the signature feature of the Hamina center arose from its coastal setting on the Gulf of Finland.This allows Google to claim, on a very clear day: “I can see Russia from my data center!” The border is only 40 miles away.


The pipes are color-coded: Blue represents cool water, and orange is hot. Both sea water pipes and those carrying hot water from The Floor go into giant heat exchangers whereupon the chilly seawater heats up and the sizzling data center water cools down. (Another connection to the sea is a thick fiber cable that Google submerged to connect the Hamina center to the rest of Europe.)


The space is a vast industrial ruin, big and high enough to entertain a reasonable amusement park. It has its own misty microclimate, the dust sometimes stirred by dive-bombing birds. Basically, it’s the kind of place where the early Batman might wind up fighting an all-star squad of marquee villains.

The highlight of the Hamina tour is tracking the journey of the seawater, the swirling blood of this data center.

I've gone to Finland and the custom of following a hot sauna with a dip in cold water is a tradition at the Hamina data center.

When Google bought the site, the sauna remained, and in keeping with its egalitarian ethic, the company opened this once-exclusive perk to all employees. Local Googlers accustomed to the true Finnish regimen are welcome to dash out of the hot steam room for a dunk into the same chilly seawater that cools Hamina’s servers.