Google (News - Alert) is often considered a trailblazer in the technology industry, and rightly so. After the company launched its search engine in the late nineties, it began its massive expansion, acquiring some companies and partnering with others, eventually becoming the Internet giant it is today. To support its many services, Google must employ a number of data centers to store the data that is the backbone to its entire business. Of course, this being Google, these aren't your typical data centers.
For example, the company's data center in Hamina, Finland, is the only of Google's data centers — it has nine throughout the U.S. and Europe, with four more being built in Asia and South America — with a sauna. Actually, it's probably the world's only data center to feature such a luxury. But this isn't the only thing that makes this particular data center unique.
For one thing, the buildings that house Google's servers in Finland once made up a pulp mill, where typically the company builds its data centers from the ground up. The building was nearly ideal for storing servers, though, as it featured its own power substation before Google even bought it, saving the company the trouble of building one.
Unfortunately, the chilly climate of Finland didn't turn out to be a good match for the typical cooling towers needed for a data center. But, the plant had its own cooling — and green energy — solution built in, which uses arctic sea water through a tunnel to cool huge turbines which generate power from burning wood.
When Google attacks situations and problems with its trademark flair, as it did in this situation, it demonstrates very clearly why it is one of the top tech companies in the world.
In October, Google provided the world with a peak into its usually off-limits data centers, including the Finland data center, in the form of a website filled with pictures, and even a Street View-based tour of the company's North Carolina data center.
In September, the company unveiled its Spanner distributed database, which is to be the successor for Google's Megastore database.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey