The data centers that run the internet are kept pretty quiet, and for good reason: forget cyberattacks, a few well-placed hatchet swings could kill Snapchat worldwide. But photographer Peter Garritano recently gained access to some of the exchanges and colocation centers that underpin the internet, and brought back these photos.
The facilities he visited aren’t the giant data centers that power the likes of Google or Facebook; instead, they’re the important internet infrastructure you’ve probably never heard of: peering exchanges that trade data between telecom companies’ back-end networks, or the domain name servers that make sense of the internet.
With hundreds of thousands of servers, colourful cables and even bicycles so engineers can get around quickly, they range from a converted paper mill in Finland to custom made server farms in Iowa.
‘Very few people have stepped inside Google’s data centers, and for good reason: our first priority is the privacy and security of your data, and we go to great lengths to protect it, keeping our sites under close guard,’ the firm said.
‘While we’ve shared many of our designs and best practices, and we’ve been publishing our efficiency data since 2008, only a small set of employees have access to the server floor itself.
‘Today, for the first time, you can see inside our data centers and pay them a virtual visit.
‘On Where the Internet lives, our new site featuring beautiful photographs by Connie Zhou, you’ll get a never-before-seen look at the technology, the people and the places that keep Google running.’
Security guards in the lobby of 60 Hudson st, originally built as Western Union’s headquarters in 1930.
Biometric mantraps (double locking doors) are common security protections
Fiber optic cables enter and exit carrier hotels through underground vaults. Some of these cables run local connections, others are on their way to eventually cross the Atlantic.
A network operations center (NOC) where a facility is monitored and controlled.
20-cylinder diesel engines kick on to keep systems running if primary utilities fail.
Techs are on-site 24/7 to diagnose and fix issues for clients without immediate access to their equipment
For the full series of images, Garritano’s website is well worth a visit.