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May 5, 2021

The 5 Largest Data Centers: What Makes Them Special & How to Become One

(Or at least one of the most efficient)

Top largest datacenters

The datacenter industry is growing fast and making huge steps towards efficiency, optimization and sustainability.  Catalyzed by the growth in entertainment, demand around cloud and edge services, and the COVID context has turned this need into a race of how big datacenter colocation companies have to scale in order to meet these needs.

What are the 5 biggest DCs in the world right now?

  • Harbin Data Center in Heilongjiang, China
  • Kolos Datacenter in Norway, Europe
  • The Citadel in Reno, United States
  • China Telecom Inner Mongolia
  • Utah Datacenter in United States

What Makes These Data Centers Stand Out?


Data center
2.000.000 m2
150 MW
UnknownChina MobileBuilding design & gardens
Kolos Datacenter6.500.000 ft2
600.000 m2
70 MW
(up to 1000MW)
Will be 100% renewable energyKolosPerfectly integrated with the natural landscape
The Citadel1.300.000 ft2
120.037 m2
(up to 17.4M ft2)
650 MW 
(fully operative)
100% renewable sourcesSwitch260 patented innovations (construction & operation)
China Telecom Inner Mongolia Inform. Park3.200.000m2
295.475 m2
150 MWUnknownChina TelecomColocation Facility
Cloud Node
5.415.000 ft2
500.000 m2
65 MWUnknownDatabankCloud Node
Colocation Facility

Fresh New Challenges

The data centers construction industry is anticipated to grow by  21% every year in the next 3 years. This is not surprising if we consider the growing demand for f IoT services, cloud, gaming & rendering and the aftermath of the COVID-19 global pandemic  All of this is in addition to the 29 billion devices that will be connected to the global network by 2023.

But, how is this growth gonna be? An indiscriminate era of building the typical data centers? Or is it gonna be a fully optimized new business model?

How to Build/Convert an Existing Data Center Into an Optimized and Huge DC: Starting With the 6 Holy Letters At the Very Core of a Datacenter: TCO & ROI

The first steps you must take when starting the construction of a new data center is, check the TCO and the ROI. But, what indicators should we keep in mind if we want to achieve the lowest TCO and the shortest ROI?

  1. The power: if it can be 100% renewable, even better! It should be profitable in many different ways, like cost efficiency, regulations and taxes, flexibility, and a sustainable approach will always be a better choice for investors or/and customers. 
  2. The cooling: A few months ago we saw the announcement from  Microsoft about the implementation of double-phase cooling, a clear indicator of the need for innovative ways of cooling, far away from air cooling or other complex liquid cooling systems. If our cooling system is able to reduce costs and carbon emissions, while it can monetize the heat of the servers, well… who said that cooling can’t heat?
  3. The space: The era of making profits from square feet is over. The most efficient data centers have the highest densities in the least space possible. This indicator is closely linked to the cooling system, as with immersion cooling tanks we’re able to achieve the highest densities, even being them (tanks) optimized by themselves in the use of power and cooling when operating at half capacity.
  4. Automation: W We are not far away from complete automation of the daily operative tasks within a data center. When considering scalability, we always need to think of our Data centre as this huge warehouse of data that can be managed efficiently by good software and our friends the robots. 
  5. Sustainability: The success of this indicator is dependent on all of the others described above.  w A conscious strategy that is respectful of the planet and our society is always a win-win. The “green” approach can be implemented from different angles, or from all of them at once: green energies, the smart use of resources (water & power waste), a circular economy plan (with the re-use of heat, monetizing water, etc.) and a compensation program that gives balance to your Datacenter carbon footprint (like social responsibility plans as reforestation, animal shelters, use of green vehicles, recycling policies, etc.).

Looking at all of these indicators together, we also have 4 aspects that the history and the trends of the industry that are screaming at us to keep in mind if we want to build (or convert) the most efficient datacenter in the world:

  • Innovation
  • Modularity 
  • Agnosticity 
  • Plug & Play

Now that we have all the ingredients to start cooking up an amazing Datacenter, shall we?

If you want to know more about how to build a Smart Datacenter take a look at the ebooks: “5 pillars to build a Smart DC”.

China Telecom:https://www.sunbirddcim.com/blog/top-10-energy-consuming-data-centers-infographic

Xataka: https://www.xataka.com/pro/asi-cinco-cpds-grandes-mundo#comments

Technology Magazine: https://www.technologymagazine.com/top10/top-10-data-centres/barcelona-supercomputing-center-1

Datacenters.com: https://www.datacenters.com/locations

Hdrinc: https://www.hdrinc.com/portfolio/kolos-data-center

Kolos: https://kolos.com/why-kolos/#sustainability 

Utah: https://nsa.gov1.info/utah-data-center/ 

Baxtel: https://baxtel.com/data-center/harbin

Pwc Research: https://www.pwccn.com/en/research-and-insights/chinese-cities-of-opportunities-2020-report.pdf

Hhtt News: http://en.hhhtnews.com/2020-04/22/c_57360.htm https://www.reportlinker.com/p05442034/Data-Center-Construction-Market-Global-Outlook-and-Forecast.html?utm_source=GNW

Switch the citadel: https://www.switch.com/the-citadel/

PR news Wire https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/outlook-on-the-data-center-power-global-market-to-2026—5g-to-grow-edge-data-center-investments-301255845.html