A Rare Look Inside the Secretive Data Centres That Power the Internet

By Chris Mills on at

The data centres 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 centres that underpin the internet, and brought back these photos.

The New York facilities he visited aren’t the giant data centres 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.

A Rare Look Inside NY's Secretive Data Centers

Security guards in the lobby of 60 Hudson st, originally built as Western Union’s headquarters in 1930.

A Rare Look Inside NY's Secretive Data Centers

Biometric mantraps (double locking doors) are common security protections

A Rare Look Inside NY's Secretive Data Centers

Fibre 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 Rare Look Inside NY's Secretive Data Centers

A network operations center (NOC) where a facility is monitored and controlled.

A Rare Look Inside NY's Secretive Data Centers

20-cylinder diesel engines kick on to keep systems running if primary utilities fail.

A Rare Look Inside NY's Secretive Data Centers

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. [Peter Garritano]

Lead image: Servers racks inside a peering exchange at 85 10th Ave

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