5 Awesome Movie Data Centers

November 8th, 2011 | Posted by admin in Editorial

Do you remember the crazy supercomputer in Superman III that was so smart that it could transform a human into a robot, but didn’t understand that it needed a disaster recovery plan? What about the Tron Legacy Encom tower server room that makes poor use of space? It’s always fun to see how impractical movie technology can be, so without further adieu, here is a list of five awesome movie data centers:

1. The Encom data center from Tron: Legacy

In the movie, Sam Flynn breaks into Encom’s data center and uploads a program onto one of the servers. Notice the lack of cold-rows and hot aisles. It also appears that each cabinet has it’s own cooling unit as part of the cabinet, unless the light from the perforated tiles is also where the cold air comes in.
tron legacy server room

2. The Superman III supercomputer data center cave

If you’re a supercomputer that requires lots of cooling, there’s no place better for colocation than a cave in the desert heat of Southern Utah. The power transformers are pretty sweet too – notice the “A” and “B” legs of power?

The computer room from Superman III

3. The Data Center from the movie Wargames

Wargames was an iconic 80’s movie that combined hacking, emerging dial-up networking technologies, video games, a nuclear holocost and the cold war. Ironically, the Wargames IMSAI super computer is up for sale at Christies in November of 2011. The data center room is pretty empty except for the WOPR, and the staff making the rounds, checking out the cool, non-descript buttons and flashing lights.

The WOPR supercomputer from Wargames

4. Colossus – The Forbin Project supercomputer data center

This 1970’s Sci-fi cult classic features more cold-war era super computing power. It’s interesting to see how a massive computer room was envisioned in the 1970’s. The Colossus data center looks a lot more like a state prison than a server room.
The Colossus data center

5. Casino Server Room in Ocean’s 11

Ocean’s 11 (2001) has a scene where someone sneaks into the server room with all of their cabinets full of equipment that monitor the casino’s security systems. This one made the list because of how blue everything is – almost like a blue light will obscure the fact that he’s looking for a single Ethernet cable that will give him access to video feeds of the entire casino. It was cool enough to be research fodder for a publication titled Physical Security: Movie vs. Reality.
Ocean's 11 casino server room

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9 Responses

  • Alysha says:

    So fun to see what people think of when they hear about a data center; that they are all full of lots of really advanced black equipment, underground, with blue lights. I personally would want my data center to be easy to work in, so blue lights wouldn’t really be so great. But in a movie, it does help the viewer feel like they are looking in on a very technically advanced location.

  • Jake Wilson says:

    Lights are always used in movies to make things look technologically advanced. The blinking buttons, the lit up floors, and the blue light atmosphere of course. Where there’s a machine surrounded by lights, it surely must be doing vital compuutation things right? There are lights in real data centers, but the majority are just the white ones in the ceiling.

  • Nick Fivas says:

    Its pretty neat to see some movies and how they portray data centers. The whole idea of data centers are that they aren’t all that flashy and they get the job done semi under the radar. In non movie settings you want a practical center where when you do have to show up its easy to get in and get out.

  • todd says:

    The real question is: which movie data center would you use if you had aspirations of technological world domination? One mentioned here? Or something else entirely? Personally I’m partial to the Superman III variety, though I’m not sure if I’d let Gene Hackman run it.

    • Jake Wilson says:

      Of the ones listed in the article, I think I would choose the Wargames data center. It’s the only one that has someone checking on the equipment! Unless you count Ocean’s 11, but he’s only there to steal something.

  • Richard says:

    It’s funny to see how the Hollywood portrays data centers and how they are in real life. I especially enjoyed the description of the casino vault data center in Ocean’s Eleven.

  • Namtr0 says:

    You can always trust in Hollywood to take something docile and esthetically mundane and turn it into place that looks like the lair of a mad scientist or where anything is possible. That’s why we keep watching!

  • Alex says:

    The Encom data center is the coolest of them all, that is all I have to say. So inefficient but its all about show right?

  • Brad Burkhart says:

    The coolest data center is in Tron. The most secure is Superman III and the worst has got to be Ocean’s 11, look how easily he got into it! That’d never happen in a super secert and secure cave.

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