120 Uses for Your Empty Data Center
It is big. It is cold. It is secure. And now it is empty, because you have gone all-in to the AWS Cloud. So, what do you do with your data center? Once the pride and joy of your IT staff, it is now a stark, expensive reminder that the world has changed.
Many AWS customers are migrating from their existing on-premises data centers to AWS. Here are just a few of their stories (links go to case studies, blog posts, and videos from re:Invent):
- Delaware North – This peanut and popcorn vendor reduced their server footprint by more than 90% and expects to save over $3.5 million in IT acquisition and maintenance costs over five years by using AWS.
- Seaco – This global sea-container leasing company implemented the SAP Business Suite on AWS and reduced latency by more than 90%.
- Kaplan – This education and test prep company moved a set of development, test, staging, and production environments that once spanned 12 separate data centers to AWS, eliminating 8 of the 12 in the process.
- Talen Energy – As part of a divestiture, this nuclear power company decided to move to AWS and found that they were able to focus more of their energy on their core business.
- Condé Nast – This well-known publisher migrated over 500 servers and 1 petabyte of storage to AWS and went all-in.
- Hearst Corporation – This diversified communications company migrated 10 of their 29 data centers to AWS.
- University of Notre Dame – This university has already migrated its web site to AWS and plans to move 80% of the remaining workloads in the next three years.
- Capital One – This finance company has made AWS a central part of its technology strategy.
- General Electric – This diversified company is migrating more than 9,000 workloads to AWS, while closing 30 out of 34 data centers.
If you are curious, here’s what happens when a data center closes down:
You may be wondering what you are supposed to do with all of that cold, empty space after your migration!
With generous contributions from my colleagues (they did 85% of the work), I have compiled a list of 120 possible uses for your data center. For your reading pleasure, I have arranged them by category. As you can see, my colleagues are incredibly imaginative! There is some overlap here, but I didn’t want to play favorites. So, here you go…
Sports and Recreation
- Ice hockey rink.
- Whirlyball arena.
- Go-kart track.
- Snowshoe practice area.
- Laser tag.
- Paintball arena.
- Sweat lodge.
- Hot yoga studio.
- Immersive VR gaming arena.
- Largest paper football game. Ever.
- Portal arena.
- Paint walls black. Turn off lights. Dress in black. Water balloon fight with fluorescent paint.
- Extreme weather survival training.
- Giant domino rally.
- Venue for world’s longest paper airplane flight.
- twitch.tv live video game championship arenas.
- Bubble football arena.
- World’s largest ball pit.
- Ultimate LAN party room.
- Indoor lazy river.
- Indoor ski resort.
- Shooting range.
- All weather theme park – “Datacenter Land.”
- Segway racing track.
- Indoor surf park.
- Massive spinning studio.
- Create the World Trampoline Wallyball League (WTWL).
- Ultimate Boda Borg quest challenge.
- Indoor hang gliding wind tunnel.
- 48 state of the art gyms.
- Indoor dog park.
- Zamboni driver training facility.
Food and Beverages
- A large, cold area is perfect for growing and preserving food.
- Meat locker / meat packing facility.
- Popsicle factory.
- Wine cellar.
- Penguin sanctuary.
- Mushroom farm.
- Cheese grotto.
- Practice area for growing potatoes on Mars.
- World’s largest Easy Bake Oven.
- Electric car charging station.
- Storm shelter.
- Drone zone.
- Giant pencil case.
- Bomb shelter.
- Car wash.
- Community theater.
- Art gallery.
- Secure storage for all the money saved by using AWS.
- Cloud University.
- Solar power generation plant.
- 48 really large Airbnb opportunities.
- Maker‘s den.
Space, the Final Frontier
- Blimp Hanger with “Moffett Field, You Got Nothing on Me!” painted on the side.
- UFO storage.
- Fill with water and use as a NASA zero-gravity training facility.
- Time portal for the Restaurant at the end of the Internet.
- Blue Origin space terminal with interplanetary duty free zone.
- Use racks as studio apartments in San Francisco. Rent at $5000/month.
Dead or Alive
- Homeless shelter.
- Orphanage / charity home.
- Cryogenic human storage.
- Zombie apocalypse refuge.
- Cold therapy spa.
- Rehabilitation center.
- Snowman preservation facility.
Just Plain Weird
- Unicorn farm.
- Mattress testing facility.
- Biohazard isolation area.
- Stress-relief shattering emporium.
- Grow operation (where permitted by law).
- Military parade ground.
- Venue for all 2016 US presidential debates.
- Super ball testing facility.
- Corporate meditation center.
- Duck echo testing facility.
- Automated paper making factory for paper towels and toilet paper.
- Tour facility for worlds largest ball of Ethernet or fiber optic cable.
- Robot cat toy factory for Ethernet / fiber cable yarn balls.
- Storage for recently unearthed E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial game cartridges.
- Giant sensory deprivation tank.
- Biosphere 3.
- “Can you hear me now?” test facility.
TV and Movies
- Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good.
- Battle of Hoth reenactment.
- Trash compactor where we can put people who reveal Star Wars spoilers.
- American Gladiator or American Ninja Warrior arena.
- Hangar for Death Star.
- Fill it with water. Re-enact Finding Nemo.
- Take old printers and re-enact scene from Office Space. Call it a Silent Meditation Retreat.
- Erect transparent aluminum walls, fill with water, store whales for when aliens come to contact them.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse.
- Training center for the Knights of Ren.
- Mythbusters science lab.
- Top Gear secret race track.
- Mad Max: Server Room Rampage.
- High security storage facility for broken down Daleks.
- Tardis repair center for all things wibley wobley or timey wimey.
- Venue for next re:Play party.
- Amazon fulfillment center.
- Alternate venue for re:Invent 2017.
- AWS Import/Export Snowball processing facility.
- Amazon Fresh greeenhouse.
- Brewery for the Amazon Simple Beer Service.
- Amazon Locker site.
- Actual cloud storage (leave the A/C on and pipe in some steam).
It’s Dead, Jim
- Electronics shredding center.
- Warehouse used to refurbish decommissioned corporate computers/servers to deploy to underprivileged schools world wide for education.
- Venue to host auction for empty data centers.
- Server to host the auction website for empty data centers.
- Museum of data center history.
- “Co-location Data Center” – National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Outreach centers for all those IT Admins that claimed they would never go all-in in the cloud.
- Retro-style storage for paper files.
- Data center resort with gardens grown on servers.
- Buggy whip factory.
- Museum of technology history.
PS – Please feel free to leave suggestions for additional uses in the comments.