back to article Data centre reveals it modeled interiors on The Hunt for Red October sets

Australian serial entrepreneur Bevan Slattery has revealed that he told the architects of a data centre he funded to make it resemble the sets used in classic submarine flick The Hunt for Red October. Slattery founded Australian data centre concern NEXTDC and yesterday took to LinkedIn with news that when he briefed architects …

  1. Joe W Silver badge


    I really like the "Red October" setting based appearance. Imagine how much fun that was for the architect and crew involved to build this!

    Ours is all standard components, we are not allowed such niceties (I understand and appreciate the reasons, especially under the current situation). However, it looks a bit like the death star. The head BOFH hates beige computer boxes, so everything is black. Our main vendor (don't ask me, I was in there once for a tour and a few pints afterwards) has really nice doors for their racks. Everything black, shiny, grates, glass, and the ubiquitious blinking lights...

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: Fun!

      Just going to leave this here, with no comment.

      1. Bob7300

        Re: Fun!

        I'll raise you:

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Fun!

      Good job he wasn't a Spaceballs fan and ask for Plaid! :-D

  2. Snake Silver badge

    They got it WRONG

    That shot from The Hunt for Red October is *not* in the reactor room, those tubes are the exterior surfaces of the launch tubes for the intercontinental nuclear missiles that the submarine, as a "boomer"-type, holds. That area is nicknamed the "Forest" by submariners, as the tubes tower over you like giant trees.

    You can't come close to a nuclear reactor in a warship, they are not only contained in compartments that are sealed from 'normal' entry during operations, the reactor is so heavily shielded that they just resemble massive 'lumps' that take up a huge amount of space. For example


    On a submarine, only the Forest has the wide open spaces that are displayed in the scene from Red October.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: They got it WRONG

      In the film the Red October is a Soviet sub not a US sub!

      On US craft the reactor is a sealed unit. On Soviet craft it was possible to get close enough to be irradiated.

      I went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole a while back on Soviet Nuclear Submarine disasters, making me no expert. I was chilled by reading of men who went to repair the reactor cooling system knowing it would lead to their slow and painful deaths.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: They got it WRONG

        when you simply take into consideration most people's concepts of a nuclear reactor, how big it is, etc. it's easy to see how the general public would misunderstand missile tubes for nuclear propulsion stuff.

        Looking inside of an actual reactor compartment is pretty boring. You have a bunch of large pipes and pumps and other bulky things with thick insulation on them, that twist and turn within a small space, around a giant metal thing covered in more insulation, with a few other large metal things that have large insulated pipes going in and out out of them. You crawl around a bit, and duck your head a lot, and have to 'frisk' yourself down when you leave with a pancake-shaped geiger counter, in case something radioactive got on you. And nobody allowed in while the reactor is 'critical' (i.e. operating). ['critical' simply means that the neutron production and depletion rates generally match, so the nuclear reaction is balanced and controlled, generally "at power" making steam for electricity and propulsion, but it's a typical lame joke to play on newbies to act like you panic when it's announced on the P.A. system].

        in any case, the missile bay has that nice perspective thing going.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Pretty boring

          Exactly. You will never find a (de-restricted) photo of a submarine's reactor room, but here is a photo of a scale model of one

          Nothing but a super-shielded reactor, pumps, pressururizers, pipes and heat exchangers. Really an unimpressive, yet subconsciously frightening, sight - you know what's on the other side of that metal will kill you outright (at that proximity).

          I've toured decommissioned nuclear submarines. The reactor room was behind a porthole and the only thing you saw was...just as described here. Big, big, big machinery and cylinders, just painted, a big mechanical room, that's all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pretty boring

            Sure you will - here's the reactor room from a Sierra 2 (same reactor type as a Typhoon).


      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Close enough to be irradiated

        which goes along my point, "You can't come close to a nuclear reactor in a warship, they are not only contained in compartments that are sealed from 'normal' entry during operations". As I said, "normal" entry and "can't come close during operations". Even in U.S. warships you can gain access to the reactor, you just don't do it whilst the reactor is 'critical' (operational).

        So Red October's scene being the reactor? Double-no.

      3. el_oscuro

        Re: They got it WRONG

        If you really want to go down a rabbit hole, check out Blind Man's Bluff:

  3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge


    Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please.

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: PING!

      Our parrot loved that part, pinging happily along with the movie. Bloody loud he was, as well.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: PING!

      Is it the bottom of the hour already?

      ~ Ivan

    3. Atomic Duetto

      Re: PING!

      Ah Jaysùs.... made me look

    4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: PING!

      But my Morse is so rusty I could be sending him dimensions on playmate of the month...

    5. KarMann Bronze badge

      Re: PING!


  4. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    A data centre I have occasionally visited would benefit from being honest and remodelling itself on Nostromo. Not and employer I would like to be beholden to.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      The design of Cray supercomputers (as shown in their 1980s adveets in National Geographic) are reminiscent of hibernation cells in Alien, the radial layout. Hmm, actually, just looking at images of the Cray-1 now - it actually looks more at home in Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        One of my favourite movies...just for the product placement.

        AT&T changed their logo shortly after it was released. And the Picturephone never happened...but Skype did.

        The computer displays, ISTR, were all done in consultation with IBM, thus the dead black surround and lots of blue and white.

        // No HAL icon???

        1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          They even had iPads

      2. swm Silver badge

        But it seats 12.

  5. Roger Greenwood

    That DC picture shows the boring bit

    where the power comes in (TX) and DRUPS, not the interesting stuff. Yes I only get to visit the boring stuff (until it goes wrong, then it gets interesting).

  6. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge


    "Right, so the look we're going for is 'hollowed out volcano'. I want the server racks over there, the perimeter monorail is going there, the wall-mounted armoury over there, we can have the stone-walled confinement cells over there and I'd like a narrow bridge with no handrails over a shark pool here, leading to a podium with a big desk, large enough to sit behind stroking a white cat. For the general feel, think stainless steel, natural rock and I need a siren system. That's architecture sorted out, now to design the boilersuits for the men and the minidresses for the women. Busy, busy, busy!"

    1. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge

      Re: Remodelling

      You are Elon Musk and I claim my five pounds (of gold).

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Remodelling

        Is that 5 lbs to LEO, GEO or Lunar NRHO?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Remodelling

          Ok, so I looked it up and now I know what NRHO is. It seems the lunar gateway is going to spend a lot of time a long way from the moon. I'm sure there must be a good reason for that.

          1. el_oscuro

            Re: Remodelling

            I think it is because the gravity is wonky on the Moon. Different rock densities cause it to vary and things that orbit too close tend to crash.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Remodelling

          > Is that 5 lbs to LEO, GEO or Lunar NRHO?

          I'm on a budget so I would say LEGO.

      2. el_oscuro

        Re: Remodelling

        Elon Musk's secret volcano lair is in Olympus Mons.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remodelling

      How about a dark and industrial feel, with steel floor, walls and ceiling There would be the occasional hole dissolved through by accidental spillages of Hydrochloric acid, and of course, poor quality lighting and plenty of unlit alcoves that are difficult to see into....

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Remodelling

        ..and the occasional boxes of bullets and first aid kits in random locations.

    3. seven of five Silver badge

      Re: Remodelling

      Seeing we have a man of taste here, could I also interest you in an unlimited supply of mindless goons (terrible shots at no surcharge, only this week) and a couple of not-so-secret, unguarded rear entrances right to $critical_part_of_installation?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Remodelling

        As long as it has a very slow one car monorail

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: Remodelling

      Lasers...don't forget the high power laser!

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Remodelling

        No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

        1. KarMann Bronze badge

          Re: Remodelling

          Whew! For a moment there, I thought you expected me to do coordinate substitution in my head while strapped to a centrifuge!

  7. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge

    Hmm ...

    I suspect that some of electrical installations I have seen are based on the Seaview from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

    All they needed were some extras doing the rock-and-roll as fuses exploded in showers of sparks.

  8. james_smith

    Last employer where we had our own physical servers in a data centre, the place reminded me of the the funeral home in Phantasm. I always felt really creeped out in there, although the worst occasion was when I wandered into a corridor to unexpectedly find one of the centre technicians sat on the floor. Wasn't helped by the technician in question looking a lot like Jabba The Hutt.

    It also had motion activated lights. You'd be sat there tapping away at the KVM keyboard when suddenly all lights would go out leaving just a few blinkenlights behind rack doors to prevent you being in pitch darkness.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "It also had motion activated lights. You'd be sat there tapping away at the KVM keyboard when suddenly all lights would go out leaving just a few blinkenlights behind rack doors to prevent you being in pitch darkness."

      No Building Regulations there which mandate always on "emergency" lights?

      1. james_smith

        I assume the emergency lights would go on if an alarm was triggered. The monitoring of who was allowed into the building and whereabouts they were was very good as well, with the swipe cards only allowing access to the specific floor and area that our kit was housed in.

  9. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge


    I like to think when it goes to shit at some point in the future it will look more like Das Boot!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021