When a company brings in the team of architects who designed the Federal Reserve Building, it's fair to assume that security is a pretty big deal.
Throw in some armed guards, 800 surveillance cameras, a five-barrier entrance complete with a double-sided "man trap" and biometric hand readers at every gate and you can be sure that it's not messing around when it comes to security.
The company is Equinix IBX data center in the Silicon Valley. It offers direct access to more than 90-percent of the world's Internet networks and users, so it's no wonder the place is locked down like Fort Knox.
Online, Equinix makes it possible for us to send an email from a Yahoo! address to a Comcast subscriber, seamlessly.
On-site, Equinix has its hands full with complex operations to ensure that customer equipment is protected and functioning properly at all times.
The first order of business is power and cooling.
Now, before we start to yawn, let's all take a second and think about our day-to-day routines.
In our cars.
On our smart phones.
Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet.
Without the 15 gargantuan fans pumping 2-thousand tons of cooling at 60mph through air ducts big enough to drive a Hummer through. Some of our important emails, financial transactions or navigation searches might not be completed.
Imagine if that update didn't get to the boss on time or if the alert from a child's school wasn't received.
The power and cooling systems are so important. They make it possible for the machines at Equinix to run, so that we can go about our Internet-dependent lives.
The fans are our friends.
A man by the name of Ernest Holloway is our best friend.
He's on site every day taking readings and monitoring these systems to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
"There is no room for error. We don't take any chances or cut any corners here at Equinix," Holloway said.
More than 200 networks operate at this data center, including all of the big dogs ... Amazon, Google, Yahoo! and IBM.
Being in the same room with 2.5 megawatt generators that countries are in line to order. Supercomputers that are loaded with the kind of power that will bend your mind. Giant trays full of fiber snaking overhead in every direction as far as the eye can see, with 90 percent of the world's virtual energy pulsing through them. Well, it's enough to make anyone go weak-in-the-knees geeky.
Equinix is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Program. All of the data centers here in the Bay Area are certified green by Santa Clara County.
If you'd like to see first-hand, why they call it this place the "Fort Knox of the South Bay," click here for a video tour.