We created a 3D model of the Amsterdam Science Park for viewing in virtual reality. A central part of the model is the datacenter owned and operated by Digital Realty, called the Amsterdam Data Tower. Here, the Dutch National e-Infrastructure, such as Cartesius and HPC Cloud, are hosted.

The purpose of the model was to show the use of thermal storage in the data center design, for conserving energy. The warm and cold storage areas are located deep under the Amsterdam Science Park, up to around 200m below ground level. A conceptual model of the storage as used in the VR demo is shown below (we added some well-known tall structures to give a sense of size):


In the datacenter power consumption is monitored on a per-rack basis. We have added playback of historical data by showing each rack as a colored bar graph. The user has a sort of “remote control” in VR for controlling playback. Here, power consumptions of a number of racks of Cartesius is shown:

Power consumption per rack shown as bar graph

The VR environment also offers some other interaction possibilities:

  • Teleport or fly to a new location
  • Show/hide the outside of the datacenter, to see on which floors the infrastructure is located. Hiding the outside also makes for easier flying to a specific floor.
  • A “maquette” view of the whole Amsterdam Science Park

Datacenter Flying SURFsara building

The 3D model was constructed based on point cloud data from the AHN and uses Unreal Engine for rendering and VR interaction. The model of the data center was provided by Digital Realty.