Saturday, December 28, 2013

New photo of CSEC's new headquarters

Here's the latest aerial photo of CSEC's new headquarters complex.



The large, windowless, rectangular building towards the left of the image is CSEC's data warehouse.

CSEC has described its new headquarters complex as the "largest repository of Top Secret information in Canada", and the data warehouse, Canada's version of the Utah Data Centre, is where that information will reside. [Update 2 January 2014: CSEC has also described itself as holder of "the largest volume databases in the country".]

Five twin-cell cooling towers can be seen on the ground on the west (near) side of the warehouse. The cooling towers are used to remove the waste heat generated by the massive computer arrays in the building.

Even during the winter, cooling is required. The temperature in Ottawa was around -5 degrees celsius on the day the photograph was taken, but one of the twin-cell towers can be seen in operation. This confirms that the data warehouse is now operational. (It probably became operational sometime in the past year.)

CSEC also has a high-performance computing centre at the site (the two-level rectangular building extending towards the viewer from the curved glass wall of the main building). This building, known as Pod 1, houses the most powerful supercomputers in Canada, which are used for cryptanalysis and computationally intensive data mining. A cooling tower can be seen operating on the roof of Pod 1 as well.

Earlier photos of the site can be seen here and here.

(H/T to Chuck Clark.)

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