Which Bond villain lairs make the best data centre locations?

By: Bob Landstrom

Technology has always played a major role in James Bond films. The gadgets dreamt up by Q are one of the most-hotly anticipated features of any new release in the franchise, and although some of the more fanciful tech (whistle-activated keyring bomb, anyone?) has arguably played less of a role in the latest films, technology is still deeply engrained in the series’ DNA.

And that’s not only true of the good guys. With techies across the globe keenly awaiting new releases for the gizmos as much as the far-fetched plot lines, the baddies get their fair share of technology too – think Christopher Walken’s dandyish cane which remotely-activates horse steroids (yes, really) in A View To A Kill.

With the dawn of the internet age, the tech gets more advanced and arguably more realistic. Or perhaps real-world technological advances are catching up with the writers’ imaginations. Either way, Skyfall’s menacing villain Raoul Silva was shown alongside racks and racks of (albeit suspiciously silent) hardware which he used to carry out his cyber-attacks.

With tech playing such a central role in the franchise, even Bond baddies rely on data centres these days. Which got us thinking. So ahead of the UK release of Spectre, the latest instalment in the Bond franchise, we’re taking a look at some of the best Bond villain lairs from over the years and considering whether they’d really be able to house the data centre to enable all that tech. Here we go…

Blofeld’s chalet from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Blofeld’s luxurious mountain-top pad is not exactly hidden from prying eyes, but it is sufficiently hard-to-reach to keep potential intruders at bay. With such a defensible position, physical security – understandably a prime consideration for Bond’s foes – would be a strong point, and there’s plenty of cold mountain air to provide natural cooling. But with access only possible via helicopter or cable car, the remote location would also make construction unfeasibly expensive – especially when it comes to transporting the necessary supplies such as diesel fuel.

Scaramanga’s island from The Man with the Golden Gun

And speaking of remote locations, they don’t come much more remote than Scaramanga’s tropical island in The Man with the Golden Gun. Tropical paradises are not known for their low temperatures so cooling would be an issue, although the sun’s rays would provide a plentiful source of power providing Scaramanga splurged on a sufficiently large solar array. The opportunity to work in a tropical paradise might help to attract skilled technicians seeking solitude, but we’d have to hope the under-sea telecom cables are close by.

Hugo Drax’s space station from Moonraker

Putting a data centre into space might sound like the stuff of sci-fi, but let’s face it- there is already lots of data processing happening in orbit right now. Security takes care of itself, as this is just about the most remote location we can think of. Ok, you’re probably staring down the barrel of a latency nightmare, but for sticking stuff in cold-storage, there are worse ideas out there.

Karl Stromberg’s ocean base, The Spy Who Loved Me

In terms of pure practicality, Atlantis probably leaves a bit to be desired. Sure, the shark tank might well be handy for disposing of foes but it also takes up valuable rack space (heck, no one said the life of a Bond villain would be all easy decisions.) Again though, its underwater location means security is largely taken care of, plus there’s access to all the sea water you can use for unlimited, free cooling and power from wave energy (once you’ve splurged on a shark tank, you’re going to need to make economies somewhere).

Blofeld’s volcano from You Only Live Twice

It’s in a volcano and it’s got its own monorail system. Best. Bond. Lair. Ever. And that’s without mentioning the helipads for ease of access, rocket launchers for defence, and the fact that this base is immaculately concealed inside a live volcano. If not for the volcano bit, we’d be the envy of our peers… but we’d never build a data centre in a volcano for any reason so on that point this Bond lair loses out in spite of all the coolness. We might want to borrow that piranha pool idea for one of the other sites though.