EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Since the inception of computing, server rooms and data centers have made debuts across the silver screen. From Johnny Depp to Keanu Reeves, celebrities manage to continuously capture imaginations with sci-fi style server rooms and data centers. They’re swaying public opinion about tech and are part of a certain cultural canon.

Whether these locations are decked out in exciting lights or look dark and dangerous, audiences appreciate these tension-building scenes. In more than a few movies, a malicious guy sneaks into the server room to steal data, plant bugs or upload malware onto computing resources.

In parallel, these scenes often quietly function to present social commentaries on technological trends and offer compelling conceptualizations of future technological advances.

Ready for the action? Here are Hollywood’s best server room and data center portrayals.

  1. Transcendence (2014) https://youtu.be/QheoYw1BKJ4

    In the movie, the data center is constructed for the price of $38 million. It’s allegedly located five stories underground. The location functions as a built-in security measure. The data center leverages solar panels to power day-to-day operations and Johnny Depp’s character managed to build them and repair them on his own.

  2. Skyfall (2012) https://youtu.be/oXt_lLKVdD4
    In this James Bond film, the data center is controlled by the movie’s villain. The data center itself looks like data centers of the 2012 era; rough, bare walls, wires, computers. CEO of Compass Data Centers dubbed the film, “…[the] data center movie of the year.”
  3. Iron Man 2—Powered by Oracle (2010) https://youtu.be/p3AIrW41Z8w

    Iron Man moved full-steam ahead with technology-related themes. Believe it or not, Larry Ellison, CTO of Oracle, made a minor cameo appearance within this film. Oracle’s cloud data centers and exadata centers also appear on screen.

  4. Ocean’s Eleven (2001) https://youtu.be/Qb2tjzecJX4

    Depicting a classic data center, Ocean’s Eleven includes an extortion scheme. Do you want to lose $80 million quietly, or would you prefer to lose $160 million publicly? The actors hack into security camera feeds and masterfully attempt to execute their heist.

  5. The Matrix (1999): Human Powered Data Center https://youtu.be/IojqOMWTgv8

    Enough said. It’s The Matrix. But if we have to say a few words, the data center depicted here is 100% central to the movie’s continuity; as is Keanu Reeves.

  1. A Space Odyssey (1968) https://youtu.be/c8N72t7aScY

    The film was made in 1968 and offers realistic predictions regarding the future of artificial intelligence and other computing-related technologies. Although some people find Kubrick’s data center cameo meditative and circumspect, others find it lethargic. Nonetheless, the film is a classic and its spot on this list is well-deserved.

Server rooms and data centers will forever be critical components of movie plotlines, as they’re iconic and, as mentioned previously, representative of a certain cultural canon. Cue the beeping sounds, computer-generated imagery and biometric sensors that require for someone to put their eye next to the glass panel.

As cyber security concerns loom ever larger, we are liable to witness an increase in data center cameos. Ransomware attacks often feel as though they’re straight out of a sci-fi movie anyway…17 countries and 1,000 organizations affected in under 3 minutes? That one’s not out of a movie—That was last Friday. Click here for details.