Infrastructure // Unified Communications
News
10/10/2007
12:32 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Google Wins Patent For Data Center In A Box; Trouble For Sun, Rackable, IBM?

The idea comes at a time when industry experts predict a worsening space crunch for data centers due to high performance demands and expensive real estate prices.

Google has obtained a broad patent for a data center in a container, which might put a kink in product plans for companies like Sun Microsystems, Rackable Systems, and IBM.

The patent, granted Tuesday, covers "modular data centers with modular components that can implemented in numerous ways, including as a process, an apparatus, a system, a device, or a method."

The overall method of assembly and delivery is similar to the pre-fabricated home or mobile home.

The U.S. Patent Trademark Office site reveals patent number 7,278,273 as describing modules in intermodal shipping containers, or those that can be shipped by multiple carriers and systems. It also covers computing systems mounted within temperature-controlled containers, configured so they can ship easily, be factory built and deployed at data center sites.

Granted to Google inventors William Whitted and Gerald Aigner, the patent also covers a method for deployment that includes building one module within a ready-to-ship container, shipment via a transport infrastructure, several computing systems mounting within the container and transporting the container to a new site via the infrastructure. Finally, it states that deployment will involve connecting at least one resource connection -- like electricity, natural gas, water and Internet access -- to at least one module.

If this sounds familiar, it might just be. Google's patent description resembles Sun Microsystems' data center in a box, called Project Blackbox. During its debut last year, Sun installed a Blackbox -- essentially a cargo container for 18-wheelers -- outside of Grand Central Station in New York City to show how easily one of their data centers could be installed.

Google's patent description also has similarities to Rackable Systems' ICE Cube as well as IBM's Scalable Modular Data Center.

While each company is expected to claim first rights to the idea of putting data center components in a shipping container, none of the companies so far have made official postures leaning toward a patent infringement suit.

The Google patent and the products come at a time when industry experts predict a worsening space crunch for data centers due to high performance demands and expensive real estate prices.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.