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5/20/2009
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Interop: IBM Predicts Data Center Expansion Via Containers

Big Blue is following Rackable, HP, and Sun, which have begun to sell shipping containers already preloaded with servers, networking, and other data center equipment.

Containerized data center equipment could increasingly become a way to add capacity to existing data centers without having to build entirely new data centers, IBM cloud VP Ric Telford predicted in a presentation Wednesday at the Interop Conference and Expo in Las Vegas.

In the last year or two, IBM and other companies like Rackable, HP, and Sun Microsystems have begun to sell shipping containers already preloaded with servers, networking and other data center equipment, and according to Telford, much of the early market has been for transient needs like when companies need a lot of capacity for a short period of time somewhere away from their main data centers.

However, he said, some customers are beginning to use them for extra capacity. He compared this type of use to schools building portables as extra classrooms instead of building whole new schools. Local school systems make a value judgment, deciding that it isn't worth building a whole new school that could be fairly empty in the early years, and instead build portables first, only building new schools when they become truly necessary.

"If you can forecast what you think your IT utilization is going to be, this may be an option, that rather than buying a new data center, you just park one or two of these things behind your data center, and then plug it into the rest of the data center," he said. "Going forward, it's going to be something that's going to augment your existing data center."


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