Hardware & Infrastructure
News
10/17/2006
10:17 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Sun Builds Data Centers Inside Shipping Containers

An instant "data center in a box" can be packed with storage, networking gear, and as many as 250 servers.

No space for a data center? No problem, says Sun Microsystems. The server vendor on Tuesday showed off a "data center in a box," a new product line for the company that packs a conventional shipping container with storage, networking gear, and as many as 250 servers to provide instant computing power or create an alternative for data center expansion where space and power is limited.

Sun says it can offer highly-dense installations of servers or storage inside the 20-foot-by-8-foot-by-8-foot metal containers. Sun can create installations that are 20% more energy efficient than a traditional data center, in a third the space and at a fifth the cost, and have the equipment operating 10 times faster, says Anil Gadre, chief marketing officer.

"This is ready-to-go infrastructure," Gadre says. "What is pushing us in this direction is that space and cooling issues have suddenly become paramount."

Gadre says Sun can put about 250 of its x86-based Galaxy servers or UltraSparc T1-based servers inside a single container, or more than 1.4 petabytes of storage. Designed for maximum density, the equipment inside the container is surrounded by a water-chilled cooling system.

The data centers can be quickly deployed in business parking lots, or even dropped by helicopter on the top of high-rise building, Gadre says. The containers have shock absorption for easy transport, and have integrated networking and power distribution in addition to centralized cooling.

Sun believes the approach will appeal to companies in "hypergrowth" modes that will use the data center containers to gain additional capacity within weeks or days, and to companies that have little room for expansion or have a limited ability to increase power coming into a facility.

The effort known as Project Blackbox is aimed at Web-based companies and high-performance computing installations. Other applications could include military, oil exploration, and for deployments in developing regions.

"I heard a cute e-mail over the weekend that noted it takes longer to build a traditional data center from scratch than it took to create YouTube and sell it to Google for $1.6 billion," Gadre says. "Our end game is to provide preconfigured infrastructure."

TAKE OUR POLL
Where To Put Your Data Center
What is your company's top criteria when siting a data center?

Sun says it will start taking orders this week, and that it would take several weeks or more to build and deliver the instant data center. It wouldn't discuss prices. In the mean time, Sun plans to spend the next six months talking to potential customers to see if it can build standardized offerings. If Sun can create standard installations that meet the requirements of a significant number of potential customers there will be improvements in both cost and in terms of how long it takes to create a deployable container.

The more custom the design, the longer it would take to get the container filled and shipped, Gadre says. Sun says it could place non-Sun gear inside the containers. The data center containers could eventually be sold by third parties, including businesses that traditional have sold modular office buildings, he says.

Return to the story:
The Best And Worst Cities For Data Centers

View the chart:
Total Annual Operating Cost Rankings

Continue to the blog:
IT Jobs In Jeopardy To Enemy Within

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July10, 2014
When selecting servers to support analytics, consider data center capacity, storage, and computational intensity.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join InformationWeek’s Lorna Garey and Mike Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, an engineering and research firm focused on maximizing technology investments, to discuss the right way to go digital.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.