Under the agreement, BladeCenter would be the only blade server platform available for custom ICE Cube implementations. ICE Cube is a complete data center delivered in a 20- to 40-foot container. BladeCenter-specific configurations would reach densities up to 1,344 dual socket blades with Intel's quad-core Xeon processors or 672 quad socket dual-core Opteron chips from Advanced Micro Devices.
The IBM BladeCenter integrates servers, networks, storage, and business applications into a single system. ICE Cube will be available with either IBM's BladeCenter T or HT systems, which are certified for use by the telecommunications industry. The blades are designed to withstand extreme environments, which is where modular data centers are often deployed. Such environments include military or construction sites or oil fields.
"Including IBM BladeCenter in ICE Cube enables Rackable to expand its market reach to new customers," Mark J. Barrenechea, president and chief executive of Rackable, said in a statement.
ICE Cube with BladeCenter is currently available worldwide. Pricing was not disclosed.
Rackable is not the only vendor supplying data centers in a box. Others include Sun Microsystems, which offers the MD S20 (formerly knows as Project Blackbox), and Verari's Forest.
Microsoft is building a $500 million data center in Northlake, Ill., that houses between 150 and 220 industry-standard 40-foot shipping containers holding somewhere between 150,000 and 440,000 servers in total.
Microsoft has developed its own specifications that include, for example, configuration for electrical components and the layout of physical servers, for its containers. Those specs make Microsoft's containers different from anything on the market today, and a potential opportunity for future Microsoft products. The containers, which Microsoft calls C-blox, are largely self-contained and will require very little hands-on maintenance, according to Microsoft.