...And now a data center that moves

DQC Bureau
New Update


JANUARY 2, 2007


Think enterprise data centers and what comes to mind is large dedicated

facilities hosting heavy racks of servers, cable spaghetti with complex cooling


But systems and server solutions provider, Sun Microsystems has decided turn

the idea of the traditional stationary data center on its head. The company is

currently testing a prototype of a "portable data center" that is

housed in a shipping container. Dubbed "Project Blackbox", Sun feels

that this revolutionary product could translate into huge savings for


Elaborating on the initiative, Bjorn Andersson, Director of High Performance

Computing (HPC) and Integrated Systems, Sun Microsystems, said, "Blackbox

is a shipping container where we have put in the data center. This makes the

data center mobile. You don't need to go around building data centers



Sun has included everything like air conditioning, cabling, power within the


"You just have to hook up the system next to your car park," said

Simon See, Director, Systems Practice, Advanced Computing Solution, Sun


The Blackbox is a standard 20 ft container that can fit in eight racks of

around 250 systems. "If we were to equip it fully today and run a benchmark

on it, it would be in the top 500 HPC installation list," claimed Andersson.


The company is now working with pilot customers to bring it out to market. It

should be available in volume shipment globally by middle of 2007.

On the cost savings of this mobile data center, Andersson said, "We have
done some cost comparisons and also took into consideration the cost of building

a data center. If you look at it that way, this is just one per cent of the

overall cost of building a data center."

This may seem a little hard to believe but the company is confident about

this concept. In October, Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and President, Sun

Microsystems, made a statement on Project Blackbox. "Rather than trying to

improve upon today's data centre, designed for people babysitting computers,

Project Blackbox starts from the world's most broadly adopted industry standard,

the shipping container, and asks -- how can we most efficiently create modular,

lights-out data centres from this base? The answer...with one-hundredth of the

initial cost, one-fifth the cost per square foot and with 20 percent more power

efficiency, we can deliver an immense multiple of capacity and capability --

anywhere on earth."

Enterprises would have to wait until the middle of next year to check if

Blackbox can truly live up to what Schwartz promises.


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