Data Centers

Portable data centers gain more attention

After Sun, Google, and Microsoft, tech giant Intel is considering the advantages of developing portable data centers.

After Sun, Google, and Microsoft, tech giant Intel is considering the advantages of developing portable data centers.

An excerpt from Data Center Knowledge:

The cost of building a new data center is extremely high -- between $40 million and $60 million. As an alternative, we are considering placing high-density servers on racks in a container similar to those you see on container ships and trucks. We estimate that the same server capacity in this container solution will reduce facility costs by 30 percent to 50 percent versus a brick-and-mortar installation. Because it's a small, contained environment, cooling costs are far less than for traditional data centers. Even if we build a warehouse-like structure to house the containers (thus addressing security and environmental concerns), the cost is dramatically less per square foot. In fact, the difference is so great that with this solution, brick-and-mortar data centers may become a thing of the past.

Sun Microsystems with its BlackBox, Google with its patent on a portable datacenter design, and Microsoft with its concept of a mobile data center are all on the brink of evolving mobile data center solutions.

But how quick will the adoption be, considering the investment in present data center technologies?

3 comments
pr.arun
pr.arun

But how quick will the adoption be, considering the investment in present data center technologies?

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

we have too many disparate servers from dift companies and change going on, plus not big enuf to justify a half tainer full. Sun has said it would preconfig with other brand servers but in our case we don't know ahead of time of new installs that often require their hardware or preferred on the other hardware. The tainers still need heavy duty PDU conx. cooling built in is nice but then you are limited at changing the server / device config if it means increased power density the std tainer config PDUs or cooling can't handle. I'd be interested in seeing what envtl / power monitoring and redundancy for pwr, cooling is available for the tainers. If that is substandard compared to modular buildout in a constructed DC then that would mean even large ISPs wouldn't want the tainers, maybe only companies that need quick adds of large amounts of semi standard servers and have redundant sites elsewhere. My other concern is that companies would park these behind the building which means less separating them (one 1/8" layer of steel) from falling trees, water rusting thru, thieves, etc. They would do better in another structure as mentioned but that means you might need to be cooling that second structure around it with all the quite substantial heat from a tainer load of servers, esp if you have more than just one. I guess we just have to keep plugging away at our Moore's race making them smaller, use less juice & cooling, etc. Would be interesting to see more analysis of how they work out after in pdn at various kinds of sites, and what advantages, disadvantages they end up finding in the real world, not just the marketing literature. [ed.] one more thing - I'm guessing that for simplification these companies only offer the power setup configuration (dual redundancy, power per rack, breaker locations, etc) in one configuration. Simply put, there is no one 'best' configuration for every company as reliability and cost reqts vary. If they are trying to sell these things based only on the convenience of the container (and cost) and have only one inflexible config then they won't sell as many as they could. If instead they work with modular DC infrastructure companies to make several versions with higher and lower cost / redundancy / flexibility, they could storm the market (my other concerns of storing containers outdoors aside). I'm guessing they don't ship these in dift rack / power / cooling configs, that they have the 'not invented here' syndrome. Could be wrong.

dnudelman
dnudelman

Technology has a cost. Infraestructure amortization takes time. I guess the adoption of Portable Data Centres will increase in time, but as any other technology, new project will consider it, and companies that already have a recent investiment will not consider it very soon. Just as everything.

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