Sun’s Computing On Demand, Literally

Sun Microsystems is putting an entire data center in a shipping container, betting that it could help overcome the escalating real estate costs, and can (literally) provide computing on demand. The $500,000 “data center in a box” is going to be available in second half of 2007, reports John Markoff of The New York Times.
The water cooled system is painted black, and has seven racks of 35 server computers based on either Sun’s Niagara Sparc processor or an Opteron chip from Advanced Micro Devices, the New York Times writes. Sun’s new box was designed by W. Daniel Hillis, co-chairman of Applied Minds.

The expandable computer system, called Project Blackbox, is based on a standard 20-foot shipping container and can be deployed virtually anywhere there is electricity, chilled water and an Internet connection.

This reminds us of a speculative post by Bob Cringley, back in November 2005.

Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We’re talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig.

Maybe there is something to that Sun Microsystems-Google relationship after-all. Still, despite Sun’s optimism, we wonder how many will buy into this version of computing on demand. Connecting data centers to the internet is not a trivial task, and our friends who are savvy in the ways of routers and switches often share their woes over a pint.