Thursday, August 7, 2008

LinuxWorld shows off the latest data center-in-a-truck

Talk about your portable servers. Rackable Systems brought its ICE Cube Modular Data Center to LinuxWorld, demonstrating how companies can literally ship their data centers from city to city, even overseas, in cool comfort.

SAN FRANCISCO (BetaNews) - Self-contained, fully portable, modular servers are becoming more popular because they help reduce data center costs, and these all-in-one data centers can be moved from location to location with ease. Over the past few years, at least two companies have created their modular centers in shipping containers that can be transported by road, rail or air.

Rackable Systems' ICE Cube modular data center has a maximum density of 28 racks of servers, for up to 1,400 units of storage. Each system is fanless to help save power and reduce overall energy costs, only water and power are needed to get ICE Cube fully functioning. ICE Cube currently supports Intel Xeon dual- and quad-core processors, along with IBM's BladeCenter T and BladeCenter HT server families.

The current ICE Cube does not have solar power support, so if power is unavailable in a certain area, a power source and chiller can be deployed in a separate ICE Cube container.

LinuxWorld shows off the latest data center-in-a-truck

During a recent test of ICE Cube in the Pacific Northwest, Rackable's engineering team evaluated the condensation sensors inside the storage container. The rain and moist air caused chaos when the doors to the container were left open, and the sensors immediately picked up on the moisture and alarms were triggered, Rackable ICE Cube demonstrators told BetaNews. In case of condensation, the sensors will alert engineers while drip pans at the bottom of each rack will collect the moisture.

Rackable recently reached an agreement with IBM to resell BladeCenter servers for the data center, offering customers another choice when it comes to equipping the shipping container. A wider variety of hardware offerings allows Rackable to help widen its reach of possible clients interested in purchasing an ICE Cube away from Internet and cloud-based services to other markets.

LinuxWorld shows off the latest data center-in-a-truck

Mobile servers are becoming increasingly important because they can be deployed much faster than regular data centers, and can be redeployed more easily than regular server farms. They also can be stored in untraditional locations; for example, it's possible to deploy a shipping container server on top of a rooftop or in an empty parking lot. Uses of these servers range from cloud computing and web-scale computing to high-performance computing and data warehouses, and the demand for such projects continues to grow.

The ICE Cube currently competes with Sun Microsystems' Modular Datacenter S20, better known as Project Blackbox. It can hold up to eight racks for 320 RU total, and 40 RU per rack.

  • A new look at technology visualization
  • Marine engines
  • Three new IBM / Linux partnerships aimed at a ‘Microsoft-free’ world
  • Oracle boosts its own Linux with ‘templates’ to aid virtualization