Monday Jan 28, 2008

New Year, New Tours!

The new tour stops for the U.S. are posted and the truck is already rolling. I have a list of new equipment for the tour to post, and there are new systems on display outside of the truck while you wait for your tour.

Just out of curiosity, I put all of the stops on a Google Map to see what the new tour looked like, and here it is!


View Larger Map

Now that's a lot of stops!

So, in addition to the usual stuff (pictures from the stops, side-notes, yadda yadda), I have a few technical dives thought out for the coming months, including some discussion on the heart of the box...the environmental controls. How fun is this going to be? More fun then playing that Stone Roses song I bought with my hard earned cash on Guitar Hero III, that's how fun. More fun than a Ron Paul online fund-raising event event, and no Paypal button taunting you!

See you at the Denver stop for sure...but that Madtown stop in Wisconsin is awfully compelling as is the stop in Minneapolis. Spring is a beautiful time of year up there in the North.

Here is a shot from Australia, loading the shipping container onto a truck.

I have some "heavy lifting" to do myself to crank up some new maps. I've been doing it with SmugMug, I have to check if their JSON solution is fully spun up so I can convert to it. So, look for the new maps soon!

Tuesday Dec 04, 2007

Saludos desde Mexico

Buenos días mis amigos,
Todo va bien en la Ciudad de México.
Giddyup caballos...
Tener un gran día,

Dan Campbell, on tour with Project Blackbox, started forwarding pictures from our stop in Mexico City this week (as well as fragments of Spanish...). This is our third country on the North American tour with Brazil coming up early next year.

Here is a picture from the early look session before the tours started:

Today is the last day in Mexico City, the truck gets bundled up this evening for a 600 mile journey North to Monterrey, Mexico. Monterrey is the second largest population center in Mexico.

Buenos dias mis amigos.

Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Trivia, Going Underground, Upcoming Dates

While we continue to eat leftovers from Thanksgiving here in the U.S., the multiple Project Blackbox Tours roll on. We finished up Seoul last week and the container was bundled up for its trip to Sydney and Canberra Australia. Canberra is Australia's largest inland city and is the seat of government for Australia.

The local information and handouts are always fascinating to me, here is one from the stop in Seoul.

Amongst other things, there is a bit of trivia on the handout. While listening attentively in my Solaris Internals class I've been learning the Korean language on the side (actually, the translation comes from Jacob Yang, Systems Marketing Manager in South Korea). The trivia on the handout reads:

What's the code name of Sun's mobilized data center?

If you need some help, it is a part of the URL you used to get here ;-)

Here's a trivia question for you, if Blackbox is the code name for this thing, what is the price listed name going to be? Can't tell...sorry...but feel free to take a guess!

And speaking of price-listing, you must have seen the recent articles like Sun to set up underground data center to save on power or Sun goes underground in Japan ! 30 containers with 10,000 cores at a depth of 100 meters. A little management with Sun xVM for the systems may be in order so you don't have to go visit this thing all the time!

The upcoming tour stops are:


  • Sydney / Canberra Australia from 12/18 to 12/20
  • Mexico City the week of 12/3
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil, week of February 18th

Sunday Nov 25, 2007

Seoul, South Korea

The Project Blackbox Tour was in Seoul, South Korea last week. Did you know that almost half of South Korea's population resides in Seoul? Well, for the November 21st stop, they were also residing in sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures with snow. The cold didn't stop the turnout, as you can see in this picture of the line going into the container:

Here are the same folks in the general session.

As usual, customers had excellent ideas. One customer proposed palm pilots / small screens on the sides of the racks to give status. Does anyone out there use Palm Pilot's for there data center management? Love to hear from you as a usability case study!

Another customer proposed we rename the project to the Sun Ubiquitous Datacenter and the U-Datacenter for short.

Jacob Yang provided this link to a quick walk-through of the unit in Seoul.

Here is a final shot of the Project Blackbox unit by the fountain where the tours were at.

Thanks Jacob for the information!

Wednesday Nov 14, 2007

Pictures from Calgary

This week, the Project Blackbox Tour in the Americas is in Reno at the HPC convention (where our StorageTek 5800 is taking the world by storm). Dan Campbell sent me these beautiful pictures from Calgary last week though.

Here is a shot of the cab and skyline:

Note that this shows the generator connections from the back of the semi. They connect up to the Project Blackbox tour unit and the chiller.

Here is a picture of a group of tour attendees outside of Project Blackbox along with the Calgary skyline again:

That is from the bed-level of the semi looking down towards the doors of the Project Blackbox tour unit.

I have many more pictures from Dan in the SmugMug Gallery that I keep with everything delivered to me (take note, there are some great shots for presentations if you are building something about the Project Blackbox Tour).

We return to Canada next week, to Vancouver specifically. The plan is to be open for tours on November 20th. An interesting note is Vancouver's arts community. Many popular TV shows and movies have been filmed there, not the least of which is the first 5 seasons of the X Files (did you hear the rumor that a new movie is in the works?????). Project Blackbox is an interesting solution for remote movie production...on site computer alien and gross computer effects generation). A great storage solution for all of that HD footage being captured these days as well.

Tuesday Nov 13, 2007

Square Peg through Square Hole - Arriving in Tokyo

The beauty of using a standard shipping container for a data center was illustrated again as we arrived on land for the Tokyo tour stop (Monday, November 12th to Wednesday, November 14th). This is truly the case of fitting a Square Peg of 4.0 meters through a square hole of 4.2 meters.

Here is a wider shot as the semi pulls off the ship:

Tokyo Tower can be seen in the background of this picture (its not far from the Tokyo Prince Hotel where we are positioned for tours).

Here are some interesting notes about Tokyo Tower. Since its opening in 1958, the Tokyo tower has been the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower, 8.6 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower (not including the TV antenna on the Tokyo Tower). While the tower is higher, it is also MUCH lighter than the Eiffel Tower weighing in at about 4,000 tons (as opposed to the Eiffel Tower's 7,300 tons).

Thursday Nov 01, 2007

Driving Project Blackbox

Have you ever wondered how you get a semi carrying a modular data center into a lunch room for a group of tour attendees? Denise Dipaola edited this video of our tour truck entering CEC a couple of weeks ago. It is a classic, up there with the video of the shake test.

Note: Moved to a pop-up window to avoid long load times.
Driving Project Blackbox

I have to ask after watching the video though, how do they keep that rig so shiny? Seriously, don't they ever hit a puddle or something? If I drove the thing around it would be covered in mud and have all sorts of water bottles and Halloween candy all over it.

Thanks for the video Denise and thanks for posting Laurent!

Speaking of "driving in", I have pictures of our Calgary stop that should be wrapping up real soon now. Once its closed up, the truck will be shipping out to Reno, a whopping 1,300 miles away...a 30 hour drive.

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Saturday Oct 27, 2007

Wrap-up: Beijing and San Antonio

Its a wrap, the wandering minstrels have played (shown here in San Antonio).

The North America unit is on its way to Calgary for a showing next week while the Beijing unit is shipping out to Tokyo for the week of November 12th.

Anthony Liao has been excellent getting me pictures and information, Thank You Anthony. Here is a little wrap-up information from Day 3 in Beijing (slightly edited):


  • Individual sessions were arranged for FSI, Government, Education, Petroleum
    and Transportation industry customers. Three executive partner sessions were also allocated. Finally, an open house was set aside for Sun employees and partners. As a result, a total of 155 customers/partners, and around 20 Sun employees participated in today's event.

  • Two education customers who came from Hainan Province, which is far away from Beijing, played a special visit to the PBB Tour site during their business trip to Beijing.
  • Blackbox项目巡展能够在北京举办我感到非常激动。三天的活动完满地划上
    了句号。 本次活动再一次印证了Sun的创新技术给市场带来的突破性产品,
    这种展示在中国是史无前例的。三天的展示吸引了众多客户,合作伙伴,
    媒体以及Sun的员工, 共计400多人。大家踊跃提问,赞不绝耳。我不断听到
    来自客户的赞誉:“Sun的创新实在太伟大了”,“Blackbox开启了许多应用领域”,
    “这个家伙果然工作”。当地媒体竞相报道Blackbox项目巡展的消息,网络媒体
    更抢先报道。

Thanks Anthony, and the entire team from Beijing. In the picture above we have Paul Li (the author of the Chinese content for the blog who is Director, Marketing for Sun Microsystems Greater China GEM), Nan Li, Lizzy Li, Grace Hui, Anthony Laio (marketing driver for the tour in Beijing / China)...the names are from Left to Right, starting with Paul (who has hair like me) all the way to Anthony (who has true "Executive" hair and probably has a great career ahead of him) :-)

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