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) :-)

Thursday Oct 25, 2007

Even Super Heroes are Curious about Project Blackbox

Its possible that you have not heard of GEO Man yet. He is quietly acquiring CPU and storage resources in an effort to defend the world from...well, bad stuff I guess. Here is GEO Man appropriately visiting Project Blackbox Tour in San Antonio:

I discussed the topic of super heroes (and villians) in a very early blog. You see, super heroes and super villians have to be careful about building permanent data centers. A super-hero data center should be quicker to deploy than a normal data center and quicker to tear down as well.

Using standard super hero powers, like laser-eyes to carve a flat pad out of a mountain and super cold breath so you don't need a chiller (CPU and storage don't mind if your breath is bad...just that it can take the place of a chiller, I would imagine any of your normal super-villians would have super bad cold breath), a super hero can quickly get their Project Blackbox contained resources up and running to save the world from...well, bad stuff.

Seriously though, the Project Blackbox North America / Canada Tour spent this week in Texas. We were at the GEOINT 2007 Government Conference, thus partially explaining GEO man.

Here is another shot of Project Blackbox behind the sandwich line :-) And, no, the drinks were not kept cold in one of open racks in the tour unit. While the air circulating through the container tends to depend on the settings on the chiller itself, the variance is from 20 degrees Celsius or so up to about 40 degrees Celsius (68 to 104 Farenheit for myself and all of my U.S. friends). This is too warm for most beer (except for maybe Coors).

Next week the U.S. Tour is making the l-o-n-g journey up to our friends to the North, in Calgary A.B. (Alberta) and we'll be open for tours on November 1st.

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Monday Oct 22, 2007

Beijing Tour Local Coverage, Sticker and a Tour Greeting

The folks in Beijing working with the tour continue to feed me great information to forward on to you. First, for some local, in depth coverage of today's Project Blackbox launch in Beijing, go to the 51CTO.com site. 51CTO collaborated with Sun Microsystems to broadcast the launch event live. Appropriately, the entire site is in Chinese.

Next, here is the 3rd in a series of 4 backdrops and stickers from the event:

Here is a tour report (only slightly edited for blog formatting) from Anthony Liao and Paul Li who are with the tour in Beijing:


The Event in Day 1 went through smoothly and successfully with a general session, ribbon cutting ceremony and the press conference in the morning and customer sessions for Huawei, CMCC and CTC and the press interview in the afternoon. Nearly 200 people attended the Day 1 activities with great interests. An Olympic Preparation Committee meeting was held in the same Hotel at the same time. The PBB attracted quite a number of committee members who looked at the PBB with great interest.

We started the general session on Monday, at 9am which is usually bad time (first workday in the week, after China's major countrywide meeting ended the day before in Beijing) and Beijing's traffic at morning rush hour is simply bad. However the room was 80% to 90% full at 9am. Shortly after we started, the room was filled.

The press session was another full house, with 40 publications/media represented. The Q&A session was very active and we had to hold back the questions in order to allow the journalists sufficient time to tour the BB in small groups of 6 people.

"Blackbox项目成功打造了全球第一个移动虚拟化数据中心,提供了极佳的能源、
空间和性能效益,专用于满足空间狭小、动力及冷却耗电已达负荷的用户的需求,
将为客户带来快捷经济的数据中心部署,实现了数据中心的全新革命,使数据中心应用更加普及。
此次在中国巡展引起的广泛反响,证明了Sun Blackbox项目的强大客户利益。” by Paul Li,
Marketing Director, Greater China.

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