Thursday Feb 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day Austin, TX

We're at the University of Texas today in Austin, TX, home of that great Austin City Limits on PBS and a wonderful music scene from which Shawn Colvin, Charlie Sexton, and many, many other groups have come from.

I need to catch you up on tour dates coming up. Recall we are multi-national at this point. The oversea's tour moves much slower because of all of the borders and water that we have to cross ;-)

Febuary 20-21st we are in Sao Paulo, Brazil and we are in Rio de Janeiro on February 26th. It is "Carnaval" in Brazil so everyone is partying away (from what I hear ;-). Sao Paulo itself is the largest city in South America, the fourth largest by population on our tiny globe, and the center of commerce for Brazil. Surely a place that could use some densely packed CPU and Storage.

March 4-9th we are at CeBIT in Hanover, Germany. CeBIT is a HUGE show. You want to know how huge? In 2007, there were 480,000 attendees (you saw that right).

Here in the U.S., we just came from San Antonio, where Dan the driver is feeding me with a liberal amount of pictures that I faithfully keep in the gallery at SmugMug, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed if you want.

From San Antonio, we moved onto Austin today and Dallas, TX is coming on February 20th.

Thursday Feb 07, 2008

Good Morning AFCEA West Conference

The AFCEA West Conference attendees should be just waking up and having their morning rations before going down for the days activities. So... Good Morning from the Sun MD Blog!

I have a few notes and a load of pictures in the SmugMug Gallery. First of all, attendance has been exceptional. The first day of the conference we exceeded 100 folks on tour, I believe the official number was 112. BUT, we know some of you are sneaking past our bean counters...you know who you are...

Here is the first picture I have of the additional tables we have up around the SunMD Tour as people wait for their timeslot:

What are you seeing on the tables? None other than our Sun Fire x4450 system on the left and a Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 Server on the right. Note the liberal number of drive bays (2.5" SAS) in the Sun Fire x4450, this makes the same chassis ideal for storage servers, CPU grid servers, or a combination of both.

Something to remember when you look at the Sun MD, we have designed a liberal set of services to accompany the system. Many of these overlap with our non-SunMD services (like Remote Monitoring), some of them are unique to Sun MD (like Site Planning / Leveling). The complete set of services and processes around Sun MD are now on Sun Modular Datacenter Suite of Services web site.

So, if you are AFCEA West today, stop by and have another look:

If you already stopped by to have a look and you snuck past our bean counters...go back and get counted, you give me something to brag about on the blog ;-)

Tuesday Feb 05, 2008

Sun MD Tour Truck vs. Sun Sponsored Race Car

Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA hosted the Sun MD Tour on 1/22 and 1/23 along with its Smokey and the Bandit side-kick, a Sun-sponsored Ford Mustang race car. You'll remember that Smokey and the Bandit had a '77 Pontiac Trans Am...did I ever want that car back in the day. It turns out 7 of them were used during filming and destroyed.

Well, the Sun MD tour is not carrying an illegal shipment of Coors across state lines and, hopefully, Sheriff Buford T. Justice (respects to Jackie Gleason) is not chasing down the driver.

In terms of raw speed, obviously I'd take the race car. In terms of bandwidth, I'm going with the Sun MD S20 on the truck. Using the Sun MD Data Warehouse Solution (containing 63 Sun Fire X4500s), you can house around 3 Petabytes of storage (click through to find other interesting configs):

Driving with my trusty side-kick (the Sun-sponsored Race Car shown above), I can transfer those 3 Petabytes of storage from San Francisco to Boston in about 48 hours. Now, this may take a few corrections from the "community" ;-) But, I believe that gives me 1 3,000,000,000,000,000 bytes / (48 hours \* 60 mins / hour \* 60 secs / min) = 5,787,037,037 17,361,111,111 bytes per second which is about 5.8 17 gigabytes per second. As far as bandwidth goes, not too shabby. You may even be able to squeeze that above 620 gigabytes per second if you throw a couple more Sun Fire x4500s in the back seat of the race car.

You know where to find me if my math is wrong ;-)

NOTE: Yes, I caught the FIRST mistake...I went with 1 petabyte instead of 3, what the Sun MD can hold in terms of Sun Fire X4500 storage.

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.

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.

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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