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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Saturday Oct 20, 2007

Rolling into Beijing + Sticker Number 2

The Project Blackbox Tour rolled into Beijing this morning (Beijing-time).

The photos here are the best evening photos yet! They were forwarded to me by Peng Wang who is working with the tour in Beijing.

Here is the tour semi parked in front of the hotel:

Here is a wider view with the hotel as the backdrop. Great shot.

This is going to be a great tour stop so be sure you have registered!

Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Project Blackbox Tour in Colorado Springs

Here are a few shots of the Project Blackbox Tour at its two-day home in Colorado Springs, CO...home of the Rockies.

Ooops, sorry about that, that was a picture of the Rockies sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the National League title and earn their way to the World Series.

The weather turned quite nice today and its supposed to continue tomorrow (as opposed to the rain you saw at the game on Monday evening). Things will get positively ugly weather-wise this weekend, but Project Blackbox will be out of here and on its way to San Antonio, Texas by the time the storm hits (keep in mind "ugly" is relative since snow in the mountains means its time for snowboarding).

Here is a shot of the cab with our beautiful mountains in the background.

And here is a shot of the container with the tarp away and ready for business.

Go Rockies!

Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

Project Blackbox = Supercomputer #412 + CEC Photo of the Day

Top 500 Supercomputer Sites tracks the top 500 (duh) supercomputer sites across the planet. When you sift down through the list and work your way to number 412 in the June 2007 list you will find...yupp...a Project Blackbox configuration.

This particular configuration contains 1,088 processors, 4,480GB Memory and has a theoretical peak of 5,658 GFlops! This particular installation is built with our own Sun Blade 8000 system line with an Infiniband interconnect, here's the stock photo of one of the Sun Blade 8000 chassis that fits into a Project Blackbox rack:

What is interesting about the ranking on the Top 500 Supercomputer chart is that the Project Blackbox is being treated as a compute node, rather than a bunch of racks of single node equipment. Welcome to the world of the grid.

Remember though, we don't confine you to one of our system types, we have a list of qualified servers and storage that we keep up to date. You aren't even confined to Sun equipment. Project Blackbox is a modular datacenter...how many datacenters are completely homogeneous?

On a separate note, I received this excellent shot from CEC in Las Vegas (you can tell by the CEC backpacks they are wearing). These two attendees are looking into the corridor of the container standing in the inner hatch doors.

Remember, this is a very early unit and if you look at the left outer door you will notice there is no insulation on the doors. Our newer units added insulation here to increase efficiency and our ability to maintain the inner environment.

Keep the pictures coming.

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Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

CEC Attendees! Send snapshots!!!!!!!

The new leg of the U.S. tour kicked off in style at the Customer Engineering Conference (CEC) in Las Vegas. In this snapshot, you can see the Project Blackbox tour unit provides an elegant backdrop to go with the boxed lunches :-)

Also, we received this picture of the connections between the Project Blackbox tour unit and the generator. I promise, I didn't bundle those...you should see the mess of power cords underneath my desk.

Now, here's what I need from the CEC attendees. We know you are there with your digital cameras and camera phones. Could you take a minute and either


  • Send a link to your blog about Project Blackbox with your pictures
  • Send pictures directly to my Sun Account (paul dot monday at sun dot com)

I will get as many posted as I can along with credit! Remember...unique, artistic, mechanical, all score extra points. Feel free to send any technical write-ups or details that would go well with the picture...it doesn't have to be the marketing stuff either...talk about Sun Spots, the machines in the box, what you would do with cabling, your labeling solution, or even give a shout out to your friends from the PBb blog with a picture of yourself!

Monday Oct 08, 2007

Singapore - Asia Pacific Launch is Complete!

The Asia-Pacific leg of the Project Blackbox Tour started off with a bang last week in Singapore, here's a picture to prove it.

At first glance, you may expect to see Michael Jackson with a can of Pepsi or the lead singer of Whitesnake strutting out from between the sparks but, instead, you get a glimpse of our tour unit cabled up and ready for business.

Here is a picture backstage at the event as folks tour the unit:

In total, approximately 600 attendees toured in the three day engagement in Singapore. Most of these events create a balance between private sessions for partners, sessions for press and analysts and more open sessions for those that may have heard the buzz and found the registration button (see previous posts on the blog).

Without a doubt, this looks like one of the hippest and best dressed crowds yet!

Next stop is Beijing for this unit while the U.S. Tour unit is ready to go at CEC in Las Vegas this week!

Thursday Oct 04, 2007

Registration Information in Asia-Pacific Tour Leg

I was doing some legwork to get some information on registration for the Asia-Pacific region. We are currently in Singapore with the tour. There is no online registration location for the Beijing tour stop...at least not yet. The Beijing stop is 10/22 to 10/24. Perhaps there is a way to get the Project Blackbox Tour a cameo on Survivor China...the contestants could race to deploy a data center capable of doing rapid calculations of seismic activity (just an idea...).

At any rate, here are the registration locations I have for
\* 11/12-11/4 - Tokyo
\* 11/21-11/23 - Seoul
\* 12/18-12/20 - Sydney & Canberra - No online registration yet

While you are waiting for the tour to come to your city, read the Here Comes the Sun article at xchange magazine. There is some great information on Project Blackbox and some time with our own Darlene Yaplee (VP of Marketing for Project Blackbox) in the article. The article even has some information on this unit (our A9) that I can't talk about!

Have a great evening and GO ROCKIES!

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Load it up! Sun Fire X4150s are in the house!

Hopefully you've seen our new Sun Fire product announcements, the Sun Fire X4150 and the Sun Fire X4450. Now, if you haven't read my other blog which frequently strays into random blatherings, you may not realize what a HUGE fan I am of system's based storage initiatives. Storage Grids, Global Namespace, Content Addressable Storage (CAS) are all here now and will only increase in use over the coming years.

I'm particularly excited about coupling our X4150 and X4450 lines with Project Blackbox to make the container look like one giant compute and store node. Here are pictures of the new systems.

Notice the 1U height of the X4150 and the 2U height of the X4450. Also notice the 8 hot swappable, 2.5" SAS drives! Cool...and if you read the fine print on the web site you would see that a version with 6, 3.5" SATA drives is on its way. I'm going to concentrate on the X4150 for now. We are seeing a lot of interest in packing the racks in a container full of 1U servers. This coupled with grid software, iSCSI, etc... can make a dynamic and powerful environment with both processing and storage capabilities. It is also an environment that does not have to be serviced often if you are mirroring across systems.

An X4150 fully loaded has


  • 2 Quad-Core Intel Xeon X5355, 2.66 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 120W
  • 64 GB RAM
  • 8 2.5" SAS Drives (we will assume they are 146GB each since that's the going size for SAS drives for a total of about 1.2 Terrabytes per system)

Some of the maxed out Project Blackbox configurations we've seen have 36 1U servers in a rack with the remaining 4 slots taken up by power supplies and networking gear. This gives us 72 Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5355s each running at 2.66 GHz and 43.2 Terrabytes all in a single rack within the container. Typically, you can have 7 racks of 36 servers, giving you 504 Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5355s and 302.4 Terrabytes of storage, configurable any way you want it when you add our Grid Engine software, iSCSI software, ZFS, QFS, maybe even a little Lustre.

Now what could you do with that type of power packed into a rapidly deployable shipping container? Obviously numerical analysis applications come to mind (the video here mentions electronic and financial simulations).

With 8 SAS spindles of storage near your job, you can operate against locally cached data in your grid. You could also treat the storage in the container as one pool and the CPUs as another pool and let them vary independently of each other. The combinations are certainly intriguing. Personally, this looks like one huge content distribution and web farm to me that can be placed where the cost of power is low and the taxes are right. Imagine the amount of on-demand video this could serve to Tivo's all across the country (at least until these folks figure out how to put Tivo's into a massive protected torrent grid so our Tivo's can help distribute video to each other under the covers).

Don't forget to stop by Project Blackbox next week if you are at CEC in Las Vegas!

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