Sun Grid, Mobile Edition

Tim beat me to the punch, but I can't help but comment. Blackbox is impressive. Imagine a data center in an 20-foot shipping container that you can drag, drop, or carry to wherever it's needed. And it's not just any data center. The thing has up to a 1.5 Petabyte capacity, and if you loaded it with our highest-end systems, it would be the world's 200th most powerful supercomputer!

The box consists of two rows of racks, lined up front to back to maximize air flow. (Racks slide out sideways to allow for servicing.) The box itself has built-in fans and redudant power and water-in and water-out connections. The whole thing has been shock hardened. It can take a drop from a half foot without damage.

My first reaction was the same as Tim's: holy frag! Then I began wondering about the real logisitcs of it. Doesn't this bring a new dimension to data center security? Not only could a competitor steal your data, they could steal your data center. But, after thinking it through a bit more, the logisitcs aren't really a big deal. The problems this box solves are, however. For example, we had a customer who wanted a big data center on site, but only needed it for 3 months. For any other solution, the overhead may be more than the cost of the machines. With Blackbox, it's no problem. Think natural disasters. Think backup data center. Think fast response to capacity overages.

And that brings us to the title of this post. The box shown in the picture in Tim's post is configured for Sun Grid. Imagine, instead of taking your data to the Sun Grid data center, you bring the Sun Grid data center to you. You bring it in, use it, and get rid of it. You only pay for the time that you use it. Pretty compelling.

I have no idea where Blackbox is headed. Maybe all our sales reps will get standard-issue flatbed trucks now instead of BMW's. Who knows? In any case, it's a good idea to shake the snow globe every now and then to see what happens.

(One more thing I just noticed in a NY Times article: it was designed by Danny Hillis! No wonder it's cool!)

(Looks like at least some of the analysts agree with Tim. See here and here)

Comments:

I already have a potential use for this on one of my upcoming projects! Also- the beowulf list is having a fascinating discussion on project blackbox - the thread starts over here: http://www.beowulf.org/pipermail/beowulf/2006-October/016685.html

Posted by chris dagdigian on October 18, 2006 at 11:21 PM PDT #

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