26 Jul 2007

26 Jul 2007

Reflections on the Data Center in a Box


Category: data center in box, data center site selection, moveable data centers, project blackbox

Recently Jack Lyne, Executive Editor at Site Selection magazine, contacted me regarding Sun Microsystems’ new Project Blackbox, colloquially dubbed the “data center in a box.” (Check out his article: “Sun’s Blackbox: A Moveable Feast for Data Centers?”) Jack’s questions led me to reflect on the current rate of adoption I’ve observed for the mobile date center.

While the energy-efficient technology offers the benefit of rapid deployment, for many companies the Blackbox does not provide a feasible alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar data center. Similar solutions have been equally ineffective. APC’s “data center on wheels” never seemed to produce the impact that was desired and it was a neutral processing environment.

The limitation for most companies which would be in the market for this technology is not space as much as it is access to adequate power and cooling. Despite its all-in-one packaging, the Blackbox does not mitigate the need for power and/or chilled water which are two primary cost drivers of any computer room project. At best the Blackbox is a Tier I data center as defined by the Uptime Institute’s Standard, which can be built just about anywhere for equal or less money.

The Data Center Journal summed up the sentiment quite nicely:

“A mobile data center is nothing new. We have seen APC deliver a mobile data center on wheels. We have seen manufacturers such as iFortress or Rittal’s Lampertz product line which both provide heavy duty and easily constructed mobile data center facilities. …

“The Sun “Data Center in a Box” provides the industry with another choice that can meet the need of the consumer, but is it needed and will the industry embrace it or will it become a small niche market product? Time will tell.”


Comment (1)

  1. Anonymous on 2nd Aug 2007

    Hi folks,

    Here are four good documents, on Data Center design from the Cisco website, what I like about these docs is they are in depth technically and have little to no marketing fluff. From what I hear Cisco is providing specific guidance on Applications (See SAP and Oracle below and are targeting guidance on Windows Server ’03 Exchange Server 03 and 07 in the next 3-4 months

    1. Data Center Infrastructure Design Guide 2.1

    This Infrastructure Design Guide has been awarded Cisco Validated Design (CVD) status and is the base line from which all other Cisco Data Center designs spawn from. This guide provides guidelines for designing and building the data center switching infrastructure.

    2. Application Networking: Optimizing Oracle E-Business Suite 11i across
    the WAN

    This guide provides network design best practices to enhance an Oracle E-Business Suite 11i application environment across the WAN. It introduces key concepts and options regarding the application deployment and detailed designs strategies available to a data center leveraging Cisco application and networking technologies

    3. Server Load Balancing with SAP and Cisco’s Application Control Engine

    This guide describes how to deploy ACE into an existing server farm with minimal cost and disruption through the use of virtual contexts and role-based access control. You will also find guidance on how to use ACE to scale an SAP server farm, including server health monitoring and persistence for user sessions; and finally, you will discover how the network can help achieve high availability with stateful failover on the ACE. In the guide a detailed analysis of SAP transactions is performed to determine potential network bottlenecks and delays using the Cisco AAS. The Cisco WAAS solution is then applied to the SAP transaction, and performance results as well as design alternatives when deploying WAAS at the head end with ACE are presented

    4. Enterprise Data Center Wide Area Application Services (WAAS)

    This guide offers guidelines and best practices for implementing Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) in enterprise data center architecture. This guide tackles challenges such as placement of the Cisco Wide Area Engine (WAE), high availability, and performance for enterprise data center architectures to form a baseline for WAAS implementations.


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