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FOCUS CONTAINERISED DATA CENTERS


Issue 1, December 2008


RACK ‘EM UP


Rackable claims to have a lead. It offers 20` and 40`options (this article will mostly ignore the metric system). In common with IBM (which supplies IBM blade servers to Rackable under a deal signed in July this year - coincidentally around the same time that IBM announced its Portable Modular Data Center – see below) the company says it is a build to order offering. Geoff Noer who is Rackable’s VP of Product Management says: “Rackable Systems has always had build-to-order product flexibility as a top differentiator.”


In terms of technology lead Noer refers to ICE Cube. “Our Eco-Logical servers and storage systems (Rackable’s own systems) complement the ICE Cube’s up to 80% reduction in cooling power substantially reducing operational costs over alternatives. The ICE Cube was designed to maximize serviceability with front access to all servers and cabling. In general, with ICE Cube, maintenance and service costs are typically lower than traditional data centers not higher. This is not necessarily true of competing designs.”


Noer also looks forward to competing with HP, IBM and Sun: “Rackable welcomes the idea of more server based companies offering


products for the containerised data center market. It only validates the market and provides customers viable alternatives. On the positive side, Rackable has been doing this more than anyone else and has proven technologies and products. Its container product offering is already deployed at customer sites.”


While data on Sun, HP and Rackable containers are abundant, details of IBM’s Portable Modular Data Center (PMDC) remain scare. PMDC availability was announced in July this year and linked to that company’s Big Green initiative. What is noticeable is that like Rackable, IBM offers a choice of containers that are 20 or 40 feet in length. It claims that the PMDC has a 66% to 77% DciE efficiency and says that it is a build to order offering.


WHAT NEXT? Sun Microsystems was famous as the company which said “The network is the computer” now HP is presenting us with “The data center is the computer.”


HP’s push for its Performance Optimised Data Center (POD) looks quite convincing, especially given that it acquired EYP Mission Critical Facilities and is positioning itself as having the heating, cooling and power issues sewn up in a single offering alongside its traditional IT and storage play.


However Sun Microsystems uses products and services from Active Power so it is not telling customers to look elsewhere for facilities. With an originator and three IT giants now


ICE CUBE - RACKABLE SYSTEMS


 Up to 1400U of available space for servers and/or storage  Up to 22,400 processing cores when leveraging Intel Xeon quad-core processors or 7.1 petabytes of storage


 Sophisticated cooling technology enables up to 80% reduction in cooling and air handler costs vs traditional data center


 Easy serviceability with wide, up to 36” central aisle for ample room to access systems


 Leverages DC Power and self-contained UPS technology for maximum power efficiency


 Quick and easy deployment for immediate functionality


 Secure, nondescript, weather-tight ISO shipping container for easy portability (truck, rail, ship)


 Totally mobile container for easy deployment near inexpensive land and power  Choice of 20’ or 40’ container for deployment flexibility


32 www.datacenterdynamics.com


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