|“Sun and a consortium of other businesses are going to lower Blackbox self-contained computing facilities into a Japanese coal mine to set up an underground datacentre, using up to 50 percent less power than a ground-level datacentre.”
Chris Mellor, Sun to set up datacentre in coal mine
Sun Microsystems promoted their “datacenter in a box” concept earlier this year. The datacenters are basically 20-foot shipping containers with racks of pre-configured servers and storage. The idea is that you’d be able to build a datacenter as big as you need because the Blackboxes are modular units — and because they’re self-contained shipping containers, you could ship them just about anywhere — including outer space.
When I first read about Project Blackbox, I was thinking military. But I hadn’t thought about using caves and abandoned mines for commercial use. Genius.
In the Japan project, the coolant is going to be ground water — a little controversial, but they’re working on getting away from water altogether. Since the cave’s temperature is a constant 59 degrees F, the cost of running the underground center is expected to be $9 million less than if it were above ground.