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Jul 17 2008   6:19PM GMT

HP’s mini-data center in a box: No partner play yet

rivkalittle Rivka Little Profile: rivkalittle

HP has introduced a data center in a box. Or a pod. Well actually a shipping container.

The mini data center, called Performance Optimized Data Center or POD, is a 40-foot shipping container that houses more than 3,500 computer nodes, or 12,000 large-hard drives, and delivers the equivalent of more than 4,000 square feet of typical data center capacity.

But partners need to keep an eye on HP as it rolls out this package. Initially there will be no channel partner play, though the company promises that eventually there will be. The data centers in a box — which are custom built according to user needs and ship in about six weeks from the time of order — are expected to be out in the U.S. in October and will be available worldwide shortly after.

An HP spokesperson said sales will go direct in the beginning until the company works out standardized configurations and can then more easily train partners. “There will be a [POD channel program]; that I can promise,” the spokesperson said.

As of now, HP is offering POD planning, design and deployment through EYP Mission Critical Facilities, an HP company. HP has worked hard in the past to build its data center channel program.

HP will market PODs to companies that need to quickly add capacity to existing data centers. Six weeks is a flash for a data center extension to be fleshed out. According to the company, POD technology can support equipment from HP as well as other vendors, and can be configured for all sorts of high-performance computing applications.

Meanwhile, HP is not the first to the table with a data center in a box. Both IBM and Sun Microsystems offer data centers in containers.

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