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Nov 18 2007   1:30PM GMT

Overheard: Datacenter in a box coming to a batcave near you

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

chris-mellor.jpg “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.  

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