Diggin' technology every day

May 28, 2010

That’s not a knife…

Filed under: Datacenter,Storage — Tags: , , — Nate @ 9:10 pm

There’s been a lot of talk (no thanks to Cisco/EMC) about infrastructure blocks recently. Myself I never (and still don’t) like the concept. I think it makes sense in the SMB world where you have very limited IT staff and they need a canned, integrated solution. Companies like HP and IBM have been selling these sorts of mini stacks for years. As for Microsoft I think they have a “Small business” version of their server platform which includes a bunch of things integrated together as well.

I think the concept falls apart at scale though, I’m a strong believer in best of breed technologies, and what is best of breed really depends on the requirements of the organization. I have my own favorites of course for the industries I’ve been working with/in for the past several years but I know they don’t apply to everyone.

I was reading up yesterday on some new containerized data centers that SGI released in their Ice Cube series. The numbers are just staggering.

In their most dense configuration, in 320 square feet of space consuming approximately 1 megawatt of power you can have either:

  • More then 45,000 CPU cores
  • More than 29 Petabytes of storage

In both cases you can get roughly 45kW per rack, while today most legacy data centers top out at between 2-5kW per rack.

Stop and think about that for a minute, think about the space, think about the density. 320 square feet is smaller than even a studio apartment,, though in Japan it may be big enough to house a family of 10-12 (I hear space is tight over there).

How’s that for an infrastructure block? And yes you can stack one on top of another

ICE Cube utilizes an ISO standard commercially available 9.5′ x 8′ x 40′ container. SGI intentionally designed the offering such that the roof of the container is clear of obstruction and fully capable of utilizing its stacking container feature. Because of this, SGI is positioned to supply a compelling density multiplier for future expansion of the data center. If installed in a location without overhead height restriction the 9.5′ x 8′ x 40′ containers in our primary product offering can be stacked up to three-high, thus allowing customers to double or triple the per square foot density of the facility over the already industry-leading density of a single ICE Cube.

All of this made me think of a particular scene from a ’80s movie.

Really makes these other blocks some vendors are talking about sound like toys by comparison doesn’t it.

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