I’m long been a big fan of modular data centers using ISO standard Shipping containers as the component building block:
Containers have revolutionized shipping and are by far the cheapest way to move good over sea, land, rail or truck. I’ve seen them used to house telecommunications equipment, power generators, and even stores and apartments have been made using them: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/01/shipping_contai.php.
The datacenter-in-a-box approach to datacenter design is beginning to be deployed more widely with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab having taken delivery of a Sun Black Box and a “customer in eastern Washington” having taken delivery of a Rackable Ice Cube Module earlier this year.
Last summer I came across a book on Shipping Containers by Marc Levinson: The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. It’s a history of containers from the early experiments in 1956 through to mega-containers terminals distributed throughout the world. The book doesn’t talk about all the innovative applications of containers outside of shipping but does give an interesting background on their invention, evolution, and standardization.
James Hamilton, Windows Live Platform Services Bldg RedW-D/2072, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington, 98052 W:+1(425)703-9972 | C:+1(206)910-4692 | H:+1(206)201-1859 | JamesRH@microsoft.com
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