Microsoft may be giving the nascent portable data center market a lift.
Data Center Knowledge via Slashdot connects a few dots--including a some from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley--to conclude that Microsoft may be an early adopter of the portable data centers championed by Sun (right), Rackable and others. These data center in a box concepts have gotten a decent amount of press, but few actual customers. Microsoft would be a helluva reference customer.Data Center Knowledge writes:
"The portable data center trend could get a huge boost from Microsoft, where an architect of the Windows Live Core team is advocating unmanned container-based commodity data centers as the future of data center infrastructure. Microsoft's James Hamilton has made two presentations recently discussing modular data centers' ability to provide economies of scale for Software as a Service (SaaS).
Hamilton's presentation outlined the following advantages for portable data centers (photos below are from Hamilton's presentation).
Data Center Module
- Contains network gear, compute, storage, & cooling
- Just plug in power, network, & chilled water
Increased cooling efficiency
- Variable water & air flow
- Better air flow management (higher delta-T)
- 80% air handling power reductions (Rackable Systems)
Bring your own data center shell
- Just central networking, power, cooling, & admin center
- Grow beyond existing facilities
- Can be stacked 3 to 5 high
- Less regulatory issues (e.g. no building permit)
- Avoids (for now) building floor space taxes
Meet seasonal load requirements
Single customs clearance on import
Single FCC compliance certification
Hamilton's presentation argues that portable data centers would save money and time. One container has 1,000 systems, no packaging, no floor space and can be set up in hours compared to the 24 months or more it takes to build a data center. Another perk: No local or federal regulatory approval needed for a portable data center.
Perusing Microsoft's recent statements the company sounds enthusiastic about portable data centers. Expect others to follow in short order.