Datacentres sail the high seas on cruise ship

Datacentres sail the high seas on cruise ship

Summary: The Celebrity Equinox cruise ship has three datacentres serving 17 decks, 1,600 Mac Minis and up to 2,852 passengers


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  • Celebrity Equinox cruise ship

    Given the sheer scale of cruise ship the Celebrity Equinox — 17 decks high and 317m long — it's understandable that it has to be able to offer some serious IT infrastructure to meet the tech needs of up to 2,852 passengers.

    For a start, Celebrity Equinox, built in 2009 for Celebrity Cruises at the Meyer Werft shipyard in the German North Sea port of Papenburg, has three datacentres, 1,600 Mac Minis, 1,350 Apple TVs, 967 hotspots and a high-performance network. Ensuring all that equipment works is the job of an IT department of seven, run by infrastructure and operations manager Marc de Lange.

    De Lange has two staff permanently deployed to the ship's internet café, aiding passengers with run-of-the-mill helpdesk issues such as logins and user training. The other four IT pros work full time on maintaining Celebrity Equinox's systems.

    Working patterns for the ship's IT team differ from those habitually found on dry land. Tech staff work seven days a week, and an average of 10 to 14 hours a day throughout their four-month contracts. However, shore leave between contracts is about two months.

    Photo credit: Meyer Werft

  • Rittal server racks

    Two Rittal server racks house standard HP blades and NetApp storage in the Celebrity Equinox's 50-square-metre main datacentre, located in the middle of the ship where movement is relatively low even in heavy seas.

    The ship's IT backbone is a Cisco IOS Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, which carries all the data from the networked computers on board, as well for telephony, TV, camera surveillance, point-of-sale systems and cashless gaming machines.

    Photo credit: Joachim Kaufmann/ZDNet Germany

  • Along with the HP blades and NetApp storage, the water-cooled main datacentre also contains the ship's IP telephone system, seen here, which serves the 3,300 wired and 400 wireless IP phones found onboard the Celebrity Equinox.

    Photo credit: Joachim Kaufmann/ZDNet Germany

Topics: Datacentre Tour, Networking

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