Google patents data center in a shipping container

The idea of putting a data center in a shipping container is nothing new, but Google manages to patent the concept in the United States this week.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Google has patented the idea of putting a complete data center in a shipping container.

The concept is particularly useful when temporary, mobile data centers need to be set up, such as in disaster recovery situations. The mobile data centers can be transported by truck and quickly assembled and come with power and cooling systems pre-installed.

Google has been experimenting with the concept for the last two years. Its patent, which was granted earlier this week, is for a "modular data center with modular components suitable for use with rack or shelf-mount computing systems".

The patent is quite general and covers containers that both do, and do not, conform to ISO international standards.

According to the technology columnist, Robert X Cringley, Google first mooted the idea of installating a data center in a shipping container two years ago, but he points out that the idea is older than that.

In 2003, Bruce Baumgart And Matt Laue wrote an article called Petabyte Box  for Internet Archive, that outlined a proposal, with pictures, for a computer system working in a standard container.

But, more recently, in May, Sun went on tour with its own hardware in a shipping container, which it used to demonstrate the concept to prospective customers.

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