Sun Ships 18 TFlops Datacenter In A Box

Santa Clara (CA) - Sun's Project Blackbox is shipping, literally: Now called the Modular Datacenter S20, Blackbox is a datacenter built into a 20 ft container that is sent to customers via ship or airplane. Sun promises that the S20 not only can bring deployment time down to as little as 22 days, but can also reduce cooling needs by as much as 40%.

Blackbox made some waves as rather unusual datacenter concept last year and apparently has attracted enough interest to convince Sun to make the system generally available. According to the company, a Blackbox demo system was taken to 73 cities worldwide over the past year, where the containers were toured by more than 12,000 people. Initial customers include Hansen Transmissions, a turbine manufacturer in Belgium, the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center as well as a Russian telecom company.

Darlene Yaplee, vice president for integrated platform marketing at Sun, told TG Daily that, depending on the configuration, the S20 can reach a performance of 18 TFlops and offer as much as 3 PB of storage space. The container can house eight 19" racks (320 RU total) with a depth of 30.75", with seven racks (280 RU) running at full load. The remaining 40 RU are reserved for network equipment (25 RU) and monitoring and management of the system (15 RU). The power consumption is rated at up to 25 kW per rack under full load and at 12.5 kW per regular rack. The S20 is cooled using a water cooling system that requires external water connectivity and runs at 45 to 65 gallons per minute.

Servers supported by the S20 include 27 different Sun models, including the Fire V-series, the Fire T1000/2000- and E-series, the Fire 4000 and 5000-series, Netra servers, as well as the Fire X2000- and X4000 series.

According to Yaplee, initial customers have been able to deploy the S20 system in as little as 22 days and are using this system for application areas such as disaster recovery and datacenter center expansion. Typically, the S20 container is placed right next to existing datacenters, Yaplee said.

Pricing for the datacenter in a box starts at $559,000.