By Carl HoweYesterday, I wrote about why Sun Microsystems' (SUNW) Blackbox data center in a shipping container will transform corporate computing. Here's a follow up.
Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, has blogged why he thinks this is an important product for his company. The picture below (courtesy of Sun) shows why I do as well. Suffice it to say that warehouses are at the other end of the cost spectrum from today's data centers.
And by the way, I noticed an interesting bit about the Blackbox. A single Blackbox has about 8 racks that can hold about 250 servers in total. But those servers might have multicore processors. If you were to populate those servers with 8-core Sun Niagras, that would mean a single BlackBox could have as many as 2,000 processor cores. Yowza!
If you decide to put disks in a Blackbox instead, you get about 1.5 petabytes of storage in a standard shipping container. Hmmmm. Maybe there's a really good reason that EMC's profits are starting to tank.
One of the proof points I see in the design of this system was the amount of thought, design, and energy put into cooling the system. The mark of a great computer designer is not just how fast they can make the systems run, but how efficiently and elegantly they can expel the heat generated by high-performance computing. And Sun has done Seymour Cray one better by building their cooling system not on something esoteric like Florinert (a fluorocarbon-based cooling liquid), but on simple water. Most cool (no pun intended).
As I said earlier, Blackbox changes the fundamental economics of data centers. If you own a data center today, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start looking around for someone to buy it from you. As of next year, that data center is going to become a rapidly depreciating investment.
SUNW 1-yr chart: