Rackable Systems introduces portable data center

Rackable Systems, Inc. introduces portable data center, called Concentro, nearly six months after Sun's portable data center, Black Box.

Rackable Systems, Inc., a server and storage products provider, introduced a portable data center it calls Concentro on Monday, the first of which was purchased by a leading Internet company that Rackable could not name.

Concentro is a self-contained, fully portable data center. It packs server and storage density with efficient cooling and serviceability. The mobile data center is designed to supplement or replace stationary data centers and can be moved to areas where power costs are lowest.

Sun Microsystem's introduced its own "data center in a box" with all the necessary servers, storage and networking equipment packed into a 20-foot-long cargo shipping container back in October.

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Power concerns, rising real estate costs and space restrictions drive the need for mobile data centers, Rackable Systems reports. "Density is the key benefit, as well as the low up front cost. This is a fraction of the price of building a brick and mortar data center, and it allows for movement to areas where power is least expensive," said Conor Malone, director data center solutions at Rackable. "People are doing very innovative things and moving around the country in search of low cost power. You can hitch this container up and move it to a power source."

Concentro features computer density levels of up to 9,600 processing cores in a 40 foot by 8 foot shipping container. The mobile, self-contained module houses up to 1,200 of Rackable Systems' rack-mount DC powered servers; up to 3.5 petabytes of storage. The containers are filled with servers and storage based on customer needs.

There is a 10 foot area of open floor space in the container where users can add servers or storage, or keep open for a workstation, Malone said. The hallway area is three feet wide, and he said about seven men work in the space – on ladders and moving around - without getting in each others way too much.

The first release of Concentro uses Intel Xeon quad-core processors in Rackable Systems' half-depth servers. Rackable uses cooling technology enables a reduction in cooling and air handler power costs by up to 80% over traditional data center environments.

"We've taken all the stuff you don't need out, and kept in the things you need in low voltage versions," said Colette LaForce, VP marketing at Rackable. Fans draw air through radiators between each rack and air is drawn in through the servers from a cold center aisle.

"We've replaced what would normally be hundreds of fans with just four fans per column, saving 23 KW of power," Malone said.

The ability to deploy a Concentro system rapidly and in any location near a power source also ensure redundancy and business continuity in times of disaster, said LaForce.

Unlike Sun's container, which has its corporate logo tagged on it, Rackable's container is non-descript to repel heat and potential security risks, LaForce said. "It is a light color so heat from the sun won't be absorbed, and we aren't putting any company logos across the side of it, because we see that as a security risk," said Collette LaForce, VP of Marketing at Rackable.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Bridget Botelho, News Writer

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