First announced a year ago, the portable, modular data center is designed expressly for remote military and scientific workload processing.
Cisco Systems famously shut
down one of its businesses recently when it closed
the Flip camera operation
, but it is also expanding in other
sectors-namely, the data center arena.
Now the Internet networking
giant is moving its Unified Computing System, or UCS, into the portable
container data center market, similar to what IBM, the former Sun Microsystems
(now part of Oracle), Hewlett-Packard, Dell-Microsoft and SGI (formerly
Rackable) have been doing for the last seven or eight years.
On May 2 the company said it
has now made available the Cisco
Containerized Data Center
as an alternative to address the computing and
networking needs of both public and private sector organizations. This intended
development was first
in March 2010.
This gives Cisco another way
to sell its UCS-a pre-configured IT hardware and software package upon which
the company has been banking heavily to expand its market reach. The UCS'
network-centric data center infrastructure authorizes partners such as EMC,
BMC, NetApp, VMware and Intel to provide components that Cisco does not make.
come in standard 40 by 8 feet and smaller-size 20 by 8 feet
shipping containers for transport on ships and trucks. All the necessary
servers, storage and networking equipment are crammed into these containers;
all that's needed on location are electrical power and cooling-fluid sources.
The Containerized Data
Center provides an enclosure for each of its 16 racks. The chilled liquid
cooling system enables each rack to be assigned different operational
temperatures and thresholds.
HP and Oracle Sun make both
20- and 40-foot models; the others are generally focused on the full-sizers.
Mostly Used for Remote Military, Science Projects
Generally, portable data
centers are deployed for work done by military, science and high-performance
enterprises. The frames and shells are very rugged and temperature-proof; some
are being used in hot climates, such as the Middle East, and in hard-to-reach
locations, such as oil and gas exploration locations. Some are used on
ocean-going research vessels.
Designed and manufactured in
the United States, the Cisco Containerized Data Center is a modular data center
solution in a weatherized ISO container that offers an open architecture and
transportable platform coupled with a unique management platform for
cost-effective data center deployments.
Cisco claims that by
purchasing a portable data center-which costs around $1.2 million for a
40-foot, fully loaded model and some $600,000 for a 20-footer-an enterprise can
save 50 percent in capital expenses and 30 percent in operating expenses
compared with a similar-sized, permanent land-based facility. Those are very
generalized numbers, however.