What makes Microsofts containers different

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-04-01 Print this article Print

Microsoft's containers are similar in design to Sun's, only Microsoft will be using its own software and server and storage hardware from partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, NetApp and IBM. The containers themselves are also much larger-40 feet in length.
"We're using the extra-large shipping containers as a model," Manos said. "They'll hold anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 servers of any size, all in racks." Each container will be a little bit different from the next, depending on the customer, he said.

"All we care about is the power that goes in and the performance that comes out," Belady said. "The customer doesn't really care what's inside. We'll take care of that, and we'll make these scale to whatever computing job needs to be done."

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"These are designed so that all the containers are on the ground floor-so that delivery trucks can just drive right up to the doors and drop them [the containers] right near where they will be installed," Manos told about 1,000 IT and data center managers at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"These containers are the way to go," Manos said. "Once the racks inside these things are hooked up and turned on, they [all the servers] discover each other automatically. They're ready to go to work in very little time."

The containers can house application servers, storage devices or a mix of both.

Microsoft also likes the fact that it's much easier and more efficient to record the I/O of each box for green IT purposes, Manos said.

"It's a cardinal sin for us at Microsoft to not use any of the power that we draw," he said. "That's a waste, and we're very cognizant of that."

Container-based data centers allow for better IT reporting all around, Manos said. Users will be able to chart the IT productivity of each unit and get clean statistics on data such as e-mail usage, search queries and any number of other business processes, Manos said.

The Chicago-area data center is expected to be completed later in the summer of 2008, as are the other three data centers. Each center will employ about 35 people on a 24/7 basis, Manos said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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