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SPECIAL REPORT: Server Room


On the Road Computing Power

First responders and Warfighters know having computing power close at hand can make the difference. That's why Uncle Sam has taken a keen interest in the development of mobile, containerized computing that can house a modular Server Room/Data Center; one that can get close to the action, yet provide all the information processing power Warfighters and First Responders might need.

“Over the last few years tremendous effort and energy has been put into reducing the power consumption of servers,” explained Conor Malone, VP of Core Engineering at Rackable Systems in a recent interview with 1105 Government Information Group Custom Media.

“From component levels, chips, to disk drives, everyone is concerned with reducing the amount of power consumed, being green and trying to squeeze out efficiencies at every level.”

Malone's company specializes in delivering pre-packaged units beyond the server size; fully wired, ready to go servers in cabinets they just roll in and put on data center floor.  But they were looking to develop something larger.

Design Angles and Legos
“We started out from a couple of different design angles,” explained Malone. “We began thinking about how to deliver something larger than a cabinet. The next natural size is how to get a 'row' to somebody.”

This led Malone's team down the path to a self contained unit. “We looked around and found shipping containers were about the right size for building a row level configuration,” said Malone. “We could integrate both the Data Center and server environment.”



This allowed them to integrate servers and heating/cooling systems.  “The side benefit was we realized we were building a data center building block or Lego, and this can run stand alone, which works for some customers.”

Malone says its mobile, modular center (called the “ICE Cube”) is good for organizations that are deploying hundreds of thousands of servers such as Internet service providers. “They use this as a building block. Put 50 of them together and you have a pretty good size center.”

Proximity Computing
What makes this powerful mobile “Server Room” computing platform so attractive to government is that containers don't need raised floors or specialized environments. The container itself is the computing environment.

So, if the military needs to outfit a facility fast or emergency personnel need computing power where there is no power, officials can simply bring in a container by truck, train or boat. Then they can set up one container or rent a warehouse where they can scale up or scale down as needed.

This mobile computing platform - which comes in a variety of sizes - is giving customers a new, creative tool and provides a customized, turnkey structure that is ready to go when it shows up.
“Look at disaster recovery,” said Malone. “People sleep better knowing they have full complement of gear ready to go.”

The ICE Cube gives new meaning to proximity computing. It can work in hostile, harsh environments, where officials want to get computing closer to front line. “We have even been asked can we get one on a C-130,” added Malone. “It pushes the data crunching closer to where people are collecting the data. It's a tool that lets them do things they can't do with buildings.”

This mobile computing platform - which comes in a variety of sizes - is giving customers a new, creative tool and provides a customized, turnkey structure that is ready to go when it shows up. “You plug it in and turn it on,” said Malone.

Learn more about the ICE Cube at www.rackable.com