Sun Modular Datacenter

Sun Modular Datacenter

Sun Modular Datacenter (Sun MD, known in the prototype phase as Project Blackbox) is a portable data center built into a standard 20' shipping container manufactured and marketed by Sun Microsystems. An external chiller and power are required for the operation of a Sun MD. A data center of up to 280 servers can be rapidly deployed by shipping the container in a regular way to locations that might not be suitable for a building or another structure, and connecting it to the required infrastructure. [cite web|url=|title=Sun Modular Datacenter S20 - Technical Specifications|date=2008-05-27] Sun Microsystems states that the system can made operational for 1/100th of the cost of building a traditional data center. [M. Mitchell Waldrop - "Data Center In a Box", "Scientific American", August 2007]


On 14 July 2007, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) deployed a Sun MD containing 252 Sun Fire X2200 compute nodes as a compute farm. [cite web|url=|title=SLAC Prepares for First Blackbox to Expand Computing Power|date=2007-06-20|publisher=SLAC Today] [cite web|url=|title=SLAC's Newest Computing Center Arrives... by Truck|date=2007-07-25|publisher=SLAC Today] Other customers include Radboud University. [cite news
author = Rich Miller
title = Sun Rebrands Blackbox as 'Sun MD'
url =
work = Data Center Knowledge
publisher = IDG TechNetwork
date = 2008-01-29
accessdate = 2008-06-27


The prototype was first announced as "Project Blackbox" in October 2006; [cite press release
url =
title = Sun Unveils The Future of Virtualized Datacenters – Project Blackbox
accessdate = 2008-06-27
date = 2006-10-17
publisher = Sun Microsystems, Inc.
] the official product was announced in January 2008. [cite web|url=|title=Sun Modular Datacenter Fuels Momentum With New Customer Wins In Manufacturing, Healthcare, HPC And Telco|date=2008-01-29|publisher=Sun Microsystems]

A Project Blackbox with 1088 AMD Opteron processors ranked #412 on the June 2007 TOP500 list. [cite web
url =
title = Sun Project Blackbox
accessdate = 2008-06-27
date = June 2007
work = TOP500 Supercomputing Sites
publisher =

In late 2003, employees of the Internet Archive wrote a paper proposing "an outdoor petabyte JBOD NAS box" of sufficient capacity to store the then-current Archive in a 40' shipping container. [cite paper
author = Bruce Baumgart
coauthors = Matt Laue
title = Petabyte Box for Internet Archive
date = 2003-11-08
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-06-27

Google was reported in November 2005 to be working on their own shipping container datacenter. [cite web|author=Robert X. Cringely|authorlink=Mark Stephens|url=|date=November 17, 2005|title=Google-Mart: Sam Walton Taught Google More About How to Dominate the Internet Than Microsoft Ever Did|work=I, Cringely|publisher=PBS|quote=This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box.|accessdate=2007-11-19] Although in January 2007 it was reported that the project had been discontinued, [cite web|url=|quote=But managers were too timid to pack in enough servers, so the experiment was not cost-effective and was ultimately canceled, he said.|date=January 10, 2007|title=Whatever Happened to that Google Cargo Container Idea?|accessdate=2007-11-19] Google's patent on the concept was still pushed through the patent system and was successfully issued in October 2007. [US patent|7,278,273] [cite web|url=|title=Google Wins Patent For Data Center In A Box; Trouble For Sun, Rackable, IBM?|first=K.C.|last=Jones|publisher=InformationWeek|date=October 10, 2007|accessdate=2007-11-19]


External links

* [ Project Blackbox Site]
* [ Project Blackbox Photos]
* [ Project Blackbox Blog]
* [ Project Blackbox Earthquake Resistance and Reliability Test (Video at YouTube)]

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