Sun Blackbox, Don't Handle With Care

Illustration for article titled Sun Blackbox, Don't Handle With Care

This is Sun's datacenter-to-go, Project Blackbox. And the video after the jump shows what happens in its interior when you put it at the epicenter of a 6.7-magnitude earthquake.

Jump to the middle of the video to see the effects of the heavy shaking. The earthquake was simulated using a six-degrees-of-freedom hydraulic platform and data collected at Northridge, CA on January 17, 1994. Even while hell broke loose, everything kept running and the only failures were caused by "power cords coming out." Not bad at all for a container full of server racks.


Product page [Sun via SiliconNews]



Some of those comments sounded like, "Everything worked FLAWLESSLY, except for, you know, the stuff that FAILED."

Here are the comments from Jonathan Schwartz's blog explaining the raison d'etre of this thing:

What does the CIO in midtown Manhattan do when she runs out of roof space or power? How does an aid agency deliver basic connectivity to 5,000 relief workers in a tsunami stricken metropolis? What does an oil company do when they want to move high performance analytics onto an offshore platform or supertanker? Or a large web services company do when they want to cookie cutter their infrastructure next to a hyrdroelectric plant for cheap power - within weeks, not years?

You are in midtown Manhattan and run out of power, so you, just, um, drop one of these outside the building? Or, um, in the lobby? And the power and cooling box goes WHERE? Yeah, sorry, not buying this one.

You have 5,000 relief workers cleaning up after a tsunami, I'm thinking their top wish is NOT "Gee, I wish I had me a bunch of servers with no power connected to nothing." BASIC CONNECTIVITY in that scenario is EMS people talking to each other, followed by mobile phone service, followed by wireless Internet, none of which is provided by an earthquake-resistant crate o' Solaris boxes. LOL

"High performance analytics on a supertanker." Riiiiight. Hey, here's a thought — why not do the high performance analytics on DRY LAND, where the data originated?

"Web services company next to hydroelectric plant" — I don't know about this one either. Ok, yes, if you are Google building the Googleplex, YES you are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars a day on electricity, and want to be near cheap power, because you have tens or hundreds of thousands of square feet of data center space. With that much space, saving even a few pennies per kWh can be significant.

But the Black Box isn't tens or hundreds of thousands of square feet. It's a cramped closet. It's hard to imagine that the "SAVINGS" from cheap electricity would be greater than the cost of the Black Box itself.

There probably IS a market for this thing, they'll probably sell some when they go on sale. But from here it looks like a solution in search of a problem.