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Containing IT

February 4, 2008 - 1 Comment

James Staten from Forrester writes a very good article today at that talks about the high potential value of a containerized approach to IT in large megacenters. Let’s start for example with a 2.5 to 5.0 MegaWatt containment unit with all cooling, power, compute, memory, and storage in there for the execution of a given amount of workload. There would be some central shared services: DNS, Central Storage, ILM, Backup, etc…It does change the economics and the architectures. I am not sure where the right starting point is: I would imagine though if I was deploying 30MW Data Centers it is something I would look at. I was doing some calculations, back of envelope type stuff, and figuring out how we could design the optimum network for this container: one that balances power efficiency, ability to connect as many hosts as possible, and offers ubiquitous service interconnect with the global shared services. I do think it is possible to get thousands of servers into one container, and then connect them all with 10Gb or 1/10Gb for less than 7% of the power budget. There are many ways to skin this cat though and I may have to spend some time on a whiteboard, spreadsheet, and with lots of little icons on PPT to get a few details worked out.What do you all think of the concept of containerized data centers making their way into the core enterprise? dg

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  1. DougThe possibilities are riveting, but betting your company’s existence (extreme case) on such a bleeding edge technology does not provide much comfort.Yes, there may be (and will be!) cost savings, but firstly your infrastructure has to be ready for this, secondly your apps have to be ready for this and thirdly your people and processes have to be in tune.I think the point here is modularity, and containers represent an extreme evolution of this concept. They still need external power, chilled water,etc – so why not set up POD’s on a concrete slab and connect them to the utilities?My 2c.