Rackable Systems' Ice Cube containerized datacenter

Image Courtesy Rackable Systems Website

Third in my series of overviews on containerized datacenters is Rackable Systems ‘Ice Cube’.  Rackable Systems boasts the highest processor, storage and rack unit densities of all three systems I’ve reviewed.  HP is going to kick themselves, but I found out about these guys by watching the background of the HP promotional video of their POD containerized datacenter solution.

Here are the basics of Rackable Systems’ solution:

Here are the basics of Rackable Systems’ solution:

    • 40′ x 8′ Shipping Container
    • Footprint:  320 sq. ft.
    • Rack Mounts
      • 28 racks
      • 1400 Rack Units.
    • External connectors
    • INPUT: 480/277 VAC
    • DC Power internally
    • UPS built into the racks
    • 80% lower costs (all server fans removed, a single air handler for each rack is used)
    • Variable
    • Up to 2800 servers with Intel Zeon quad-core processors
    • Up to 22,400 processor cores
    • Variable
    • Up to 7.1 Petabytes disk storage
  • Support, Purchase and Lease options available

The containerized solution from Rackable Systems gets its density from creating server shelves that lack most of the chassis shell and have no fans. This allows Rackable Systems to squeeze two servers into a single rack unit. By centralizing the fans to larger fans between the racks, utilizing a DC power supply with 96.5% power efficiency and utilizing energy-efficient quad-core processors, they claim to achieve energy savings of up to 80% over traditional datacenters.

The Ice Cube datacenter is a classic center-isle design with racks on both sides of the isle. Given the 8′ width of the container, this means that the center isle is likely very narrow and cramped to work in.  There wasn’t a lot of documentation on the cooling systems, not even whether the solution is air or water cooled. Given the extreme density of the hardware, it must be water cooled, but that’s only an educated guess.

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