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By | Ashlee Vance 20th September 2007 02:15

Rackable starts moving ICE

White trash part two

IDF Rackable continues to wear its wife-beater with pride, shipping a second take on the white trash data center concept.

Back in March, the plucky server start-up introduced the world to – booming voice – Concentro. Like Sun Microsystems, Rackable packed all of the data center essentials into a shipping container to provide customers with a supercomputing-class system in a can. Now we have Concentro II – or the ICE (Integrated Concentro Environment) Cube, as Rackable likes to call it.

The new unit holds more hardware than the first, can be produced at a quicker clip (90 days) thanks to some manufacturing tweaks and ships in both 40 foot and a new 20 foot flavors. Rackable has been showing off the ICE Cube here at the Intel Developer Forum.

Spec hounds will take note of the 28 racks (1400U) of servers or 4.1PB of storage that can fit in an ICE Cube. You can mix and match too.

Rackable has used its half-depth servers to pack so many systems in the container and uses DC power to lower the overall energy draw. It also pulls individual fans out of the server cases, replacing them with a few mega-fans that cool the container as a whole.

Sun's very similar Blackbox container only holds 7 racks of servers and 1.5PB of storage. Rackable also claims an 80 per cent cooling reduction, as compared to a 20 per cent reduction over a comparable data center from Sun.

And, in fact, a number of people we've talked to seem to think Rackable is on the better track with its design, although both vendors deserve credit here for trying something new.

Rackable and Sun point to their white trash data centers as options for companies that have space or power constraints. You simply order up a data center and plant it in the parking lot near some power and water. In addition, the military and other organizations wanting a lot of remote computing power could turn to these containers.

Sun points to the Stanford Linear Accelerator as its first Blackbox customer. Rackable claims a customer too, but won't reveal its name. (We think it might have three letters and operate out of Washington or Langley.) Raytheon has stepped up as an ICE Cube reseller.

There's more information on the ICE Cube here. ®

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