Best Container/modular Data Center approach 2010? SGI's Ice Cube is one choice

Figuring out which Container Modular Data Center is confusing as many companies have added container/modular data center capabilities - HP, SGI, Dell, IBM, Sun, Lee Technologies, Digital Realty Trust, IO DataCenters.

Which company do you pick?

Who has the best container?

Let me give you a different question to ask.

Who has the best engineering for containers?

Now it can be confusing to figure out.  When you look at the big name companies, many times the end user has no idea who does the engineering work.  The engineers stay in the office being an engineer.  The people out at the trade shows are the sales people who know how to engage customers and sell.

DataCenterKnowledge has a post on SGI's latest ICE Cube modular data center at Gartner DC LV 2010.

Inside SGI’s Air-Cooled Modular Data Center

December 13th, 2010 : Rich Miller


Data Center Knowledge recently got a detailed video tour of the retooled SGI ICE Cube modular data center, which features fresh air cooling.

SGI was one of the early players in the container data center sector with its water-cooled ICE Cube portable unit. Last week the company unveiled a retooled ICE Cube modular data center that can be cooled entirely by air. The fresh air cooling allows the unit to run outdoors in cool climates, improving energy efficiency by foregoing mechanical refrigeration. At the Gartner Data Center Conference, SGI’s Patrick Yantz gave DCK a detailed tour of the new unit. Patrick provides an overview of the new orientation of the ICE Cube module, which allows easy expansion, and demonstrates how SGI’s software management package can remotely throttle fans up and down. This video runs about 13 minutes.

SGI Modular data center

Here is the marketing site for Ice Cube Air.


Back to the engineer, Patrick Yantz has been working on this container stuff for a while.  Here is a video of  Patrick presenting in Nov 2009 at Microsoft's PDC.


Patrick Yantz shows a shipping container, ahem, “air handling unit” that houses the hardware where your data will actually live in the Azure cloud.
So, if you’re a fan of hardware then check out this great walking tour with Patrick Yantz. Patrick is a Cloud Architect with Data Center Services team. And Patrick knows exactly what these shipping containers full of servers need to work anywhere in the world.

So, now you know one of the engineers out there who design modular/container data centers.  While others toured the Ice Cube in LV.  I was able to look at the same unit at SGI in Fremont the week before Gartner DC LV.

BTW, Patrick's boss was Daniel Costello, ex-Microsoft data center engineering manager, now at Google.  The data center engineering is a small community.

If you want to know which container/modular data center look for the engineers who designed the solution.

Here are some pictures I took of the SGI Ice Cube Air.