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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Management > Strategic Planning for Green and Sustainable Management > Research and Development

Mobile Data Centers Think Inside the Box

Mobile data centers can also use renewable energy from waves, solar and wind. Google is combining its R&D in data centers and renewable energy.

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Shipping containers are a sticky subject. They stick. With trade imbalances, there have sprung up a large "fleet" of heavy, empty containers that must wait for another round of use. But creative solutions are being created for these hefty shells. First came housing and office designs that recycled these containers into sturdy metal frames. Now comes data centers.

Wave Powered Data Centers in Shipping Containers

Google has filed for a patent that describes a “water-based data center.” The idea is that Google would create mobile data center platforms out at sea by stacking containers filled with servers, storage systems and networking gear on barges or other platforms.

This would let Google place computing centers closer to people in regions where it might not be feasible, cost-effective or as efficient to build a data center on land. Places like war-torn regions, or islands, or dense cities.

Google's stackable “crane-removable” data center modules on ships would bring data closer to consumers such as the military or workers during large events.

Google has been unique among the largest service providers in the amount of custom work it’s willing to do on data center equipment. What a way to refine patentable applications! Google even builds its own servers and networking equipment.

Microsoft has recently started crafting custom servers for its massive data centers, such as a recent Chicago installation that will be comprised of hundreds of data centers inside shipping containers. Microsoft is viewing these containerized servers, storage and networking equipment, as mobile modules that also get the most computing power per square foot.

Most of the major server makers, including Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Dell and Sun Microsystems, have recently created their own data centers in shipping containers that they sell to service providers, the military and research labs.

Google has been building a prototype system in the garage of its Mountain View, Ca. headquarters. Back to the garage for innovation!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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