4 Lessons from Data Center in a Box

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to check out a new data center in Tampa, FL. Nope it wasn't a huge facility - it was literally a 20 foot POD on a trade show floor in the convention center.

It's a product from HP called the HP Performance Optimized Data Center (POD) (i.e. data center in a box). In partnership with AMD, it's basically a moveable data center that can be deployed anywhere. It can be transported anywhere - in theater, on a rooftop, on a trailer for disaster recovery.

I had a fun time touring the data center (thanks Rick, Denise, Phyllis for the tour). As you can see from the picture, it's a really compact space that fits everything you need. There were lots of little interesting details as well in how they fit so much data center capacity in a small space (little tricks around sliding drives going horizontal instead of vertical for key pieces).

There are a number of items that I thought were especially interesting:

(1) Highly energy efficient as no wasted space (big issue with lots of data centers that are often only 1/3 full but have to cool the whole thing)

(2) Easy to plan - If anyone has ever been on data center planning team, it's a ton of work. Lots of logistics on how much space (and often gets full right away or way too much), what to put in, etc. Love the idea of "data center in a box" - just plug and play.

(3) Counts as an IT asset - this is a little in weeds if you aren't in CIO shop but haven't the POD count as an IT asset vs physical asset is a big deal for a number of budget and planning reasons.

(4) Quick deployment for additional capacity - Love the idea of POD as a form of disaster recovery or COOP. Say a region is faced with an emergency (aftermath of Katrina, big storm, etc), you can pull up a data center by driving one up on a trailer. Also once done, can quickly transport it away.

If you get a chance to check one out in person, I highly recommend it - really amazing technology.

HP’s mission is to invent technologies and services that drive business value, create social benefit and improve the lives of customers — with a focus on affecting the greatest number of people possible. Check out their HP for Gov group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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