Data Centers on Cargo Ships?

A Bay Area startup is reportedly planning to build data centers on de-commissioned cargo container ships.

A Bay Area startup is planning to build data centers on cargo container ships, according to Kenneth Jamaca at Silverback Migration Solutions. Jamaca said the company, known as IDS (International Data Security), is planning to build up to 50 data centers on de-commissioned cargo ships, including 22 in North America.

IDS told Jamaca that their first initial space will be available at Pier 50 in San Francisco in the beginning of April, and that the company has signed anchor tenants. "These ships will live in port in their designated cities, and will rely on standard connectivity for power and network," Jamaca writes. Using cargo ships allows for flexibility and the ability to expand based on the availability of ships and port space, rather than real estate.

IDS apparently plans to develop the below-deck areas as data center space, and use deck space to house container-based data centers like Project Blackbox from Sun Microsystems or Rackable's ICE Cube. A sales brochure (PDF) for IDS pictures 14 black containers aboard an oil tanker. The brochure says IDS plans to use biodiesel to power its generators and use heat from equipment to manage temperature on board the ships, reducing their reliance on grid power.


IDS is led by CEO Ken Choi and President Richard Naughton, according to Silverback. Choi is also CEO of Quantum Route, a Mountain View, Calif. company specializing in RFID technology. Naughton is a former Navy admiral and superintendent of the Naval Academy, who also headed the Navy's transportation command and served as CEO of Xenonics, which makes night vision products for the military.

Check out our full list of data centers in strange places.

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