Sun MD Powers China’s Earthquake Readiness

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The Sun Modular Data Center (Blackbox) container data center from Sun Microsystems.

The Sun Modular Data Center (Blackbox) container data center from Sun Microsystems.

A Sun Modular Datacenter (Sun MD) is helping Chinese officials develop an early warning system for earthquakes, hoping to minimize the impact of temblors like the one that devastated Sinchuan province earlier this year. Sun Microsystems (JAVA) donated a Sun MD data center container to the China National Disaster Reduction Center (CNDRC) to develop the system.

The Sun MD integrates the components of a modern data center into a 20-foot shipping container, including servers, storage and built-in cooling. The data center container is portable, and can travel by plane, train or truck. It also allows users to quickly add computing capacity.

The CNDRC has deployed a system of remote sensors that can provide early detection of earthquake activity, similar to systems used by the U.S. Geologic Survey. Chinese engineers are developing a satellite system to collect the data, which could reach hundreds of gigabytes of a day. The Sun MD will provide backup storage for the system, and can also be deployed to manage severe disasters and provide remote support for a disaster control command center.

“In the process of building the national disaster reduction system, especially the satellite disaster reduction system, the adoption of the latest and most suitable information technology plays a critical role in ensuring the system will prove a success,” said Dou Yu Pei, Vice Minister, China Ministry of Civil Affairs. “The Sun MD boasts cutting-edge technologies which will prove indispensable after its integration into the disaster reduction system platform now under construction.

“Sun places great emphasis on its commitment to corporate social responsibility and being an active, contributing member of the business community in China,” said Sun’s Scott McNealy. “We are very glad to see that the Sun MD can help provide the datacenter platform support to enhance the China National Disaster Reduction Center’s capacity for disaster analysis and scientific research.”

In May 2008, Sun employees raised more than $140,000 for victims of the Sichuan earthquake. Since its entry into China in 1987, Sun has contributed to the building of several Hope schools in Sichuan and other provinces and improved the study environment for almost 3,000 students.

In 2007 Sun has conducted shake-table tests to document the Sun MD’s ability to withstand a major earthquake. See the video below for a demonstration.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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