Rackable Systems, Inc. (RACK) today introduced ICE Cube, a new version of its Concentro portable data center, but featuring a denser server environment and the option of a smaller container size. ICE Cube features computing density levels of up to 11,200 processing cores or 4.1 Petabytes of storage in a standard 40 foot by 8 foot shipping container. The Concentro modular data center design was launched in March, 2007, when it joined Sun's Project Blackbox in the market for portable data centers.
Rackable also said that the new data center will be available in a 20-foot container as well as the original 40-foot Concentro design. The Blackbox is offered in a 20-foot shipping container, and Rackable's decision to offer ICE in a similar "form factor" may allow customers seeking portable data centers to make more direct comparisons between the two products.
ICE - short for the "Integrated Concentro Environment" - features nearly 20 percent greater density levels than Concentro, and additional configuration options inside the container. ICE Cube can be deployed with Rackable Systems’ new V Series line of virtualized servers. The company is also promising a faster delivery schedule for ICE, saying it can design, build and deliver a fully populated ICE Cube to customers in a matter of weeks.
"ICE Cube can dramatically reduce deployment times — enabling design to deployment of a fully-functional, built-to-order data center in a mere 90 days or less," said Mark J. Barrenechea, president and CEO of Rackable Systems.
The new ICE configuration used Intel Xeon quad-core processors in Rackable Systems’ half-depth servers and storage, enabling high density per square foot. "The Intel Xeon processor is specifically designed for this type of energy efficient, high performance modular building block approach, and will help ICE Cube solve the significant density, power and cooling challenges that legacy data centers face today,” said Kirk Skaugen, vice president, Intel Digital Enterprise Group, general manager, Server Platforms Group.
ICE Cube uses DC power technology and Rackable Systems’ low wattage servers and storage, as well as self-contained cooling technology. Rackable also put an additional "green" spin on its new offering, noting that ICE Cube "diminishes geographic barriers to alternative energy sources," giving companies the option to place a portable data center next to a windmill farm, solar array or close to hydro power sources.
Rackable appears to be targeting government agencies with the ICE Cube version of Concentro. The company says it will be hosting a "road show" of ICE Cube at Raytheon facilities in the Washington DC and Northern Virginia areas over the coming weeks. Scheduled dates include September 18-20 in Chantilly, Virginia; September 25-27 in Reston, Virginia; and October 2-4 in Falls Church, Virginia.