The huge underground data center in Japan we mentioned last week may mark the first large-scale deployment of Sun's Project Blackbox portable data center product. Sun will lower 30 Blackbox units into a former coal mine located 100 meters under the ground in Japan's Chubu region. The temperature in the mine is a constant 59 degrees and the facility will use groundwater for cooling, allowing the project to use 50 percent less power than traditional facilities.
The project provides an intersection between two niche movements in the data center industry: the development of portable "data center in a box" products and the use of mines and other underground facilities as data bunkers.
Project Blackbox is an energy-efficient, water-cooled turnkey data center housed in a 20-foot shipping container that can be quickly deployed to expand existing IT infrastructure. The first Blackbox was deployed in August at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif.
Sun Microsystems (JAVAD) is part of an 11-company joint venture building the data center, with other partners including Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ), U.S. consulting firm BearingPoint Inc. (BE), and Japanese IT firms Itochu Techno-Solutions Corp. and NS Solutions Corp. The facility is scheduled to be completed in 2010, with an initial phase of 10,000 servers and the ability to expand to asmany as 30,000.