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A New Type of Colocation Facility

January 31, 2013
Having a data center like this would certainly make it easy to grow your computing capacity quickly.

Having a data center like this would certainly make it easy to grow your computing capacity quickly.

Many of us in the technology industry have worked with a data center of some sort. It might be a closet in our employer’s building, a dedicated room with separate power and cooling, or perhaps rented space at a data center facility. In my career, I’ve worked with a variety of data centers over the years, and it’s been interesting to watch them evolve as new knowledge and technology becomes available.

I remember having a dedicated room so cold that I kept a coat in by cube, even during the 95F summers. These days I have space in a Denver center that has hot and cold aisles. The latter still requires me to carry a coat, but any significant amount of time in the former means I’m down to just a t-shirt.

As cloud computing grows, capacity becomes important (along with bandwidth and reliability), but the ability to scale your computing capacity up or down may be more important as your customer base grows. Microsoft is taking on this challenge and looking to build”generation 4″ data centers, which may be empty buildings that have power. In some places, these data centers might just be parking lots with power feeds and a fence.

The cost of construction can be extremely high for new facilities, but imagine a section of a parking garage, or even a secured lot next to your building. A container of servers is dropped off and you connect power, network, and maybe cooling lines (or maybe no cooling). We could potentially even have containers of computing machines and containers of storage. If we ever get cloud computing software inside of companies, this might be the way in which we handle our future data center needs.

Steve Jones


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2 Comments
  1. I think I would be worried about someone driving up with a truck and hooking up to the small building (or using a small crane to lift it onto a trailer) and driving off with my data center. Admittedly it would be potentially very expensive to get the right equipment to walk off with one of these things, but the potential gain from the left would be fairly high as well. You could certainly make the size of the container difficult to remove or bolt it to the ground, but I still feel like it would be an increased security risk.

    Along those lines though I worked at a company many many years ago that was expanding dramatically. While they built the new data center & IT area we (IT and the servers) were moved out into the parking lot in a double wide. We had one (yes one) fiber optic cable running over the warehouse and into the rest of the building to supply all data to the rest of the company. It was a very interesting experience to say the least.

  2. I guess it could be a problem, but I wouldn’t expect containers to be outside without some security, cameras, fences, etc.

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