Friday, August 24, 2007


The Sun BlackBox

Wouldn't it be fantastic if the Sun BlackBox could be used in emergency situations like this photo(shop?) shows:

But, using them for Red Cross emergencies is not feasible today as the BlackBox is hungry:

  • Cooling water supply: 60 gallons (~230 liters) per minute of cold water at 13 degrees Celsius which means a large coldwater supply or a small water supply with a serious cooler

  • Dual 600 amp feeds power feeds

  • High bandwidth internet connection

Pretty hard to find in emergency situations, in Africa or elsewhere.

It is no wonder the box is hungry considering the possible configurations:

  • A single Project Blackbox could accommodate 250 Sun Fire T1000 servers with the CoolThreads technology with 2000 cores and 8000 simultaneous threads.

  • A single Project Blackbox could accommodate 250 x64-based servers with 1000 cores.

  • A single Project Blackbox could provide as much as 1.5 petabytes of disk storage or 2 petabytes of energy-efficient tape storage.

  • A single Project Blackbox could provide 7 terabytes of memory.

  • A single Project Blackbox could handle up to 10,000 simultaneous desktop users. 

  • A single Project Blackbox currently has sufficient power and cooling to support 200 kilowatts of rackmounted equipment.

Ignoring the humanitarian benefits it is still an interesting concept for some companies due to its benefits:

  • The black box gives a lot of computing power considering its size

  • It is quick to deploy (just plug in the water, internet connection and power)

  • It is cheaper than building your own data center

  • It gives a 20% improvement in energy saving compared to normal data centers

You can get a look inside the box and more info at YouTube:

Via SciAm August 2007 [pages 74-77]

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