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New horizons in data centers

September 22, 2008

Recent months have brought a burst of innovation in data centers. We have seen data centers in semitrailers, data centers in caves, data centers in Siberia, data centers in the Las Vegas desert, and data centers that float in the middle of the ocean. Today we have word, via Data Center Knowledge, that Microsoft has been testing data centers in tents. (They're calling it In Tents Computing.)

What's next? Here's my prediction of the ten top data center innovations we'll see over the course of the next year:

1. Data centers in blimps

2. Data centers in shoes

3. Data centers in termite nests

4. Data centers implanted under the skin of people's forearms

5. Data centers in canoes

6. Data centers constructed entirely of post-consumer waste

7. Data centers rolled in seaweed like maki

8. Data centers worn by Japanese schoolgirls

9. Data centers in trees

10. Data centers as figments of the imagination

Sun Microsystems reportedly has a working prototype of a data center in a kangaroo's pouch, but that's unconfirmed.


Data centers on grains of rice

Data centers in Second Life

Data centers in a box, data centers with a fox

Posted by: EzraBall [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2008 04:48 PM

Data centers on the moon

Posted by: Alexander [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 22, 2008 05:17 PM

Data Centers "in the clouds" ?? ! ;)

Posted by: ntic-en-stock [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2008 04:42 AM

We all appreciate your usual sarcasm — but three of your ideas are actually good.

Blimps: great to get solar-power; can move so leaves no-one in a permanent shadow; the latest in optical-connection gives a way to connect them to the ground — but more importantly (it's a classic interview question at Google): it takes less time to have a container-full of hard drives sent by boat to Australia from California then to use a fastest available IP link (and clutter the under-water cable). Therefore: great to update week-old long-tail data around the world.

Shoes: as you've pointed out, power-source and heat-sinks are data-centers issues; the existing leg-powered electricity generators would work wonders with a floor-cooled, blue-tooth accessed mini-computer. You are left with no cellular antenna, a smaller battery and just a screen in your hand.

Canoes: like boat, it's great for both power and cooling — and like blimps, it's great to connect cities (or other data-centers, power-plants, etc.) that tend to be near rivers.

And for the last one. . . Well, data-centers have been figments of many people imagination, yours first and foremost, and became reality thanks to that — so it's not really a future horizon.

Posted by: Bertil [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2008 07:46 AM

Sun's data center in a kangaroo pouch doesn't sound feasible. Too many hops on the network.

Posted by: John Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2008 09:50 AM

“God is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere."
_ Hermes Trimegistus

"The data center is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the data nowhere"
_ Hermenauta

Posted by: Hermenauta [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2008 06:42 PM

I think what you have soundly proved here is that the abstract concept of a data center is not obvious and therefore is deserving of patent protection. This is an important contribution and I presume a line at the PTO door will happen tomorrow.


Posted by: Tom Lord [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2008 10:22 PM

This is my first comment after reading your blog for so long. And I actually want to say Thank You. And I really like your articles. They always make me laughing.
And the ideas about data centers are really funny. I really prefers a data center implanted in the desk where I put my computer. As the server of the company that I work in always have some problems, and the data center always clean up all a sudden. That is really troublesome.
In fact, I hope I has not made wrong understanding with the Data Center.
Anyway, thanks a lot.

Posted by: esperanze [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2008 07:00 AM

Actually raises a point about what the future definition of a "data center" will be, at least from a management perspective ... whatever's inside the four physical walls (or ship bulkheads, or tent flaps)? Some logical/abstract combination of processing happening in-house/outside/in the clouds, etc., + data housed in yet other locations? No lines at the PTO just yet, but isn't VMWare's latest "virtual data center OS" a sign of what's coming?

Posted by: Mark Tonsetic [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2008 12:45 PM

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