IBM shows off mobile data centre

Containerized data centre offers ease of expansion, access to computing at remote sites

Tags: Disaster recoveryOil & Gas
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IBM shows off mobile data centre IBM is showing off its Portable Modular Data Centre in the Middle East (ITP Images)
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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 1, 2010

IBM has embarked on a regional roadshow with its Portable Modular Data Centre.

The PMDC is a new offering from IBM, and consists of a complete data centre installed in a standard shipping container, to provide a fast deployment alternative to a static data centre.

The company says that the PMDC is ideal to provide computing power to companies that have run out of space at their premises or that need to deploy computing power in the field, or as a disaster recovery solutions that can replicate the a company's computing environment in case of an emergency.

In the Middle East, IBM believes that the solution will appeal to the construction and oil and gas sectors, as well as the military, where the containers can be deployed at remote sites, and for banking and finance, to provide a flexible disaster recovery centre.

IBM is also looking to film production, where companies could use the data centres on location to carry out computing-intensive tasks such as editing, without having to physically send tapes or data back and forth to other sites.

The system would also be suited to things like events and exhibitions, where the data centre could be used to provide computing services to multiple exhibitors.

Khaled Negm, infrastructure service manager, MENA, global technology services IBM said the company is already working with a bank in the region, which needs expansion space now, and a disaster recovery solution in future.

"They have a requirement for disaster recovery, and at the same time they are moving to another location and expanding, and time is critical for them. Their other location will not be ready for a year, so they will use this as a temporary solution, and they will use permanently in the end for a disaster recovery set up. We can order the configuration of the IT, so it comes with everything inside, and up and running," he explained.

The data centre is available in three different standard container sizes, 20, 40 and 53 TEU, and as they are housed in standard shipping containers, can be moved easily, and can even be stacked on top of each other when space is limited.

Each data centre is tailored to the customer's exact requirements, and IBM will consult with them to agree on design and configuration. The centres are then manufactured to order, tested, and delivered ready to plug in at the client site. The overall cycle can be completed in 12-14 weeks, IBM says, a big difference with the amount of time it would normally take to design and build a static data centre.

At the client site, the centre requires power, water for cooling and a data connection, which can be fibre optic, copper, satellite or any standard linkage. IBM services can assist with the connectivity and can also provide a concrete base for siting the data centre.

Each container is completely configurable for the users requirements, with standard 19 inch racks, and can include any normal IT infrastructure such as servers, storage, KVM modules, plus options like UPS, air conditioning, fire prevention, access controls and so on. IBM says customers can configure the data centres as they like, with a mix of IT and utilities in each container, or IT in one and utilities in another depending on the needs. A standard 20 TEU container can hold eight racks, or five racks plus power and cooling, while a 40 TEU has 17 racks or eight racks with power and cooling.

The cost of a PMDC starts at around $500,000, and IBM reports that it has already sold around 250 worldwide.

The PMDC has visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and will now go on to Riyadh, Jeddah, Cairo and Casablanca.

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