Despite the ongoing boom in the Australian resources and mining sector, IBM is tipping that finance, government and manufacturing organisations will be the primary customers of its now officially launched data-centre-in-a-box, the Portable Modular Data Centre (PMDC).
According to IBM’s Site and Facilities Services ANZ leader, David Yip, even though IBM had originally intended the PMDC for use in remote locations by oil, mining and gas companies, the strongest interest for the solution was coming from metropolitan-based market sectors.
“One particular use that comes up time and time again, particularly in this part of the world, is to address a lack of [data centre] capacity, not in remote or rural areas, but in urban areas and the CBD — both in a physical space sense and a power and cooling sense,” he said.
By way of example, Yip said one early PMDC customer – WesTrac based in the Perth metropolitan area — had deployed a PMCD in the organisation’s car park as a means to address a lack of in-house server room space.
“This product was not intended to help us sell more servers,” Yip said. “It was developed to help our clients accommodate their servers, so we focussed on making sure that this container operates in the same way as a fixed facility… we have made a clear decision to be vendor neutral.”
In addition to being a means to address a lack of data centre space, Yip said IBM was also positioning the offering as a way for metropolitan-based organisations to experiment with moving to a private cloud.
“A media company could use it for on-site production – they could bring their IT on to the set instead of back at their production facilities in the city, or on the back of a trailer for broadcast at a sporting event,” he said. “It could also be used to respond to diasters, as well as to avoid disasters.”
As reported by Computerworld Australia , one film industry company, digital animation studio Animal Logic, is mulling the use of container-based data centres as a means to cut down on power costs associated with cooling.
Yip claimed the PMDC was capable of offering a power use effectiveness (PUE) rating of “1.3 or better (lower)”.
PUE is rated from one to three and is a ratio of the power needed to run IT equipment against that needed to run the facility housing that equipment. A 1.3 rating is equal to 0.3 watts going to run the facility for every one watt needed to run IT. The lower the PUE, the better.
To date IBM has sold two of the PMDCs but Yip said IBM was very optimistic over the future growth of the data-centre-in-a-box market.
In August HP reported that it had “tens” of deals in the pipeline for its own iteration, the Performance Optimised Datacentre, or POD, following its signing of the iVEC Informatics Facility at Murdoch University in WA as part of a bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.