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Will the network centers of the world someday look like this?
No word on how company plans to deal with pirates

While Sun may have pioneered the "Datacenter in a shipping container" concept some time ago with "Project Blackbox," and alternative uses for shipping containers discovered before that by enterprising architects, a San Francisco area startup company is planning on taking the concept of portable servers one step further -- by floating the loaded containers on the cargo ships from whence they came.

International Data Security (IDS) plans to open its first portion of available space at the beginning of April 2008 on a container ship docked at San Francisco Bay's Pier 50, according to Kenneth Jamaca of Silverback Migration Solutions. Standard connections for power and network will be run to the ships.

According to the company sales brochure and further information from IDS, IDS will be deploying 50 "server ships" worldwide, with 22 docked in North America. Each ship will have facilities similar to landed data centers, with additional ship-specific features such as overnight accomodations and a galley instead of a cafeteria -- and over 200,000 square feet of available server space per ship.

Power demands will be supplemented by on-ship generators running on the ship's fuel supply, allowing sustained power outages of up to one month. To help reduce the demands on the cooling system for the generators and data containers, sea water will be used to cool the AC towers for a claimed power reduction of 30-40%. In a circular fashion, the excess heat from the same equipment will be used to supplement ambient heat on the ship.

While the jokes about purchasing an entire cargo ship and setting sail for international waters have already been told, there are no plans for the ships to leave port -- the massive bandwidth requirements and use of refurbished ships no doubt play large roles in this decision.

Still, the dream of a certain Swedish peer-to-peer site to purchase a "floating data haven" seems to be inching closer and closer by the day.




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