System News
Sun Goes Underground in Japan
Partners with 11 Other Firms to Build Datacenters in Coal Mine
November 19, 2007,
Volume 117, Issue 3

Sun will build 30 Blackbox self-contained data centers containing a total of 10,000 servers (cores).

Sun and 11 other entities are collaborating in the construction of an underground data center in a worked-out coal mine in the Chubu region on Japan's Honshu island. Sun will contribute its signature Project Blackbox, which can typically provide 250 servers mounted in seven racks inside a standard 20-foot shipping container, as Chris Mellor, of Techworld reports. With T-series processors, Sun claims a single Blackbox can hold up to 2,000 cores, providing 8,000 simultaneous processing threads.

Situated 100 meters below ground, the ambient temperature in the proposed data center (budgeted at 45 billion yen -- US$405 million -- will remain at 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) year round, eliminating the need for air conditioning. Moreover, groundwater can be used for cooling. This arrangement is projected to result in an annual savings of one billion yen of electricity costs (US$9 million), which will thus be saved annually, according to the consortium, whose members include Internet Initiative Japan - an ISP, BearingPoint, Itochu Techno-Solutions, NS Solutions and Chuo University. The data center is scheduled for operation in April 2010.

Sun will build 30 Blackbox self-contained data centers containing a total of 10,000 servers (cores), which will be increased to 30,000 cores if there is sufficient demand.

Japan Corporate News (JCN) reports that the consortium hopes to win orders from both the public and private sectors for data storage services using the container-type data centers.

Mellor notes that, at 100 meters below ground, the data centers will be relatively easy to secure against terrorist attacks and unauthorized entry. What is more, the Blackbox containers can withstand earthquakes up to a quake of magnitude 6.7 on the Richter scale.

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