HP has a new addition to their containerized data center line. The new blade-in-a-box mantra has been scaled down to fit within a 20-ft unit. It offers roughly half the compute capacity of their larger, 40-ft design introduced in July of 2008. Customers can order up to 10, 50U racks in the unit [no word on whether this includes a free step-ladder], housing up to 80 blade slots. The power requirements come in around 290kW fully juiced or 145kW with redundancy built in.
Unlike their competitors, HP promises to remain vendor neutral on the compute contents. Huh? They will, in fact, support a “wide variety” of third-party technologies through standard 19″ racks. Put some IBM servers in one. I double dare you.
Why so snarky this evening? We’ve seen the various foo-in-a-box designs from the likes of Rackable/SGI, Sun, HP, Verari and Dell for some time now. However, given the high price tag of $600,000 before you add any useful gear, users are a bit skiddish at the long-term value proposition. I’ve seen a few deliveries of container-based IT deployments in various organizations. Personally, I see containerized data centers as a very niche technology that will continue to reside in oddball deployments.
Nonetheless, vendors will continue to argue the usefulness of this technology until the cows come home. Wait, I am home, and I have cows.