Sun considers Rent-a-Blackbox

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Sun considers Rent-a-Blackbox

Sun Microsystems is evaluating several customer requests to rent out their Blackbox shipping container-based data centres in Australia.

In a sign of the continuing space crunch, the technology giant said today that it is looking into the feasibility of a renting out the modular containers either directly or via its partner channel.

“If you can come up with a [feasible business] model then give me a ring,” said Angus MacDonald, Asia Pacific CTO of Sun Microsystems.

“What would we charge them to rent one out? At the end of the day we have to assess what it would cost us to facilitate this model, and that’s an equation for which we currently don’t have any parameters.”

MacDonald said that Sun had also broached with an unnamed partner the idea of purchasing several Blackbox units and renting out the space to desperate customers.

The model could prove to be relatively cost-effective - an average data centre build might start at $8 to $10 million, including real estate costs, whereas a ‘reasonable configuration’ in a Blackbox could be achieved for approximately $1.6 million, he said.

Advances in the second-generation Blackbox have also made them more attractive to customers, said MacDonald. These include the addition of hardware from Sun competitors, and the ability to now include traditional vertically-cooled equipment. The first generation Blackbox only allowed hardware that could be horizontally cooled.
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