Sun pitches Project Blackbox to feds

Sun Microsystems is offering their Blackbox as a possible backup or primary for IT systems for use in disaster recovery and consolidation.

The Blackbox is a data center encased in a shipping container which can then be sealed or locked and protected against physical tampering and weather. It contains eight server racks, a cooling system, power grid, fire suppression and shock absorbers.

'You can put whatever you want on those racks: up to 200, 220 kilowatts of computing power, tape, storage, CPUs, DRAM in whatever configuration mode, whatever software you want and shut the door and drive it whereever you want,' said Sun founder and Chairman Scott McNealy.

He said that agencies should be interested in the Blackbox because of the lack of real estate it uses and the mobility.

'You can put it in a parking garage underground and weld it to the support beam so it doesn't go anywhere,' he said. McNealy also suggested storing the containers near power sources or burying them 30 feet underground.

Upgrades or maintenance with the equipment can be done simply by sending the container back to Sun. Data will be managed at the agency level.

'It gives you a tremendous growth capability,' said Dave Vass, President of Sun.

McNealy said that the Defense Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency expressed interest in the Blackbox for mobile applications. For example, having easily movable bases overseas or during disasters such as Katrina.

'By putting [the IT center] in a hermetically sealed box, literally you can deploy on a couple of big cargo ships an entire Desert Storm-style deployment,' said McNealy.

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