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July 6, 2012 / Raffy Pekson II

AOL is Building Refrigerator-sized Data Centers

AOL data centers about the size of French door refrigerators

AOL’s CTO Mike Manos calls it “Data Center Independence Day.” The “Nibiru” group, aptly named after a mythical planet that is said to cross into our solar system and wreaks havoc and brings about great change, was to develop and deliver a data center environment without the need of a physical building. “The environment needed to require as minimal amount of physical ‘touch’ as possible and allow us the ultimate flexibility in terms of how we delivered capacity for our products and services. We called this effort the Micro Data Center. If you think about the amount of things that need to change to evolve to this type of strategy it’s a bit mind-boggling,” Manos wrote in his blog.

What’s at stake with this new technology in cloud computing?

Developing an entirely new Technology Suite and the ability to deliver that capacity anywhere in the world with minimal to no staffing.

Delivering extremely dense compute capacity (think the latest technology) to give us the longest possible use of these assets once deployed into the field.

  • The ability to deliver a “Microdata Center” anywhere on the planet regardless of temperature and humidity settings.
  • The ability to support, maintain, and administer remotely.
  • The ability to fit into the power envelope of a normal office building.
  • Participation in our cloud environment and capabilities.
  • The processes by which these facilities are maintained and serviced.
  • and much much more.

The first beta site for the technology was the AOL campus in Dulles, Virginia.  Out on a lonely slab of concrete in the back of one of the buildings our future has taken shape.

AOL’s new boxes might be about the smallest data-center-in-a-box units around, but they’re actually part of a great move toward modular data centers across companies of all types. As I reported in April, eBay is buying custom-built containers full of thousands of servers that it can drop into (or on top of) its data centers as capacity dictates. IO Data Centers has built an entire business around modular data centers that can sit just about anywhere.

Sources: Giga Om | Loose Bolts (Mike Manos Blog)

Photo from Loose Bolts

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