Skip the navigation

Sun to set up underground data center to save on power

By Chris Mellor
November 16, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Techworld.com - Sun and a consortium of other businesses are going to lower self-contained computing facilities into a no-longer-used Japanese coal mine. The goal is to create an underground data center that will use up to 50% less power than a ground-level data center, the vendors claim.

The coolant will be ground water and the site's temperature is a constant 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) all year, meaning no air-conditioning will be needed outside the containers. This reduces the energy required for the water chillers, used with Sun's surface-level Blackbox containers.

The group estimates that up to $9 million of electricity costs could be saved annually if the center were to run 30,000 server cores.

Sun is working with 11 other companies, including an ISP called Internet Initiative Japan, BearingPoint, Itochu Techno-Solutions and NS Solutions. They will form a joint venture with Sun. NTT Communications and Chuo University are also involved.

The disused coal mine is located in the Chubu region on Japan's Honshu island. Sun will build 30 Blackbox self-contained data centers containing a total of 10,000 servers (cores). This can be increased to 30,000 cores if there is the demand for it.

The containers will be linked to power, water cooling and network lines via external connectors.

Sun has been developing its Blackbox concept for three years; a typical one has 250 servers mounted in seven racks inside a standard 20-foot shipping container. Sun says that With T-series processors, a single Blackbox can hold up to 2,000 cores, providing 8,000 simultaneous processing threads.

A subterranean data center will be easier to secure against unauthorized entry and terrorist attacks. The Blackbox containers are robust enough to withstand up to magnitude 6.7 earthquakes, Sun claims. The Nihonkai-Chubu earthquake shook the region in 1983.

The project has been initially estimated to cost $405 million and the site should start offering data center services to public and private sector customers in April 2010.

Reprinted with permission from TechWorld.com. Copyright 2012 IDG, all rights reserved.
Our Commenting Policies
Internet of Things: Get the latest!
Internet of Things

Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!