Sun Shines on 10,000 Desktops

Magnificent Monster Needs a Home

Sun Microsystems has a new product. But not even Sun engineers know how much it costs.

As a matter of fact, some are not sure of what to do with the built 10,000. So far nobody, not anybody, seems real sure.

No matter.

It’s new.

It’s exciting.

Sun has conjured up a sci-fi expert’s fantasy though. Since it’s something most would like to have, there will be many outstanding uses for it.


Welcome to “Project Blackbox.”

Owning a portable datacenter may seem like a magical dream to the tech-oriented. To many of us, it’s a snazzy plan. Sun Microsystems also thinks so. Such a grand idea that they constructed more than one, they assembled two choices. You and I think Black Box, Sun calls it the first “Virtualized Datacenter.” How well it catches on remains to be seen. Be it genius or crackpot, it is compelling.

For a real Black Box, we need a few extra trinkets starting with a good size container to use as a box. A nice shipping container found at any large port-of-entry would be swell, about 20-feet in size.

One absolute requirement inside will be integrated cooling; who wants a hot black box? Water cooling as currently used for the newer computer systems? Maybe.

Next, we have to think about networking, plus power distribution. Going to require external hookups for hot and cold water, why not 208-volt three-phase AC power? Then to reach out and touch someone, Ethernet networks, integrate sensors, gotta have alarms, add GPS.

Now all we have to do is fill eight of those 19-inch shock-tolerant racks with servers… and this is where Sun shines, with 120 Sun Fire T2000 servers, first choice, 250 Sun Fire T1000 systems, if we have to take what we can get.

So what have we got? Power, man, man size power. World-class power. One or two thousand processor cores, 7TB (tera bytes) of memory, and more than 2PB (peta-bytes) of storage. Connect them, viola! A grid (keep it simple). For simplicity.

According to Sun, this configuration can support 10,000 simultaneous desktops, check this – without requiring a sleepy administrator.

The upside is you can park your Box almost anywhere you have use for it.

And soon. It can be delivered rapidly, to catastrophe areas. Would that be where there are 10,000 working desktops to communicate with?

Not a problem, Sun claims, Project Blackbox datacenter is a 1/10th the price of a standard datacenter. The major sell point, Sun’s can be cranked up, and configured in a single day.

So, if you suddenly become a lucky corporate owner overwhelmed with new business unexpectedly, or your old datacenter can’t keep up with new growth, or you choose to simply own a server farm on the move in some distant jungle outpost, Sun is there for you, or will be soon.



Pricy, count on that.

Sun’s Denver, Colorado engineer who spoke with NewsBlaze says, “Costs to buyers are not available for even me to view, price-wise.”

Is it available yet?

He continues, “They’re made customized, created, often to scale, to move dramatically, quickly. Not like that ‘Pod,’ as if we’re going to drive it around to a different location or even area each week.”

And who would need this much ‘mobile’ power?

Corporations who need expansion today, while moving into a larger location.

In conclusion, “Everything is contained inside the secured environment.”

I see the Sun is shining – beaming, even. Pleased with itself.

Perhaps they’ll send a review model to NewsBlaze, parked outside the local library. We could support 50 journalists, 10 editors, 50 bloggers, 20 photographers, two movie camera operators, 50 podcasters, 10 sound engineers, 100 webcams, 20 photoshoppers, 50 production assistants, 10 sysadmins and 20 support engineers to get out Saturday’s news and that leaves 9,610 ports for readers.

We’ll let you know when – bring your own laptop.

Claudia Strasbaugh
Claudia Strasbaugh was a freelance writer who founded Scripps Ranch/Mira Mesa Writer's Guild, was head writer for the weekly TV show "Kill 'EM With Comedy," plus California Bureau Chief for National Lotto World Magazine. Claudia also ran a nonprofit called Dinner On A Dollar. Sadly, Claudia passed away in 2015, but we are pleased to display her writing works.