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Servers Ahoy — Startup To Build Floating Data Centers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'm-on-a-boat dept.

Data Storage 219

1sockchuck writes "Startup International Data Security says it is moving ahead with plans to build data centers on cargo ships docked in the San Francisco Bay. IDS first announced its plans in 2008, but they were postponed by the credit crunch. The company says it has now lined up funding and an anchor tenant for a proof-of-concept 'dataship' that will hold 500 racks of servers in its cargo holds. IDS isn't alone in contemplating ship-board server farms, as Google has applied for a patent for a 'water-based data center.'"

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CmdrTaco has a tiny penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192106)

CmdrTaco has a tiny penis. So does kdawson.

Re:CmdrTaco has a tiny penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192524)

How many Keith Dawson willy nillies would it take to fill up a goatse [goatse.fr] ?

Re:CmdrTaco has a tiny penis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192746)

Since each one is barely a millimeter in width, probably 10s of thousands.

Now you can literally deep six unwelcome data (3, Funny)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192164)

Wonder if data sinks will have to be prohibited?

No intel chips either (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192566)

..can't trust the floating point calculations, which have assumed dramatic new importance

Re:Now you can literally deep six unwelcome data (1)

Seismologist (617169) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192614)

Well, I for one am tired of reading about server room floodings (data center in Istambul [datacenterknowledge.com] ) and welcome reading about sinking data centers in the near future. As an added bonus, I can even link to this posting.

[bookmarked for future use under /. predictions come true catagory] -- done

Re:Now you can literally deep six unwelcome data (1)

drop table user (1517433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193156)

Wonder if data sinks will have to be prohibited?

They remain allowed if you fill them with floating point numbers only.

Them scurvy dogs (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192174)

These guys better watch out for software pirates!!!

Re:Them scurvy dogs (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192210)

Nah, they'll listen to Reason.

Re:Them scurvy dogs (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192360)

LOL

that was the first thing I though of as well

beat me to it.

Re:Them scurvy dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192846)

Is that a Snow Crash reference?

Re:Them scurvy dogs (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192978)

Are you really asking that?

Re:Them scurvy dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33193254)

Ultima Ratio Regum

Re:Them scurvy dogs (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192240)

You always do when you program in sea.

Re:Them scurvy dogs (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192454)

Loose Lisp sink ships

Re:Them scurvy dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192596)

So do limpet mines.

Re:Them scurvy dogs (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192482)

You always do when you program in sea.

Great, now HR is going to require "20 years experience with sea, sea++, and also sea+" on all our resumes.

Re:Them scurvy dogs (3, Funny)

llvllatrix (839969) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192716)

I think the wire sharks will do more damage.

Re:Them scurvy dogs (0)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192984)

Yo dawg. I heard you like to pirate. So I put a server on a ship so you can pirate while you pirate.

pirates (1)

weirdo557 (959623) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192182)

so will this be an opportunity to pirate data in a whole new way?

Well (4, Interesting)

NetNed (955141) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192232)

Does this mean that file sharing and sites like Wikileaks could just pull up anchor and go to the next country if being pressured by local law enforcement? Interesting the possibilities that this could have. Can think either bad or good, maybe even both.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192350)

Thus increasing the ease of seizing their property under the guise of a Coast Guard inspection/quaranteen, firing on them at sea, sinking them and blaming it on pirates/terrorists, etc? Sounds like a good plan to me.

Re:Well (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192468)

Good points. The media industries and such have painted anyone with a PC a criminal/pirate/terrorist for so long it only fits that things could come to that. Will make the whole "Blanket on the front law" scenario look like mere child's play!

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192600)

Not to mention that in reality it's far easier to just upload a backup copy of the site to a new server than it is to move a cargo ship.

Other than 'land is expensive' which is hard to believe since you can build a datacenter more or less anywhere on cheap land OUTSIDE of major cities... I just don't see any advantge at all, maybe some loopholes that haven't been caught yet but won't take long to close.

The whole thing seems really silly.

Re:Well (1)

jofer (946112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192842)

Well, one big advantage is cheap cooling... Ignoring potential problems with regulations regarding thermal pollution, etc, of course.

Re:Well (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192958)

I just don't see any advantge at all, maybe some loopholes that haven't been caught yet but won't take long to close.

Build and fully equip the boats with Chinese political prisoner slave labor instead of highly paid American CCIEs. Then sail across the sea to the end user. You're already paying the Chinese to build all the electronics and ship them to the usa, just now you're paying them to mount the racks in the ships, mount the machines in the racks, run all the cables, etc.

Admittedly, god only know what backdoors and keyloggers they're going to slip in, but using walmart math, it doesn't matter if its any good as long as its cheap.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192604)

Build a moat around any datacenter and you get the same thing. Without the storms, coast guards, polution, and harbour taxes.

Re:Well (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192892)

What (international?) laws protect independent ships on the open sea anyway? What's to stop say, our friendly DoD from parking a battleship next to a DataShip and "thank you for your cooperation" while they board the ship and hunt for their wikileaks documents?

One would assume they would claim a registry somewhere in the world where there were sensible privacy laws, and would be "under their flag", but I don't know how much actual protection that would afford them. I don't know how international law/treaties work at sea. I assume there are treaties signed by various countries to agree on common laws of the sea, and if you and they are both signed off on them, the law applies to your interaction?

Being anchored in a US port (or any country's port with similarly backwards privacy laws) would seem to be invitation to be boarded regularly on any variety of trumped up charges by said hosting country. Too bad SeaLand doesn't have a port. Considering the catastrophic consequences of a ship collision there I'm sure they don't want anything like that parking nearby. (I wonder if SeaLand considers these sorts of things "competition"?)

It does create an interesting mashup of tradeoffs however. Circulating seawater for cooling would surely be efficient. Power generation could be a problem, though the tanks on those boats are pretty big and I'd suppose they could run a whole "boatload" of servers for some time on gennies if need be. Wouldn't be able to just pile in the crates sokoban-style, they'd all have to be accessible so the inside would have to be organized, probably using special shipping containers that functioned as access points within the stack, as hallways etc. Then you have to figure out how to interconnect power, data, and cooling to the containers. Sounds like a very fresh challenge.

Re:Well (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192942)

Jack Ryan, "How do you get a crew of highly trained sailors to want to get off a nuclear submarine^H^H^H floating data centre?"

Re:Well (0, Troll)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192976)

Does this mean that file sharing and sites like Wikileaks could just pull up anchor and go to the next country if being pressured by local law enforcement? Interesting the possibilities that this could have. Can think either bad or good, maybe even both.

No; as soon as they hit international water, they'd be a free target for anyone who hated them.

I'm not exactly sure how maritime law works, but I'd imagine they'd also be under the jurisdiction of whatever flag they happened to fly on their ship.

IF, however, they were able to set up a datacenter in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, they should be able to operate as they please, as there is no law there.

Re:Well (1)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193240)

No. Ships are still subject to their country of origin's laws, even in the high seas. They're better off staying in Iceland.

A Patent? (2)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192234)

Seriously? How is a server-farm in a ship innovative enough for a patent? Goodness.

Re:A Patent? (3, Insightful)

ImNotAtWork (1375933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192522)

One word: Cooling

Re:A Patent? (1)

qwerty_king (1874588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193080)

one word: Rust

Re:A Patent? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193138)

Not so sure that's a concern. Modern ship-board systems don't seem to be affected that much more greatly (probably because proper precautions have been taken for those boxed in components).

Re:A Patent? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193160)

It would be easier to keep at a constant temperature, but that alone doesn't qualify it for a patent.

Re:A Patent? (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192580)

Seriously? How is a server-farm in a ship innovative enough for a patent? Goodness.

I was thinking the exact same thing.

You see so many patents that are like "a patent for doing something commonplace ... with a computer". Now I'm looking at "building a data center ... on a ship" and going WTF??

However, following the link to the Slashdot article, they're envisioning capturing the wave energy to run some of the power needs. So, that might be a somewhat novel idea that merits a patent.

Re:A Patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192680)

I'm pretty certain the Navy has prior art on this.

Re:A Patent? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193062)

And even if they do (and I agree that they do), it's still not nearly as ground-breaking innovative as to require a patent.

Battleship: The next generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192236)

You sunk my Exchange server! (THANKS!)

Old metaphor (2, Funny)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192244)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a cargo ship full of servers, hurling through the Pacific ocean...

Re:Old metaphor (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192612)

hurling through the Pacific ocean

One typically tries not to use the word "hurl" in a nautical context. Maybe hurtling might be a better choice in this context? :-P

Re:Old metaphor (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192764)

Perhaps he's expecting the Kraken to pick them up and hurl them...

Chips Ahoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192246)

Those servers are going to have CPUs inside them, so why not go with the Chips Ahoy! [nabiscoworld.com] joke?

As an aside, that link is the worst possible way to do an URL for a website, especially a commercial one. You shouldn't need a redirect to be able to print your URLs in commercials and newspapers. Learn to do URL rewrites, it's transparent to the end-users.

"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192252)

So what are the laws concerning data resident on vessels under a foreign flag ?

Seems like a nice way to get pirate-bay like content really close to the US backbone.

Re:"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192404)

So what are the laws concerning data resident on vessels under a foreign flag ? Seems like a nice way to get pirate-bay like content really close to the US backbone.

International waters (14 miles out, IIRC) would be safe enough I suppose. Any closer and the US Coast Guard can and do board ships flying foreign flags and the same excuse for US Customs to search laptops and flashdrives would also cover data searches for shipboard servers. I don't think it flies as far as ethics are concerned, but I'm sure it'd be considered legal.

Re:"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192532)

Close. It's 12 miles.

Re:"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192500)

So what are the laws concerning data resident on vessels under a foreign flag ?

Seems like a nice way to get pirate-bay like content really close to the US backbone.

If they're doing this to host pirated content, then this is a really stupid idea, becuae it's easier for authorties to get to them. A land-side agency like the FBI needs a warrant to search a premises and seize stuff. The Coast Guard has much more leeway to board and search ships than the FBI could ever dream of having over some server farm.

Re:"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192806)

It's even easier than that. A stray missile from submarine "accidentally" sunk the data center.

Re:"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192974)

Or just have the USS Greeneville accidentally surface and destroy the ship. Totally plausible.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/USS_Greeneville_%28SSN-772%29

Re:"pirate" flag of convenience ? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192926)

If they're doing this to host pirated content, then this is a really stupid idea, becuae it's easier for authorties to get to them. A land-side agency like the FBI needs a warrant to search a premises and seize stuff. The Coast Guard has much more leeway to board and search ships than the FBI could ever dream of having over some server farm.

Also US Customs officials can search on whim without even suspicion, and convict you for whatever they find regardless of what they may have been searching for (if anything). See here [homelandse...wswire.com] .

SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE EVENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192292)

Your server will be dry docked while repairs are made to the hull. Expected maintenance window: Fall 2011 -> Spring 2012

It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192394)

But it sure seems like a tsunami would take it out.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (1)

khb (266593) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192486)

Quite true.

Even worse, if they are using wires to shore (for reasonable latency, high bandwidth) they will be hostage to just as many (and perhaps worse) failures due to network connectivity (worse than a well designed ground based facility, as few... if any... ports were designed around notions of data redundancy.

Of course, building them far in the deep ocean has benefits (Legal and practical), but then there's that darned latency issue.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192880)

Even worse, if they are using wires to shore (for reasonable latency, high bandwidth) they will be hostage to just as many (and perhaps worse) failures due to network connectivity (worse than a well designed ground based facility, as few... if any... ports were designed around notions of data redundancy.

In San Francisco Bay, they could probably get reasonable latency and high bandwidth with microwave transmitters pointed at one or more shore stations (possibly on opposites sides of the Bay, to provide redundancy against problems affecting either San Francisco or the East Bay.) A major disaster that killed the shore stations would cause an interruption in service, but would require less to recover from than destroying the data center itself.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (2, Insightful)

ImNotAtWork (1375933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192564)

depends on how close to shore it is. It's nearly a non-event if the ship is not close to shore.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192578)

Tsunami's don't work that way. Generally, the wave out at sea (or even in the harbor) is quite small, it is only when it pushes up against a shelf of land that it rises 30 or more feet above the surface of the sea. Besides, cargo ships are big, huge in fact. Even a 100 ft rouge wave (which would be completely unheard of in a harbor) would have trouble significantly damaging one of them. When was the last time that you heard about a cargo ship sinking while docked at harbor?.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192762)

During past hurricanes in the gulf, there were instances where entire ships ended up on land. This would likely damage one of these server ships and anything in it.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (1)

HelioWalton (1821492) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192982)

A rouge wave, eh? It's a commie tsunami! (I assume you actually meant rogue wave)

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (2, Funny)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193204)

"Even a 100 ft rouge wave (which would be completely unheard of in a harbor) would have trouble significantly damaging one of them."

It's the ones with eye shadow that you have to worry about.

A.

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192836)

But it sure seems like a tsunami would take it out.

In San Francisco Bay? While perhaps theoretically possible, I don't think a tsunami that would be likely to take out such a floating data center has occurred in recorded history, and given the geography of the region it would pretty hard (if it was in the ocean off the SF coast, it would be in more danger.)

Re:It says they're nearly impervious to disaster (1)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193106)

It says they're nearly impervious to disaster But it sure seems like a tsunami would take it out.

That's the nearly part...

Heat sink (3, Insightful)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192434)

I assume one of the primary reasons for doing so is to take advantage of liquid cooling using the Bay.

how long do you think it will be before the thermal pollution [wikipedia.org] watchdogs start cracking down?

solid state (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192494)

will make data centers as we know them obsolete. i'm already carrying a terabyte around in my pocket.

Re:solid state (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192538)

i'm already carrying a terabyte around in my pocket.

Are you sure you're not just happy to see us?

Re:solid state (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192626)

damn you. damn you to hell for posting that before me. :() best line of the day.

Re:solid state (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193108)

nobody is every happy to see anonymous.

.sig does not apply in this case...

Re:solid state (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192628)

32gb SD cards, 32 of?

Re:solid state (0, Redundant)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192652)

i'm already carrying a terabyte around in my pocket.

Oh, I just thought you were glad to see me. ;-)

Moot because of tethering? (5, Interesting)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192510)

They still need massive data and power lines coming from the grid, and because servers need to be connected to the internet without even the slightest interruption, a floating server rack cannot be mobile. In fact, special steps would have to be undertaken to make sure it stays in one place during storms and other maritime crises. Wouldn't it make more sense to just buy a piece of land near the sea and simply pump the ocean water around for cooling? Throw in a few photovoltaic cells and a wind turbine and you'd get a far cheaper, more reliable land-based data center.

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192556)

Floating data centers are immune to flooding due to rising sea level. (Of course, a good tsunami could wipe 'em out just fine... But if you knew one was coming and had time to deal with it you could perhaps move them out to deep waters for the duration? It's not like you're going to be able to reconnect them at the port right away, but you might be able to move them to a port which has not been wiped out, and reattach them there.)

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192688)

While the ships themselves are immune to flooding, their cables would still be susceptible to any large movements. Re-attaching the ship after the conncetion has been severed, even if it had been done deliberately, is not going to be a simple matter of plug-and-play, too. There'll be hundreds of cables to connect, then comes the task of actually booting up the servers again. And if you were a company, would you buy webspace/storage/whatever on a vessel that could go offline at any moment for an uncertain duration?

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192840)

Of course, a good tsunami could wipe 'em out just fine...

Only if it's a pretty poorly built ship.

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192606)

"They still need massive data and power lines coming from the grid, and because servers need to be connected to the internet without even the slightest interruption, a floating server rack cannot be mobile."

One would assume they'd be able to generate the power themselves. Data lines are still an issue, though an optical or microwave link to shore might be feasible.

It'd probably make more sense as a big render farm or compute farm, where the machines can chew on the task for a day and then the result is pooped back out, rather than a bunch of servers constantly being hit by requests.

And if they want to take advantage of water temperatures to cool the systems, they probably ought to consider moving to Vancouver or even Alaska.

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192816)

One would assume they'd be able to generate the power themselves.

How, with diesel plants? Wouldn't that destroy the whole cost-saving efficiency effort?

Data lines are still an issue, though an optical or microwave link to shore might be feasible.

That's not working either. On the ocean, you can't assume line of sight because weather and waves are going to get in the way. The data rate wouldn't be acceptable anyway and the effort required on both ends to compensate for the motion of the waves doesn't make it feasible.

It'd probably make more sense as a big render farm or compute farm, where the machines can chew on the task for a day and then the result is pooped back out, rather than a bunch of servers constantly being hit by requests.

That's actually a good use, I didn't think of that. But still, if I rented CPU power, I would very likely be interested in monitoring the results as they come in as opposed to firing the button and be surprised by the result and the huge bill one day later. Also, if they generate their own power out on the sea they would probably be more expensive than traditional server farms.

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

MikeyO (99577) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192686)

Wouldn't it make more sense to just buy a piece of land near the sea and simply pump the ocean water around for cooling?

Not when the sea you want to be near is the San Francisco Bay, where real estate prices are insane.

tethering? (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192768)

I bet you could get some super cheap cooling just by puttering up into the arctic ocean and opening a few windows. Solves one data center issue at the cost of others.

I wonder though if anyone has thought of building land based data centers in the far northern climates to take advantage of the -40 degree arctic cold fronts.

I used to joke with a friend who wanted to do a tour in one of the antarctic research stations that he could leave a overclocked computer sitting outside his bedroom window, and the only problem he would have is penguins trying to lay eggs in it.

Re: tethering? (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193130)

I've read of people trying to sell this in Iceland - cold, and you have cheap geothermal power!

They were having trouble finding users who weren't turned off by the expensive bandwidth, last I'd heard...

Re:Moot because of tethering? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193038)

Floating data centers are immune to property tax increases because they'll just sail away, and mostly immune to NIMBY foolishness assuming you use a pre-existing port.

Re:Moot because of tethering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33193110)

In the future, ships could be nuclear, and could use tethering to provide power to the city.

Cooling? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192542)

I assume they are using water-cooled CPUs?

mo3 0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192622)

Obsessed - give raise or lower the START A HOLY WAR questions, then there are since we maDe the variations on the who are intersted one or the other for trolls'

WHY??? (1)

Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192684)

Why on earth would you do this? This seems like a disaster waiting to happen... Why not just put the servers in the sewer or dangle them from blimps? Put them in orbit? How about in Pakistani caves? Submarines? On the backs of sharks? Whalesharks?

Re:WHY??? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192770)

On the backs of sharks? Whalesharks?

There may not be enough room for the lasers then, though your whaleshark idea intrigues me.

Re:WHY??? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192852)

Because Google doesn't yet have patents filed for those things?

I'm going to patent "water based fishing center.." (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192744)

My "water based fishing center" will use a complex system of nets, cranes, and a crew to fill these ingenious live wells with the bounty of the sea. Anyone who uses my technology will have to pay me a LOT of money to license it.

Why? (1)

eison (56778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192758)

Ships aren't cheap, and marine environments are rather hostile (salt, water), and data centers can already be reasonably mobile by putting it in a shipping container and moving that shipping container somewhere... so what need is this filling?

Re:Why? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192914)

Ships aren't cheap, and marine environments are rather hostile (salt, water), and data centers can already be reasonably mobile by putting it in a shipping container and moving that shipping container somewhere... so what need is this filling?

From the first link ...

Using cargo ships allows for flexibility and the ability to expand based on the availability of ships and port space, rather than real estate. IDS plans to develop the below-deck areas as data center space and use the water temperature to support its cooling system, which it cites as a key factor in its claims that it can build its ship-based data centers for less than similar land-based facilities.

So, in theory, because they think it will cost less to operate. Of course, it actually remains to be seen if it truly is cheaper, but that's what they're counting on.

Re:Why? (1)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192946)

Me thinks it has something to do with them floating license thingies.

Re:Why? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193126)

... so what need is this filling?

I suspect that, at least as far as San Francisco goes, it may be cheaper to rent a spot to anchor a ship than it is to rent anything on dry land...

Also, given the area, it's likely easier to ride out an earthquake on a reasonably large ship than to try and do it on shore...

Re:Why? (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193202)

The need for some company to file another stupid patent?

Can't see the benefit either. Maybe they will apply some marketing spin to it and it will sound all cool to the kids...

PirateBay.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33192786)

So when are ya'll gonna start making Piratbay jokes?

What is the bandwidth (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192870)

of a cargo ship full of servers?

Possible backers (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33192938)

From a purely technical standpoint, I'm still not seeing the benefits of a ship-borne data center. For such a system to be useful, you still have to connect it to the shore somehow, and you still need a significant power source, both of which rather necessitate tying your data center up to a dock. As far as cooling with seawater, that's a nifty idea, but one that could just as easily be done by running some pipes from the shoreline.

So that suggests that the motivation for this isn't technical at all, but legal. As in "we need a way to get all our stuff into international waters relatively quickly". Which means these are not financial backers or "anchor tenants" I'd want to have anything to do with.

Re:Possible backers (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193164)

So that suggests that the motivation for this isn't technical at all, but legal. As in "we need a way to get all our stuff into international waters relatively quickly". Which means these are not financial backers or "anchor tenants" I'd want to have anything to do with.

Don't forget avoidance of property tax. Once you construct a building, your local govt pretty much owns you, unless you've got enough money to own the local govt. With a boat, if the local govt goes on a tax and spend binge (like California?) simply lift the anchor and sail away to a more tax friendly locale, or country.

Re:Possible backers (1)

jimmydigital (267697) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193198)

Which means these are not financial backers or "anchor tenants" I'd want to have anything to do with.

I certainly wouldn't want to be an 'anchor tenant' on a floating datacenter... cement boots come standard.

Kessel run anyone? (1, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193030)

Han Solo. I'm captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you're lookin' for 26 racks plus eight 40 amp drops?
Obi-Wan: Yes indeed, if it's a cool ship.
Han Solo: Cool ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
Obi-Wan: Should I have?
Han Solo: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run at less than twelve degrees. I've out-chilled Liebert refrigerators. Not the local bulk chillers mind you, I'm talking about the big water-fed units now. She's cool enough for you old man. What's the cargo?
Obi-Wan: Only bladecenters. Plus two droids... and no questions asked.
Han Solo: What is it? Some kind of torrent tracker?
Obi-Wan: Let's just say we'd like to avoid any American entanglements.

Definition: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33193172)

Ship, noun: "A hole in the water into which one throws money."

Power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33193212)

So I'm guessing they have to dock these things and keep them hooked up to the power grid. Running a datacenter off of a deisel engine sounds exspenive and impractical. Probably don't want to explain to your customers that their DC is down because it ran out of gas. So that kind of cancels out the mobility idea once the thing is up and running doesn't it? But maybe building these as ships first can proove the concept and then they can build them as sea platforms later?

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