I'm a maritime professional (captain of a ship) w/ some collateral involvement in IT issues. Here are a few off the cuff thoughts / questions that spring to mind as I read
1. Environmental control . . . a bit more difficult to do in a big metal box that is your modern ship, especially in a hot sunny place (e.g. San Diego). Ships can also be very damp inside. Proper environmental control for a data center on board ship will almost certainly be more difficult than for a land-based data center.
2. Watertight integrity of the hull . . . ship is floating in a harbor, bay, ocean that is exerting constant pressure to swap places with the air inside the hull (i.e. flooding). Ships have a number of through hull fittings / valves that need fairly frequent inspection / maintenance to ensure proper operation and guard against leaks.
3. Crew . . . While I'm sure the DBA and all the other information technology professionals are smart guys and gals, they are most likely not even remotely qualified and/or licensed to sail the ship. The more competent the crew you want to sail the ship, the bigger the bill. You don't need them aboard all the time, but you do need to get them in time to move the ship away from an impending disaster, political unrest or whatever motivates you to sail the ship from where it is presently moored. There will likely be other complications with the crew, depending on where you have it registered. Even if you don't maintain a crew on board to sail the ship, you still need a caretaker crew of some size to look after the ship on a daily basis.
4. Maintenance . . . Ships require lots of care, even if they are just sitting in the same mooring without moving for years at a time. Caring for ships is a spendy proposition as noted by one reader already (hole in the water into which one pours money is a fairly accurate statement). Keeping the ship continuously ready for sea is even more expensive. Someone has to exercise the main engine, generators, deck equipment, etc.
5. Data Connection . . . Obviously the ship will need lots of land line connectivity. not an insurmountable problem pierside, but out at sea . . . very, very big bills for relatively small bandwidth connections. Would need large / expensive satcom installation / subscription for even a rudimentary at-sea high bandwidth connection.
6. Pier Space . . . ain't cheap.
7. Building / converting the ship. . . . Having a ship built or converted for a special purpose such as this will result in an eye-popping bill (and that will be in addition to the purchase price for the ship itself if you are buying an existing hull).
All in all, save for the mobility gained by being able to physically sail away to another port with your server farm, I can't see the benefit from doing this.
After acquiring my iPhone, the thought of using it for car navigation, at least in a pinch, was too good to pass up. Although MotionX charges a fee for turn by turn directions, it works great and with far fewer errors than Tom Tom's maps. I brought it home to Ketchikan, AK where the Tom Tom's maps are useless (big datum error has all roads shifted south quite a ways) and it (Motion X) worked perfectly. I used it in the Pacific Northwest over a period of about a month with nearly perfect results, save for downtown Seattle where, had I not actually known where I was going from having lived there for a few years, it would have steered me pretty far afield.
In any event, it is nice to have for those times when I need directions, but didn't think to bring the Tom Tom along. I just hold the iPhone (in its Otterbox case) high up on the steering wheel with one hand. It keeps my head up and both hands on the wheel. I like the maps as much, actually more, than the Tom Tom map prenentation.
Also, I too tried sending Tom Tom some corrections regarding my Seattle area neighborhood when I lived there. The Tom Tom maps never updated to reflect my (easily verified from a satellite view) suggestions.
Note: I have absolutely no connection to MotionX whatsoever, other than having purchased a retail copy.
You may have your project completed (pick two):
1. on time;
2. on spec;
3. within budget.
I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.