Greetings from Data Centre Strategics in Sydney. I am speaking at the conference on Green ICT along with Young Choon Lee from University of Sydney and Charles Nolan from University of NSW.
Before the conference presentations I looked at some of the products on display. SGI have their shipping container data centres. However, these are a bit large for the average Australian organisation's data centre requirements. Two products on a better scale are GreenEdgeData's shipping container product and B&R Data Systems B&R AusRack wit a CoolDoor. The "cool door" has the cooling system built into a standard rack cabinet.
The combination of these technologies allows for a data centre as small as one 20 foot shipping container. For larger installations they can provide multiple modules with not just the racks for computer equipment, but also office space for the staff. Lex Brasell, Technical Director of GreenEdgeData mentioned they had designed a whole modular data centre in about a dozen containers. Some customers see these as a way to save hanivg to build a building. But in practice it still makes more sense to put the containers inside a warehouse type building. I suggested that Lex might like to commission one of Australia's architects to design a tensile fabric roof for the containers. Another option would be a corrugated steel shed, similar to that designed by Glenn Murcutt for Lerida Estate Winery. The idea would not only to be practical (to protect the equipment in the containers) but also to provide an attractive appearance for the facility, so it does not just look like a container port.
As well as permanent data centres, modular systems can also be used for relocatable data centres. A major user of these are the military. As an example, the US military will be carrying containerised facilities on board their Austrlaian designed Joint High Speed Vessel and the Australian Defence Force on their two Australia class Landing Helicopter Dock ships (LHD).