Canberra based company Datapod, are offering a system of shipping container sized modules for quickly assembling a data center. This differs from the IBM and Sun Micro systems containerised data centres and has advantages over them. By allowing new, more efficient data centres to be built quickly, this technology could help reduce computer energy use.
Two significant differences in the Datapod system are that it does not use a custom cooling system, nor standard shipping containers. Datapod use APC's hot aisle technology, (as used by Canberra Data Center)with two rows of back to back racks in a module. This allows for the easy installation of equipment, with readily available components. Local technicians will be familiar with this system and be able to support and expand it.
Instead of using standard welded side steel shipping containers, lightweight insulated removable panel are used for the walls of the Datapod modules. This allows for the sides to be opened up for access. This does limit the shipping and placement options for the system compared to those from other vendors, but this should not be a problem in real systems.
In theory, the IBM and Sun shipping container data centres could be stacked with other cargo and transported on the deck of a container ship. They could also be installed outdoors, relying on the weatherproof container to provide protection. Such systems are favoured for use by the military in harsh conditions.
However, it is unlikely a container full of millions of dollars of computer equipment is going to receive rough handling during transport, or be operated outdoors. Even the military are likely to transport the containers within a ship, such as the new Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), not on the deck.
It is very unlikely that a company or government agency is going to simply dump data center containers in their car park and wire them up. Instead a building will be built to house the equipment. The building need be little more than a shed, to protect the equipment from the elelements and provide physical security. Standard modualrised bulding components can be errect such a building quickly and cheapely.