back to article Dell chief stuffs data center into suitcase

Sun Microsystems took data centers mobile when it embraced shipping containers, but Dell's gone further - and smaller - with a data center in a briefcase. Self-outed Dell geek Jimmy Pike has built a data-center in a briefcase, hacking together a dual-socket server cluster featuring a pair of 2.5GHz Intel processors and a …


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  1. tony trolle

    mmmmm damm

    beats the current alienware

  2. Mark Hahn

    and this is news how?

    it's a bit sad that's the best he could manage, and that he thinks it's worth talking about. compare to the current article about google's plan to manage 1e7 servers - probably very few of them in luggage.

  3. Christian Berger

    Might be great for LAN parties and hacker conferences

    However then you'd need more disk-space and maybe 10gigabit Ethernet.

    For your average 4 day event I'd recommend about 12 Terabytes. :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just shows... out of touch with reality Dell actually is. 2 servers = a datacentre?


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell build quality

    It looks like their director has a much better idea of build quality than the quality assurance droids at the factory.

    Anyway, isn't this just 2 pcs in a thin case? Nothing new or interesting here.

    Especially as you STILL have to carry monitors around. I'd have been more impressed if he'd used the side for an LCD monitor and built in a KVM.

  6. Alex Howells


    Loving the fact even the man from Dell doesn't use their switches, and dropped a Netgear into his new briefcase datacentre!

  7. Paul
    Thumb Up

    missing the LCD

    the only thing missing is an LCD panel grafted onto the lid and then he'd have an ultimate portable PC!

  8. Anonymous Coward


    He obviously has to much time on his hands!

  9. Simon B
    Thumb Up

    I like what he's done!

    I like what he's achieved even if nobody else is! I have the same case with CD's in it, which I'd converted from it's original design of a tool box. His conversion is much more impressive.

  10. Richard 102

    You! Vhat is your passvord!

    "Don't tell him, Pike!"

  11. Ian Michael Gumby


    Check out :

    Super Micro put 2 dual socket machines in a single unit high rack.

    You could build a case around that, and in the top, put in a monitor that swivels out when the case is open and leave room for a keyboard to be stashed away too.

    The interesting thing is that if you were to virtualize the servers, you could create 20 'virtual' servers easily. (10 per physical server). Note: I believe CRN (Computer Reseller News) ran an article on being able to create up to 18 virtual servers running Microsoft. So 10 virtual servers should be easy, either Microsoft or Linux. With 8 SATA/SAS hot swap (4 bays per server card), you could put 4TB raw disk per server or a total of 8TB raw space in the case. Oh and 48GB of memory...

    Of course this would cost a bit more than $2,000.00, however, it would truly be a data center in a briefcase.

    (And yes, I want one, however my wife keeps spending me in to the poor house! Or was that pour house? :-)


  12. JonD

    One for XPS-Support?

    Hope he is going to ship one to the XPS support team....

  13. dolph
    Thumb Up

    Limits and real limits

    This doesn't appear to me to be "all he could manage", but just what he happened to be able to throw together without having to do anything out-of-the-ordinary. (The most hacking that I saw here was his taking a Dremel to the briefcase to cut out the mount holes.)

    I hope that he wasn't actively showing this unimpressive bit of kit off. I think he just got asked by Gavin Clarke to show him the contents. I could be wrong. (Maybe Gavin can tell us one way or the other?)

    It's just 2 physical servers (not desktop PCs), each running a bunch of VM's. So the total number of virtual servers is probably enough to run a number of enterprise applications, and could therefore qualify as a tiny datacenter.

    What's odd to me is that Dell's own server design team has created dual and quad servers on a single board (in designs even denser than the SuperMicro unit). They've sold them to OEM customers who are buying them in bulk for cloud datacentre buildouts (MSFT, etc). I don't know why this Pike fellow didn't use a couple or a few of those more unusual designs. Then he could have genuinely claimed something out of the ordinary. (Perhaps he doesn't know about those designs? Or perhaps that group doesn't give his group the time of day? Gavin, can you find out more?)

    Dell's network switches aren't desktop switches. They're all rack-mount types. There's no way he could squeeze one in there like he could that little Netgear. (That being said, with just two physical ports connected, he could have just as well used a cross-over cable and forgot about the switch.)

    I also think the one glaring omission is the KVM plus a built-in monitor, keyboard, mouse (MKM) unit. Pike, why don't you fix that the next time you're in the garage and upgrading your 'datacenter'?

  14. Andrew Duffin


    If 4Tb of storage makes a data centre, I've got one in my study.

    It's in an Antek ATX case, and it runs Windows Server Hyper-V with a couple of VM's. It has 16Gb of RAM and 6Tb of storage.

    I thought it was just a server.

    I think this thing is, too.

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