back to article Dell to reveal 'micro data centres' for outdoor use

Dell's teased something interesting ahead of next week's DellWorld gabfest: a “micro Modular Data Center (MDC)” that can be deployed outdoors if required. As depicted above (or here for those of you on our mobile site) Dell's offering has three racks. One will hold the company's DSS 9000 rack scale infrastructure that our …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Dell racks coming soon!" - Bazza (Your local friendly back of the lorry guy).

  2. Brian Miller

    Outside the office, inside the warehouse

    This really doesn't strike me as something that would be outside, say, next to a traffic signal box or something like that. This is something that would be put into the "outdoors" of a warehouse, The system uses some beefy hardware, with a "fan wall" inside it.

    If someone was serious about putting servers outside, the system would not be generating enough heat to require an extremely high air flow. Something like that would suck in so much dirt you'd open the case and need a shovel to clean it out. No, you'd be using low-power systems, or something that has heat pipes going into a heat exchange.

    1. T-Unit

      Re: Outside the office, inside the warehouse

      This was my first thought too. I read it as 'outside the server room' rather than outside in a field!

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Outside the office, inside the warehouse

        Well my first thought was all those FTTC cabinets, 4/5G mobile masts, the cabinets that stand beside the railway lines...

        However, for the picture it does seem this is a mk1 cabinet because it would seem if you open a side panel the racks are fully exposed to the (UK) weather.

  3. Toolman83

    Or perhaps it'd be suitable for those areas of the world that don't have large air-conditioned data centers on tap?

    There are quite a few of them I hear.

  4. Dwarf

    With handy fork lift access

    That will be handy when someone wants to make a break with the box that looks Ike it's been dumped outside and they think they can make a few quid recycling the steel

  5. Korev Silver badge

    Remote boffinery?

    It looks useful for remote collection and processing of data from remote sites; where the data volume is too large to transmit so it needs to be crunched and only the processed data transmitted.

  6. Alister

    At last, a proper shed for server enthusiasts!

    No longer will I have to run my 96node compute array in the cellar next to the wine-rack, with all the spiders...

    Now I can put a shiny "micro data centre" in the garden, next to the fish pond. I'm sure my neighbours will be impressed.

    The wife might not like me digging up the flower beds to lay the power and connectivity, of course, but hey, they needed digging over anyway...

    1. Dwarf

      Just put one of those metal hanging basket brackets on each side and she'll be really impressed

      Obviously you'll have to watch out for the random wasps nest that may turn up in the top of it, what with it being nice and warm and easily accessible, but at least you'll know when that happens as the temperature alert will appear on the flat-screen in the hall that serves as you house-wide monitoring platform

      1. Alister

        the temperature alert will appear on the flat-screen in the hall that serves as your house-wide monitoring platform

        Hmm... so you've been in my house, then?


    2. Gert Leboski

      96 compute nodes in a home lab? Surely you jest?

      I have 2x DL380g7, an i7, an Atom based firewall, a Catalyst 2960G-48TC-L, a QNAP TS653Pro, and a laptop, all in a cabinet I made in the loft with fans galore on a 100mm hose from the soffit board for decent airflow.

      I was told this is "excessive".

      1. Alister

        96 compute nodes in a home lab? Surely you jest?

        Thankfully yes.

        I have an APC 1400KVA UPS, 2 x Dell PE860, 2 x Dell R210, 1 x HP DL360G, a Catalyst 24 port, an ASA 5510, oh, and a KVM switch all in a 42U rack in the cellar.

        This may be excessive, but I don't care :)

      2. StargateSg7

        That is not too bad, i used to work for a gent who had five 72 inch racks in his Vancouver Flat fitted out with all manner of company discarded (but still well useable) CISCO, DELL, HP and IBM networking and compute gear. His company just told him to get rid of it once the 36 month accounting write-downs were completed. They just gave it to him for free. It cost the company HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of US dollars to buy and as far as they were concerned the whole lot was worth less than 1500 US dollars at the end. Since the company didn't want to pay the more than $1500 for the scrappers to move it all out, he just asked to take it all during the weekend. They were happy. He was happy and now has multiple IBM Power7 and HP/Dell Xeon servers and CISCO managed 24 port gigabit routers and firewalls in his flat which he runs from multiple 240 volt mains usually used for washers and dryers (we use 120 volts for most mains in North America) --- all that gear just barely fits on all of two 240 volt mains --- He just needed to add more RAM memory and larger hard drives and he now runs his side job selling ebay and webstore goods using all that FREE gear!

        I wish I was that lucky! But I would hate to see the cost of his monthly mains bill!

  7. Anonymous Blowhard

    Disaster Recovery

    Maybe disaster recovery is a good use case as well.

    I remember many years ago, working at an engineering company in Chesterfield, when our IBM S/38 went TITSUP and the fix was going to take days.

    Fortunately our IT manager (one of the old-school clever ones, not a PHB) had an insurance policy for on-site disaster recovery in place so later that day a lorry arrived and left a trailer containing a full system for us to use our disaster recovery procedures on (parked in a road backing on to the computer room with twinax cables through the window) - worked like a charm too!

  8. TRT Silver badge


    Obvious data centres. Constant air temperature, a touch humid, perhaps. And subject to the odd rock fall, but you know, you'd get failing silicon in any datacenter.

  9. Sgt_Oddball

    I would have thought

    It'd be good for large industrial sites as well as for things like air monitoring stations (there's one right by one of the busiest bus routes in the city centre thats the size of half a car, plenty of room for one of these to sit in and monitor...other things.....)

  10. Tim Jenkins

    On a related note, it will be interesting to see how well the new vented BT/OpenReach roadside cabs stand up to being buried in snow*, particularly that nice solid stuff studded with rock salt that gets chucked up by ploughs, now they are packed full of FTTC kit...

    *assuming we ever have snow again

    1. TRT Silver badge

      With rising sea levels, we'll be looking at IP68/69/78/79 street cabinets...

  11. Slim99

    Déja vu

    I'll just leave this here:

    1. Down not across

      Re: Déja vu

      I think the rather obvious difference is that this Dell contraption is a lot smaller enclosure. I suspect in many situations 20ft container would not be practical.

      1. toughluck

        Re: Déja vu

        Yes, but a 20' container had ample space to put AC with filters inside and not rely on hardly filtered air intakes.

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