Sun Modular Datacenter

A Sun Modular Datacenter on display at the Sun Microsystems Executive Briefing Center in Menlo Park, California

Sun Modular Datacenter (Sun MD, known in the prototype phase as Project Blackbox) is a portable data center built into a standard 20-foot intermodal container (shipping container) manufactured and marketed by Sun Microsystems (acquired in 2010 by Oracle Corporation). An external chiller and power were required for the operation of a Sun MD. A data center of up to 280 servers could be rapidly deployed by shipping the container in a regular way to locations that might not be suitable for a building or another structure, and connecting it to the required infrastructure.[1] Sun stated that the system could be made operational for 1% of the cost of building a traditional data center.[2]


On 14 July 2007, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) deployed a Sun MD containing 252 Sun Fire X2200 compute nodes as a compute farm.[3][4] Other customers include Radboud University.[5]

In 2009, the Internet Archive migrated its digital archive onto Sun Modular Datacenter.[6]


The prototype was first announced as "Project Blackbox" in October 2006;[7] the official product was announced in January 2008.[8]

A Project Blackbox with 1088 Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors ranked #412 on the June 2007 TOP500 list.[9]

In late 2003, employees of the Internet Archive wrote a paper proposing "an outdoor petabyte JBOD NAS box" of sufficient capacity to store the then-current Archive in a 40' shipping container.[10] The first implementation of the concept have been realized using Sun Microsystems' Modular Datacenters in March 2009.[11]

See also


  1. "Sun Modular Datacenter S20 - Technical Specifications". 2008-05-27. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  2. M. Mitchell Waldrop - "Data Center In a Box", Scientific American, August 2007
  3. "SLAC Prepares for First Blackbox to Expand Computing Power". SLAC Today. 2007-06-20.
  4. "SLAC's Newest Computing Center Arrives... by Truck". SLAC Today. 2007-07-25.
  5. Rich Miller (2008-01-29). "Sun Rebrands Blackbox as 'Sun MD'". Data Center Knowledge. IDG TechNetwork. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  6. "Internet Archive and Sun Microsystems Create Living History of the Internet". Sun Microsystems. 2009-03-25. Archived from the original on March 26, 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  7. "Sun Unveils The Future of Virtualized Datacenters – Project Blackbox" (Press release). Sun Microsystems, Inc. 2006-10-17. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  8. "Sun Modular Datacenter Fuels Momentum With New Customer Wins In Manufacturing, Healthcare, HPC And Telco". Sun Microsystems. 2008-01-29. Archived from the original on February 1, 2008. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  9. "Sun Project Blackbox". TOP500 Supercomputing Sites. June 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  10. Bruce Baumgart; Matt Laue (2003-11-08). "Petabyte Box for Internet Archive" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  11. "Internet Archive and Sun Microsystems Create Living History of the Internet". Sun.COM. March 2009. Archived from the original on March 26, 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
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