Feeds

Google nabs patent for Sun's Project Blackbox?

'I own mobile data centers'

Application security programs and practises

Google now owns a patent for data centers stuffed into shipping containers. You know, data centers like Sun's Project Blackbox.

The Mountain View outfit first filed for this "Modular Data Center" patent in December 2003, and today it was rubber stamped by the US Patent Office.

The patent describes a data center based on an "intermodel shipping container". That's a shipping container that's shipped by multiple carriers. "Rack or shelf mount computing systems," the patent explains, are "mounted within the container and configured to be shipped and operated within the container".

This idea is a simple one: You could churn out these data centers from a central factory and ship them wherever they're needed. Google's data-center-in-a-box even includes "a temperature control system for maintaining the air temperature surrounding the computing systems".

In short, it sounds a lot like Project Blackbox, which has received an awful lot of press since it was unveiled in the fall of last year. The Sun website calls Blackbox "a prototype of the world's first virtualized data center - built into a shipping container and optimized to deliver extreme energy, space, and performance efficiencies". And Sun's not the only company with one of these contraptions. IBM and Rackable have built similar data centers.

According to Robert X Cringely, who wrote not one but two pieces about Google's modular data center plans in 2005, the idea didn't originate in Mountain View.

He claims it was first pitched by the Internet Archive - and that Google co-founder Larry Page attended one of the pitch meetings. Meanwhile, Sun claims that Blackbox grew out of a discussion between Sun chief technology officer Greg Papadopoulos and Danny Hills, now co-chairman and chief technology officer of Applied Minds.

Google didn't respond to our request for an interview, but as the company complains about the injustice of the patent system, it's hard to imagine it going on the offensive with its new patent. Of course, stranger things have happened.

The company also refused to say whether it was actually using this sort of data center, but two years ago Cringley reported that the company had built at least one.

What's Sun's response? It's mulling things over. "We are aware of a modular data center patent being issued to Google," a company spokeswoman said. "Our legal team is reviewing the patent, as this is a broad concept. Until that review is complete, we don't have further comment." ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.