Rackable continues to wear its wife-beater with pride, shipping a second take on the white trash data center concept. Back in March, the plucky server start-up introduced the world to – booming voice – Concentro. Like Sun Microsystems, Rackable packed all of the data center essentials into a shipping container to provide …
Data center on the run...to the pawn shop?
It takes a enterprising guy with the right kind of truck about 2 minutes to wonder off with a 40' container around these parts. Do these come standard with a huge version of a bike lock?
This isn't a huge problem, because it's much harder to steal a 40ft ISO container once it's been popped off the axle. We're talkin' about a crane. 20ft's can be put back on the axle with a big, meaty forklift (if the container is so equipped), but I highly suspect that these containers would NOT be shipping with forklift slots. Plus, that kind of lift is rather sizable, and you're talking about MORE commotion than just using a mobile crane.
Also, there are water, network, and DC umbilicals attached to these things, and as ISO containers, they have a unique serial number printed on the outside. In several places. And it's not like they look like every other container in the world, what with cooling fans and the other associated gadgetry.
Basically, if you're going to set your datacenter up in a publicly accessible parking lot, there's the POSSIBILITY that somebody's going to come by with a crane and an ISO axle and steal it. But when they have to deal with disconnecting the water, and the DC - neither of which they can shut off upstream, and neither of which like coming into contact with each other without being shut off. Assuming they cheat death, they've got to set up the crane, hook up, and get the thing onto the axle - which isn't an easy feat with a portable crane - and you'd probably want to disconnect the cab from the axle, lest it be accidentally smashed by a wind gust. Once the container is on the axle, you need to hook up the cab, prep the trailer, and pack in the crane.
All without anyone noticing.
But the smart thing to do would be to drop it in a secured lot.
Get real, friend. Most parts of the world - most parts of Canada, the USA & Europe, you just buy some police prtection and go to town.
Why would a 40' container not have forklift slots? It's a 40' container, for <expletive deleted> sake! Can you even buy non-standard 40' containers? Such would be considered vendor lock-in *and* not be compatible with the entire packet shipping infrastructure that makes the 40' datacentre in a box workable!
And, finally, why exactly cannot 'they' shut off the power and water upstream? Are there upstream power & water defenders waiting for this?
People steal 40' trailers all the time. People steal stuff needing careful preparation all the time. It's not rocket science.
You, I think, are shilling for the vendor!
Basic security says
That you wouldn't even consider putting a million dollars worth of hardware in a public space. One of the biggest users of that format in the UK is BT. In many exchanges they have moved the switchgear out of the building and into what are essentially secure portacabins in order to free up the floor space and in some cases sell it on. The portacabins are usually in a relatively secure location in the exchange's grounds. This system would be most useful in similar spaces where once they are in and attached, take a fair bit of determination (and a mobile crane) to remove illegally.
Look chaps, we're British damn it: It's a car park, not a parking lot.
Matter of time
erm, look, if you put $1M worth of IT in a container (which, by definition, is more easily portable than a datacenter - part of the selling proposition), it is only a matter of time before people figure out how to steal it. this is the most visually tempting theft target since the Alienware laptop. difficult, maybe, impossible, no.
maybe some chav will have a clever day and make off with one, i'd love to see that story in the news.
physical security for these things will be just as big a deal as it is for the company safe or safety deposit box - your company's data is in there, so the risk is actually much, much greater.
i imagine insuring this asset is going to be rather pricey, too. almost tempted to call Lloyd's and ask.