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Sun’s Douglas Discusses BlackBox

David Douglas, vice president for eco-responsibility at Sun Microsystems Inc., spoke with The Boston Globe recently about energy efficiency and Sun’s Project BlackBox – a data center with eight racks in a shipping container. According to the interview, the key to the BlackBox’s energy efficiency is that it’s an integrated system.

“It’s got all integrated power and cooling, and so we’re able to make it very efficient,” Douglas says. “Today in a data center, somebody came and designed the room, somebody else designed the power, somebody else designed the cooling, and then somebody finally put computers in. We’ve got a chance in this to design it as a very integrated system. We blow air through one computer, immediately through a radiator to get the heat back out of it before it goes into the next one.”

Compared to a 10,000-sq.-foot datacenter, Sun expects Project Blackbox to be 1/100th the initial cost, 1/5 the cost per sq. foot, 20 percent more efficient and deliver 3X the computing power for equivalent space.

Douglas also discussed Sun’s Open Work Program, which encourages workers to stay at home. Last year, the program saved Sun $60 million. Forty-six percent of employees have signed up for the program. Sun pays for their DSL line and helps them get equipment at home. The employees get a piece of a time-shared office so they can come in, and there’s offices available to use for the day.

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