IBM is advancing its concept of a portable and expandable data center by teaming with power systems provider APC on an all-in-one container.

The companies announced last week that IBM’s Portable Modular Data Center (PMDC) container is now available with APC’s InfraStruxure power and cooling architecture built-in. The combination means the companies can offer a fully functional data center within a standard shipping container with a complete physical infrastructure, including power and cooling systems and remote monitoring.

“APC’s footprint in IBM’s modular data center offerings demonstrates the adaptability of our solutions to meet customer demands in a variety of business applications,” APC chief technology officer Jim Simonelli said in launching the offering.

IBM and APC originally announced a global alliance in 2006. With its containerized data center offering IBM joins a growing number of server vendors looking to offer all-in-one containerized offerings, including Sun Microsystems, Dell and HP. While still a nascent market – IDC estimates as few as 50 units were sold in 2008 – demand is expected to grow as the containerized data centers offer a means for companies to quickly scale their operations.

Last September Microsoft showcased its new $500 million data center in Chicago, which takes advantage of the container strategy. The lower floor of the building looks very much like a distribution warehouse where containers can be moved in and double stacked.

IBM and APC said their joint offering is available worldwide and can be expanded to rapidly support a 500- to 2,500-square-foot data center.




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