SGI has expanded its modular data center lineup, launching a product that utilizes outside air to reduce operating costs, and which it says can be purchased at a starting price of $99,000.

The entry-level product, a 20-foot unit called the ICE Cube Air modular data center, is capable of housing up to four compute racks, and can expand in standard increments out to a total of 80 racks.

It draws in outside air for cooling and features a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.06. Supplemental cooling for extreme climates is provided by water cooling coils. SGI says the design uses about 1 percent of the water needed by standard water-chilled containers and requires a water flow of only two gallons per minute. Water can be provided from any clean source, including a standard garden hose.

SGI says the new ICE Cube product complements its existing lineup. “By offering a standard array of small, medium and large configure-to-order data center designs, customers benefit from a supply chain that will allow them to quickly expand as their business needs grow, regardless of scale,” Patrick Yantz, SGI’s senior director of modular data center engineering, said in a statement.

SGI said it is deploying the ICE Cube product line globally, and will accompany it with a range of professional services, including individual site planning.

Containerized data centers have become a mainstay of server manufacturers, with competing products now offered by Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle (through its Sun Microsystems purchase). Last month Toshiba announced it had developed its own modular data center offering and believes it can develop it into a $240 million-a-year business by 2015.


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