I’m a big fan of the movie, “The Wizard of Oz”. Those flying monkeys still freak me out. What always fascinated me when I was a kid was how the tornado was able to pick up the house and drop it in Oz. I was thinking about this the other day when a friend sent me a link on YouTube (video below) showing some semi-trailers being hurled about in a recent tornado right here in Texas. I couldn’t help but be struck by how much they reminded me of pre-fabricated containerized data centers. This made me ask, “When would somebody actually use those things?”
Now some container advocates will leap to their defense by saying that they are “temporary” solutions. Based on what I saw, I would emphatically agree. I can’t think of anything more temporary than watching my data center become a lethal projectile when the wind blows too hard. I can only imagine the kind of sleep someone gets after they realize they just put $20 million of hardware into one of those things.
Of course, the other position offered by container devotees is that they are a perfect modular solution when they are housed within a facility dedicated for their use. Isn’t this kind of the data center version of “batteries not included?” If you have to build a facility to house containers, why not just obtain a hardened solution that you can locate anywhere you’d like in the first place? Pre-fabricated data center containers certainly receive a lot of hype but it strikes me that you don’t have to pull the curtain back very far to find their shortcomings.