The Nimitz Class Data Center?

Just an observation: We were discussing this week with a Navy 3-star the status of Microsoft’s work in mega-data-centers.  We brought up the combined-container strategy we’re using and how this provides a hyper-flexible platform for large data center scenarios, in obvious ways – lots of computational power available for web-scale hosting or anything smaller. 

(There are other advantages as well that aren’t as obvious, one being that the valuable feature of “redundancy” is being moved down to the container and server and application level – instead of just the traditional notion of failover in disaster recovery.)

Indian Ocean (Feb. 3, 2005) - The Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) navigates alongside USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) after arriving on station near Banda Aceh, Sumamtra, Indonesia.(RELEASED)The admiral expressed some thoughts about deployable containers, which of course are a product of Sun and others as I have written about before, but we also wound up hypothesizing an aircraft carrier — or “data carrier” — as the platform for a mega data center, composed in the C-blox manner using many, many containers.  After all, a carrier has a ready power source: it carries its own floating nuclear power plant! 

It’s an interesting thought from the standpoint of power in another sense, projection of national power; the admiral brought up the new National Maritime Strategy published last year.  As the Washington Post wrote at the time, it reflects a shift “from a narrow focus on sea combat toward one that also emphasizes the use of ‘soft power’ to counter terrorism and deliver humanitarian assistance.”  (You can see the full maritime strategy here.) 

We wound up discussing the notion of “deployable computing power” as an element of soft power – perhaps far-fetched today, but fun to think about, with interesting implications.  Maybe more on that in future.

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One Response

  1. […] soft power” which aircraft carriers represent, including the technology they carry (“The Nimitz-Class Data Center?”). This carrier may wind up illustrating that lesson through its use of new media, […]


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