Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sun Blackbox

Sun just released Sun Blackbox, a new readymade data-center in a shipping container complete with 25 racks, 1.5PB storage, networking, cooling and shock absorbers. The idea is they ship you the whole container and you just power it up. A la data-center in a box.

How cool is that? Do you see whats happening here. Sun Microsystem is changing their whole business model. I remember a few years ago, Cemex, a cement manufacturer based in Mexico changed their business model from '$ per weight' to 'just-in-time' model. Cement manufacturing is a highly standardized business and the margins are too thin. So Cemex came up with a new idea. See, the problem is cement starts setting from the moment it leaves the factory, so you can't have it lying around. Also, sometimes the site is not ready or labours lying around too long waiting for the cement to arrive. Cemex identified these issues and told their customers that from now on, they will only pay for the right amount of cement at right time i.e., time is the business model. Customers phones the call-center to say when and how much cement they want and their ERP system optimizes and routes trucks in the field (fitted with GPS monitoring and comminicator) to the customer. Benefit for customer is they get right amount of cement at right time (usually within plus minus an hour). Benefit for Cemex is they bacame a multibillion dollar company and the 3rd largest cement manufacturer in the world. All by changing their business model to 'just-in-time'.

And this is what Sun Microsystem is doing. Shortening the time and effort for customers to set up a data-center. Sure you won't get the Blackbox within an hour of ordering. But even then, it will be there in a few days all set up and ready to go. Compare this with time taken to plan and build a data-center, from evaluating vendors to purchasing, building and testing infrastructure, etc.

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