Inside a Windows Azure server container

With the up and coming release of the cloud computing, Windows Azure, the method used to house all the servers is to contain everything inside a shipping container like structure, which can be installed and running within a 24-hour period.

Neowin got an inside look on how exactly these server shipping containers look and operate, here at PDC09.

Each shipping container holds around 1,800 to 2,500 Dell servers, running 7.5 miles of piping, all of which can be climate controlled and monitored to keep an optimum temperature inside the containers at all times.

The server containers are trucked into a warehouse, where they are stacked two containers high, to optimize space, and installed within a single day, rather than months, compared to previous methods of setting up a data center.

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37 Comments

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Wuffy said,
reminds me of Google crate servers

Ya, was going to say it looks like they borrowed a page out of the Google Datacenter Design Handbook!

Windows Azure is for cloud computing. basically it will allow developers, businesses and even some new consumers at the entry level market the ability to run a system wide, easily accessible Windows operating system.

What this will do is have the ability to have instant updates for every single business running Azure, without having to update all of their PC's once a month, or once every 3 years to a new OS.

This will essentially cut IT jobs in the long run, making it easier to run computers with the same look, feel and even the same data will be accessible on any PC worldwide.

That is a basic run-down of what Windows Azure is.

Glad someone finally explained it laymens terms, so to speak. I can see how Azure can be a big deal, but I don't think it will really cut a lot of IT jobs. I always hear how companies are always stretching their IT departments thin.

xiphi said,
Glad someone finally explained it laymens terms, so to speak. I can see how Azure can be a big deal, but I don't think it will really cut a lot of IT jobs. I always hear how companies are always stretching their IT departments thin.

If it works as it's meant to, and is widely adopted, it will result in the loss of a lot of IT jobs. Or the IT staff will have one hell of a lot less to do at any rate, just baby sitting the hardware.

Nihilus said,
If it works as it's meant to, and is widely adopted, it will result in the loss of a lot of IT jobs. Or the IT staff will have one hell of a lot less to do at any rate, just baby sitting the hardware.

I think it will be widely adopted, it is a matter of price however, they seem to be charging a fair amount to run your server per GB.

There was pricing announced today at PDC, but I can't remember the actual value, I believe it was $0.96/GB, but do not quote me on that.

I thought Azure was more like Amazon's EC2 and not exactly a Windows replacement for businesses, as you seem to imply

A lot of businesses don't like putting their intellectual property "in the cloud". Small businesses, sure. But not the big dogs. If that means a loss of IT jobs, maybe, but most of the small shops that Azure would be compelling to already don't employ full-time IT staff -- it's usually consulting to set up, and adhoc needs.

Azure is more of a storage and application server. It doesn't replace desktops, it allows business to host their enterprise apps on the net so the data and applications can run and be accessed from anywhere.

It's cute that the server containers have, er, azure lighting in them.

GreyWolfSC said,
Azure is more of a storage and application server. It doesn't replace desktops, it allows business to host their enterprise apps on the net so the data and applications can run and be accessed from anywhere.

Like bringing "the cloud" down to the facility using it?

Sounds like fog. :P

It is basically windows in the cloud like they said, but it's more like what GreyWolfSC said. Seeing the keynote and the demos Azure keeps the same or close to the same compatibility with code that the normal desktop windows does. So you can use it in one of 2 or maybe 3 ways.

1: You can push your apps off the desktop/client and into the cloud so you can deploy and manage them easier and for less cost.

2: You can use Azure for backend work to push data and other services to your client apps and so on.

3: You can use it as a quick and easy way to support/backup your onsite datacenter if needs be. It sounds like lots of business have been using the preview as more of a extra backup if the load goes over what their on-site datacenters can push.

There's probably a few more things, but it's best to think of it as a windows platform on the cloud. It seems any apps/sites etc that can run on Windows and Windows Server can easily be migrated to Azure at any time if you need it, with very little work it seems (though this would probably depend on how complex your code is).

I think it's looking good, MS has bing on it and it's moving all of the live services to it as well from what I remember.

toadeater said,
You trying to play Crysis?

Crysis would be entirely the wrong workload for these types of machines.

Servers have a lot of CPU horsepower, but next to no graphics processing capabilities. Crysis, on the other hand, runs fine even on relatively weak CPUs, but it's extremely limited by most graphics cards. I suppose you could run a software renderer on that rack of servers, but I doubt performance would be any good (especialy on a performance-per-watt scale).

Try your comment again next time an Nvidia Tesla setup shows up.