Data center in a box is traditionally defined as a “type of data center in which portable, mobile, and modular information nodes are self-contained within a cargo container. It is designed and packaged for quick deployment and acquisition of data center solutions in organizations or facilities, including remote off-site locations.” Data center in a box usually contains equipment from large storage, compute, and network vendors such as EMC, NetApp, Dell, and Cisco. They are pieced together to form the IT infrastructure. Virtual Computing Alliance (VCE) for instance, offers Vblock, a bundled product containing EMC storage, Cisco servers, and VMware. NetApp has a similar offering called Flexpod.
But new innovative companies such as Simplivity, Nutanix, and Scale Computing are changing the definition of data center in a box. They are creating a purpose-built product from the ground up that incorporates not just compute, storage, and network, but additional services such as data deduplication, wan optimization, and backup in a box.
For instance, Simplivity’s product called OmniCube is “a powerful data center building block that assimilates the core functions of server, storage and networking in addition to a wide range of advanced functionality including: native VM-level backup, WAN optimization, bandwidth efficient replication for DR, cache accelerated performance, and cloud integration.”
These products will further simplify the design, implementation, and operation of IT infrastructure. With these boxes, there is no more storage area network (SAN) to manage, nor additional appliances such as WAN accelerator to deploy. A few virtual machine (VM) administrators can manage all the boxes in a cluster from the VMware server virtualization management user interface.
Data center in a box will continue to evolve and will change how we view and manage IT infrastructure for years to come.