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SGI's ICE Cube Air Modular Data Centers can be deployed anywhere, even in the hood

Tim Stevens

SGI is a shadow of its former self, selling its name to Rackable Systems and appearing in some disgraceful situation comedies. We like to remember the old, harder, edgier SGI, a pioneer in the computer graphics industry when it came straight outta Sunnyvale in the '80s. Now it's back, launching the ICE Cube Air Modular Data Center, capable of housing four racks and expandable up to 80 and a total of 97,920 cores and 143.36PB of storage. Each unit is almost entirely self-sufficient, requiring only power and a supply of water, which can come from a plain old garden hose. Cost starts at $99,000, which isn't cheap, but we went ahead and ordered four. You know how we do it.

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SGI Announces New ICE Cube® Air Modular Data Center

A Complete Solution Starting at $99,000 and Operational in Hours Showcased at Gartner Data Center Conference 2010

Gartner Data Center Conference 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. & FREMONT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SGI (NASDAQ:SGI), a trusted leader in technical computing, today announced the introduction and immediate availability of SGI® ICE Cube® Air, a significant addition to its line of ICE Cube modular data centers (MDCs). ICE Cube Air is SGI's third generation product, representing four years of MDC design and deployment experience, and setting a new MDC industry standard with the following breakthrough benefits:

"New data centers are not like the old ones and organizations are making a break with the past, as evidenced by the rise of modular data centers"
HVAC completely eliminated;
Operational within hours;
Starting price of $99,000;
Elimination of costly and complex connections.
Capable of housing up to four compute racks, the new ICE Cube Air MDC expands in standard increments out to 80 racks/97,920 cores/143.36 PB. With highly efficient fans, along with an innovative three-stage evaporative cooling system, ICE Cube Air runs globally with air and evaporative cooling, achieving a power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio of less than 1.06. Supplemental direct expansion (DX), or chilled water cooling coils, provides an optional cooling system for customers deploying in extreme environments. Using one percent of the water needed by standard water-chilled containers and requiring a water flow of only two gallons per minute, ICE Cube Air can get its water from almost any clean source, including a garden hose.

"By offering a standard array of small, medium and large configure-to-order data center designs, customers benefit from a supply chain that will allow them to quickly expand as their business needs grow, regardless of scale," said Patrick Yantz, senior director of Modular Data Center Engineering at SGI. "We now have three targeted design solutions backed by our global delivery of full service standard or design-to-order modular data centers."

The standard ICE Cube line is the densest and most flexible family of ISO container-based MDCs on the market today. Available in 20- and 40-foot length containers, these MDCs feature single- or dual-row designs along with universal configurations capable of achieving extreme density with PUE ratios of less than 1.12, utilizing a unique chilled-water technology that reduces cooling costs by as much as 80 percent over traditional data centers. These MDCs are the perfect choice for commercial, industrial and government applications where mobility is of prime concern.

SGI offers the following ICE Cube Air standard and ISO container-based model configurations. These highly customizable designs accommodate either fixed or roll-in racks and support third-party server and storage hardware.

Configuration ICE Cube Size Max Number of Units/Racks
ISO 20 ft Up to 12 racks
( <1 MWatt)
Air 8 ft 4 racks in one unit, expandable to 4 units/16 racks
ISO 40 ft Up to 28 racks
(1 to 4 MWatts)
Air 20 ft 10 racks in one unit, expandable to 4 units/40 racks
( >4 MWatts)
Air 20 ft 2 x 20 ft pair, 20 racks, expandable to 4 pairs/80 racks
"New data centers are not like the old ones and organizations are making a break with the past, as evidenced by the rise of modular data centers," said David Cappuccio, chief of infrastructure research at Gartner. "With organizations looking closely at power consumption, efficiency and more recently rapid scalability to satisfy deployment demands, increasing productivity requires innovation in data center cooling and design."

SGI is deploying the ICE Cube product line globally, and offers an array of engineering, professional and customer services, including individual site planning, reliability based site architecture, customized infrastructure, variable warranties and enhanced support packages via SGI's Worldwide Support Organization. SGI also offers advanced electrical and mechanical monitoring and controls in a single system that integrates seamlessly into existing facilities. Rich features, including API support via a web server within the system, allow ICE Cube Air integration into future versions of SGI's Management Suite of software management applications.

Availability and Pricing

The ICE Cube Air is available now with prices starting at $99,000. More information is available at

Note to Editors

SGI will demonstrate ICE Cube Air MDC on the show floor directly across from SGI booth # 29 at the Gartner Data Center Conference, taking place December 6-9, 2010, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nev.

High resolution photos of ICE Cube Air are available at

About the Gartner Data Center Conference 2010

The Gartner Data Center Conference is the most comprehensive compilation of sessions and advice on the future of the data center ever held. It offers the latest actionable insights and best practices in all areas affecting the data center – real-time infrastructure to servers and storage to business continuity and disaster recovery. Additional information is available at

About SGI

SGI, a trusted leader in technical computing, is focused on helping customers solve their most demanding business and technology challenges. Visit for more information.

© 2010 SGI. SGI and ICE Cube are registered trademarks or trademarks of Silicon Graphics International Corp. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.

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