Moving clouds: International transportation standards

As a technical starting point of this research Patrick Keller already wrote two posts on hardware standards and measures: The Rack Unit and the EIC /ECIA Standards (other articles including technical overview are the 19 Inch Rack & Rack Mount Cases). Within the same intent of understanding the technical standards and limitations that shape the topologies of data centers we decided to investigate how the racks can be packed, shipped, and gain mobility. The standards for server transportation safety are set by the Rack Transport Stability Team (RTST) guidelines. Of course, custom built server packaging exists based on the international standards. We’ll start by listing them from the smallest to the biggest dimensions. First off, the pallet is the smallest measure. Once installed on pallets, the racks can be disposed in standard 20′ or 40′ shipping containers. The image below depicts different ways of arranging the pallets within the container:

Rack Mount Cases

A rack mount cases is a transit case with provision for mounting rackmount equipment such as amplifiers, computers, displays, radios, encryption devices, and so forth. In many cases, the internal 19-inch rack is mounted to the transit case via shock absorbing mounts giving the rack sway space to attenuate shocks and bumps that might be seen during shipment and handling. One of the main standards in the design of these cases is MIL-STD-2073-1D – Standard Practice for Military Packaging. This can be linked to products of mobile data centers like Dell’s one for the military, which is based on a smaller scale than Googles 40” Shipping containers, for extra transportability. You can have an look at the product via Green (low Carbon) Data Center Blog.



Occupy.Here: build a local darknet

This system isn’t connected to the cloud. Instead, the users represent a cloud of points and this local mobile network links them together. It’s a LAN party without the cables. Anyone within range of an wifi router, with a web-capable smartphone or laptop, can join the network “OCCUPY.HERE,” load the locally-hosted website, and use the message board to connect with other users nearby. The open source forum software offers a simple, mobile-friendly interface where users can share messages and files.


Via Rhizome

I&IC Workshop #1 at HEAD: “Soilless”, an ethnographic research

The first workshop in the project corresponds to a preliminary field research phase devoted to understanding people’s relationship with the Cloud. Given our ambition to revisit and explore alternative personal cloud systems, we find it important to investigate actual usage, problems, limits, experiences and situations related to the pervasive use of cloud computing.


Soilless – a research introduction and a field study from design research on Vimeo.


Based on a series of user interviews and observations, we will address various issues related to this theme. Our aim is to have a sample of participants which practices have a certain diversity: nomadic workers, third-space users, musicians, VJs, journalists, etc. These interviews will be complemented by an analysis of on-line forums and groups focused on the discussion of cloud-related issues (Dropbox forums, blogs and social media messages discussing the limits and problems of these platforms, etc.).

Little mobile “datacenters” (cabinets)

Other projects that seem worth mentioning are these mini mobile, “all in one” modular units that look very infrastructural. The Mobile Data Center Solution by Avnet was launched in 2013, the C3 – S.P.E.A.R. by Eliptical Mobile Solution too (which seems to serve as the base for the Avnet one btw).

The mobile & expandable data center: containers and other ideas

As we were speculating in our I&IC – Preliminary intentions about a very versatile/mobile and distributed versions of the cloud infrastructure (datacenters), almost a physical bittorrent so to say, we are interested into the existing versions of mobile data centers.