Sun Markets Blackbox Through YouTube

    June 20, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Sun Microsystems torture-tested its Project Blackbox portable datacenter by subjecting it to a simulated earthquake, and put the video up on YouTube to show how it fared.

I have good memories of working with Sun’s hardware, namely a couple of E250 boxes that ran web application and database servers. They were solidly built and completely reliable.

It’s a feature of their hardware that Sun wants to tout now, with its Project Blackbox portable datacenters. They demonstrated how a Blackbox would fare if an earthquake happened to hit where one was located.

Since one can’t schedule an earthquake in advance, Sun took a Blackbox to the University of San Diego for a stint on the Seismic Response Modification Device, also known as the ‘shake table.’

Sun sent along a link to the video on YouTube. The video "shows Project Blackbox surviving a Northridge-equivalent earthquake with only minor damage. The Northridge quake occurred at 4:30 a.m. on January 17, 1994. It was a 6.7 magnitude."

The video showed the test, commentary from Sun and UCSD personnel, and the aftermath of the simulated quake. Blackbox continued to function, but there were a few things that came loose or were damaged inside the datacenter during the test.

The open approach Sun took with recording and releasing the video reflects an acknowledgment of the power of social media. Anyone can watch the video and see the results, rather than just taking a Sun rep’s word about how the test proceeded.

Plus not everyone is going to go to the effort of having their hardware subjected to an earthquake. It’s a clever bit of marketing Sun has produced for the Blackbox.