Posted Friday, October 20th, 2006 at 10:29 pm under tech.

station-wagon full of tapes

Cringley writes about Sun’s new black box portable server farms:

The beauty of a shipping container data center isn’t just that it operates stand-alone and can be plunked down in the parking lot of your existing data center or dropped by helicopter on the roof of your headquarters building. A great proportion of its beauty lies in the shipping container’s efficiency not as a server but as a network. It’s the largest sneakernet ever built. Moving a petabyte of data across the country using even the biggest optical fiber connection could take weeks, but the Blackbox can be installed in at most a few days.

which reminded me straight away of an Andrew Tanenbaum quote:

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station-wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.

which I’m pretty sure I ran across in one of Jon Bentley’s Programming Pearls books in the mid-late 80s. I was surprised not to find it though. I thought either The Back of the Envelope (which poses the question) or the Bumper-Sticker Computer Science column was a sure bet.

Anyway, the station-wagon just got a whole lot bigger.