miller60 writes "Intel has become the latest major tech company to express interest in using portable data centers to transform IT infrastructure. Intel says an approach using a "data center in a box" could be 30 to 50 percent cheaper than the current cost of building a data center. "The difference is so great that with this solution, brick-and-mortar data centers may become a thing of the past," an Intel exec writes. Sun and Rackable have introduced portable data centers, while Google has a patent for one and Microsoft has explored the concept. But for all the enthusiasm for data centers in shipping containers, there are few real-world deployments, which raises the question: are portable data centers just fun to speculate about, or can they be a practical solution for the current data center expansion challenges?"