Google is tight-lipped about its computing operations, but the company for the first time on Wednesday revealed the hardware at the core of its Internet might at a conference here about the increasingly prominent issue of data center efficiency.I am surprised that no one else has thought to put batteries on each server if it makes that big of a difference. Has no one seen a laptop computer before?
Google's big surprise: each server has its own 12-volt battery to supply power if there's a problem with the main source of electricity. The company also revealed for the first time that since 2005, its data centers have been composed of standard 1AAA shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts.
Typical data centers rely on large, centralized machines called uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)--essentially giant batteries that kick in when the main supply fails and before generators have time to kick in. Building the power supply into the server is cheaper and means costs are matched directly to the number of servers, Jai said.
Efficiency is another financial factor. Large UPSs can reach 92 to 95 percent efficiency, meaning that a large amount of power is squandered. The server-mounted batteries do better, Jai said: "We were able to measure our actual usage to greater than 99.9 percent efficiency."
The Google server was 3.5 inches thick--2U, or 2 rack units, in data center parlance. It had two processors, two hard drives, and eight memory slots mounted on a motherboard built by Gigabyte. Google uses x86 processors from both AMD and Intel, Jai said, and Google uses the battery design on its network equipment, too.
Also check out this Youtube video from the presentation.