Google’s Data Center Secrets

Big news today is that Google “unveiled” (more like confirmed) some data center secrets:

Custom Servers

It has been known for years that Google has been building it’s own servers rather than buy from a vendor. They have defended this as their servers are more efficient and customized for their needs than they could ever buy. They cut out things like a video card which do nothing but add a point of failure and waste power. They put a battery on the server itself rather than have a UPS for the rack they found it to be more cheaper and more efficient. They also hang the power supply away from the rest of the system itself, presumably for cooling. This actually isn’t shocking since it’s been leaked several times before, though this is the first time that I’m aware of Google speaking publicly about their design in this much detail.

Container Data Centers

Apparently since 2005 Google has been using shipping containers as data centers. It’s been known for a long time Google was interested in the idea (as were other companies) but a first that they have actually been using them for a while. 1,160 servers per container utilizing 250 kilowatts of power = 780 watts per square foot. Very impressive.

I guess it’s only a matter of time before we see commercial servers, and perhaps even some desktops with power supplies that have their own batteries.

Update [4/11/2009 @ 5:00 PM EST]: Google has a blog post up including video of the summit.

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