Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Google uncloaks once-secret server

Unusually, the search giant designs its own servers. For the first time, Google unveils one publicly, showing a surprise built-in battery.

"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 shipping containers--each with 1,160 servers and a power consumption that can reach 250 kilowatts.

Why is the battery approach significant? Money.
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.
"This is much cheaper than huge centralized UPS," he said. "Therefore no wasted capacity."
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"

read more | digg story

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