Friday, April 10, 2009

Cool Technology of the Week

Although Google does not generally share the details of its infrastructure, Google's hardware architect recently shared the secrets of its servers, data centers and power management.

Having been involved on the advisory council for Google Health, I know that Google runs hundreds of thousands of servers. What I did not know is that it designs and builds its own. The real innovation - each server has a 12 volt battery attached the motherboard to keep the CPU running in case of power failure. Google does not use centralized uninterruptible power supplies. Building the power supply into the server means costs are matched directly to the number of servers. Google also uses the battery design on its network equipment.

Also interesting is that its data centers are standard metal shipping containers, each containing 1,160 servers and drawing 250 kilowatts of power. These shipping containers optimize power distribution, cooling and efficiency to reduced waste heat. For example, Google uses ultra-efficient power supplies that convert AC current to 12 volts DC. It's more efficient to transmit 12 volts over copper wires than 5 volts. All other power conversions take place on the motherboard.

Google servers, pictured above are 3.5 inches thick and contain two processors, two hard drives and 8 memory slots.

Incredible attention to detail to create highly scalable, very reliable, and maximally "green" server farms. That's cool!

2 comments:

Brian Ahier said...

The Dalles Google Datacenter tour:

Tour Google The Dalles

(right in my hometown of The Dalles!)

Dr. Joe Kim said...

Can you imagine what these will look like in several years? Computer technology is advancing so quickly that it's hard to imagine.