Google joins Facebook’s Open Compute Project with new design for server racks

Google is the latest entrant in Facebook’s Open Compute Project. The search engine giant has proposed a new design for server racks that may help cloud data centers to reduce their energy bills. Six years back, Facebook started the project with an aim to provide a way for end-user companies to unite and design their own data center equipment, free of unneeded features, thereby reducing costs.

Many other big cloud providers including Microsoft have been part of the project long before. On Wednesday at the OCP Summit in Silicon Valley, Google announced that it has joined the project. The first contribution from Google’s end will be to have a new rack design, which will distribute power to servers at 48 volts in comparison to 12 volts that is majorly offered in most data centers.

The increased value will help to adjust more powerful computing equipment. The new design as per Google is more efficient than 12 volt design because it reduces electrical conversion loss by 30%. Google said that it would not take time to provide the racks, as it also has deployed racks in its own data centers. Technology is ready to be used, said Google.

Urs Holzle, the senior vice president in charge of Google’s infrastructure, said at the summit, “The key thing that we figured out was, to get the efficiency in cost and power, you have to directly feed the 48 volts to the motherboard and convert it only in one step”.

Increased voltage is not the only change that Google has been pushing for. The current rack design is too deep for the narrow aisles in Google’s data centers therefore there is a need for racks that bit shallower.

Holze added that Google and Facebook both have worked together on the design. In fact, Facebook might be using the 48-volt racks in its own data centers as well, said Holze.

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