Google this week released details of how it builds servers at its major data centers. Not surprisingly, Google focused on efficiency and power, two big criteria for running an always online operation.
Google engineer Ben Jai revealed that Google used large shipping containers that can hold up to 1,160 servers at once. Each server is a 2U server chassis and are backed up by battery power in case of outages. The biggest difference however, is that Google builds each server with its own battery backup unit.
Typically, data centers have large uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) that will supply backup power to whole racks of servers. Jai however, said that this only achieves up to 95-percent power efficiency. Google's servers, which are custom designed by Jai and his team in house, use individual batteries for each server. Jai said that Google was able to achieve greater than 99.9-percent efficiency.
Using this method, Google is able to allow backup power to be supplied to servers that require it, not an entire rack. This method also allows Google to fully track power consumption and efficiency on a very granular level.
The individual servers themselves use motherboards by Gigabyte. For the past two years, Gigabyte has been positioning its motherboards as top performers when it comes down to power utilization and heat efficiency. The servers also contain two CPUs and two hard drives each, and a stock load of memory. Jai mentioned that Google uses CPUs from both AMD and Intel.
In this particular server, Google uses a Gigabyte GA-9IVDP, which is not available to the general public.
Image: courtesy of Stephen Shankland/CNET